Christus Vivit, the newly published Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis addressed to young people, points to Christ as alive and a source of hope.
In the introduction, in fact, we find, “The very first words, then, that I would like to say to every young Christian are these: Christ is alive and he wants you to be alive.”
It is emphasized that this exhortation is meant to remind young people of certain convictions born from faith, but, at the same time, encourage the youth to grow in holiness and in commitment to a personal vocation.
In the two paragraphs of Chapter 2 that speak about young saints, we find very relevant points that can serve as inspiration and encourage young people who may be yearning to live life to the full.
In paragraph 49, we find: The heart of the Church is also full of young saints who devoted their lives to Christ, many of them even to dying as martyrs. They are precious reflections of the young Christ; their radiant witness encourages us and awakens us from our lethargy. The Synod pointed out that “many young saints have allowed the features of youth to shine forth in all their beauty, and, in their day, they have been real prophets of change. Their example shows what the young are capable of, when they open themselves up to encounter Christ”.
And in paragraph 50, we read, “Through the holiness of the young, the Church can renew her spiritual ardor and her apostolic vigor. The balm of holiness generated by the good lives of so many young people can heal the wounds of the Church and of the world, bringing us back to that fullness of love to which we have always been called: young saints inspire us to return to our first love (cf. Rev 2:4)”.
Some saints never reached adulthood, yet they showed us that there is another way to spend our youth. Let us recall at least some of them who, each in his or her own way, and in different periods of history, lived lives of holiness.
The lives of the three youngsters we are presenting in this issue prove that, truly, holiness knows no age, that being young is no barrier to living life to the fullest.