This synod is the synod of and for all young people. Young people are the protagonists. The Pope has called for a synod of bishops some time ago (now it’s almost here) to consider a question that affects all of you very directly, namely youth. The Church wants to ask herself how to guide young people and specifically reflect on the topic of vocational discernment. Jesus asks us to follow him our whole lives, He asks us to be his disciples, to play on his team. Boys and girls, please, don’t take the backstage in this drama. Be protagonists! Play forward, go upfront… Build a better world, a world of brothers and sisters, a world of justice, of love, peace, fraternity, solidarity… Come and play up front, always! Everybody, everybody, everybody: we all have a vocation, in the sense of a calling from God God calls all of us. God does not leave anybody out. God doesn’t say, “I’m not interested in this person, I don’t have any plan for him or her…’ For everyone, for all of us and for each one of us, God has a plan. He spoke about how all of us are dearly loved by God and that God depends on us always, on each one of us, and it’s not like he chooses some and rejects others, but He really loves all of us. We are all loved by God, and God has a plan for all of us, imbued with His love, and it really is in our best interest to discover it. I think we can hear God and know the plans that He has for us through prayer. Of course, it’s a very good thing to ask for advice from those who know you, who love you and who want to help you; later, ask our Lord for light in your prayer. I ask you… (but answer inside your heart, ok? not out loud, but in silence). Do I pray? Answer for yourself each one… Do I speak with Jesus? Or am I afraid of silence? We need silence. Silence in our soul, in our heart, to be open to listening to how the Holy Spirit enlightens us. For me, I think it’s necessary in the first place to have a total willingness to listen to Him. Listening to God does not mean “hearing voices,” It’s not a physical voice. Listening to God means, on the one hand, praying with an open attitude, being sincere with God, looking at Him in the tabernacle, or wherever we are because we can do our prayer anywhere… And it also means listening to Him in the gospel, Many of the things that might occur to you which at the end of the day, are nothing extraordinary, but are things that are part of God’s providence. Maybe you have an idea: you want to be more generous in some aspect of your life… Well, it’s your idea but it’s also, in some way, something that God is saying to you. Do I let the Holy Spirit speak in my heart? Do I ask Jesus? What do you want me to do? What do you want of my life? Ask Jesus, speak with Jesus… It seems to me that to be able to listen to God you have to pray very well. I’ve been trying for a while now to pray on a regular basis, and I have streaks where I manage to do it everyday and other times where I don’t manage to do it at all, and can’t get out of the slump. and I get frustrated with that. What advice can you give me? Well, don’t get discouraged… It’s important, in this and in everything… If we get down every time we fail at something, grumbling, then we’re on the wrong track… When we fail, we need to use the failure as an opportunity to begin again. So each time that you wanted to do a time of prayer, and didn’t do it, when you realize it, instead of saying, “Oh man, not again!” it’s an opportunity to start over. If you’ve done something wrong, don’t be afraid: “Jesus, look what I’ve done. What do I have to do now?” But always talk with Jesus, in good times and in bad, when you do something good and when you do something bad. Don’t be afraid of Him! And then there is a very decisive question, which is the free, personal disposition of each one, our own freedom, to decide to really want what God wants, Ask for the strength to want to, because sometimes what we lack is simply the desire. It’s the uneasiness that God wants you for something more, it’s as though you feel attracted by Jesus for something greater. How can I distinguish between what God tells me and what I think I’m seeing, and then, from what others advise me? (laughter) We won’t have absolute human security because our Lord (I repeat, ordinarily speaking) likes to leave us a margin of uncertainty so that it can be our own freedom that adds what is lacking. There is always uncertainty, above all because ultimately you can never be 100% sure of what God is saying to you in a particular moment. A man or a woman who do not take risks never mature. They don’t grow up… Take risks, taking into account prudence and advice, but… go for it! I think it’s about trusting in God, setting out and this courage, if one perseveres, God rewards that later on. If we don’t take risks, do you know what happens to a young person? They grow old! They retire when they are 20 years old! You can say, “Let’s see. For the circumstances in which God has placed me right now, I see this as a possible path, as a good path the person who knows me in spiritual direction tells me this…” They are not going to tell you to do something or not to do something, but rather, “Well, it seems to me that you have the conditions for this.” Under such circumstances, a moment comes in which the only thing lacking is to say: “Ok, I’m jumping in…” Search for horizons, open yourself to great things, don’t let yourself grow old… Don’t forget: dream! The world can be different with your contribution. Launching out and striving for what we have sufficient reasons to believe is what God wants for us. If you put the best of yourself forward, you will help make this world different. We should always feel ourselves to be loved by God objects of God’s predilection So we should never be afraid, and this is important in discernment, we never have to be afraid of what God might ask us, of what might seem to us demanding on God’s part, or a vocation that might seem difficult to us, because what our Lord asks of us is… it’s not only good for us, it’s not only the best thing for us… it is always a gift that He gives us.