“There is no future in a world without God,” Pope Francis warned university students in Portugal while appealing that they make their faith credible through their choices.
The Holy Father’s admonition came during his meeting with the students on the premises of the Universidade Catòlica Portuguesa, on the second day of his Apostolic Journey to Portugal for the occasion of the 37th World Youth Day.
The Pope also encouraged them to embrace their faith and take risks to change the world, promoting human fraternity on all levels.
At the encounter, the Holy Father listened to the testimonies of refugee students, welcomed by the University, and of students involved in the implementation of the Pope’s 2015 encyclical on the environment Laudato si‘, in the Global Compact on Education, and in the Economy of Francesco initiative.
“An authentic integral ecology,” the Pope said in his remarks, “is not possible without God,” “there can be no future in a world without God,” and he invited them to give credibility to their faith through the choices they make in life.
[ I would say: make your faith credible through your choices. ]
“For unless faith gives rise to convincing lifestyles,” the Pope said, it will not be a “leaven” in the world. It is not enough for us Christians to be convinced he explained, saying “We must also be convincing.”
Our actions, the Holy Father exhorted, are called to reflect, joyfully and radically, the beauty of the Gospel.
Furthermore, he stressed, “Christianity cannot be lived as a fortress surrounded by high walls, one that raises the ramparts against the world.”
He thanked a student, Beatriz, for her moving testimony, in which she said it is precisely “within the field of culture” that she feels called to live the Beatitudes.
In every age, the Pope recalled, one of the most important tasks for Christians is to recover the meaning of incarnation.
Without the incarnation, he warned, Christianity becomes ideology.
“It is the incarnation that enables us to be amazed by the beauty of Christ revealed through every brother and sister, every man and woman.”
In this regard, Pope Francis said it is significant that they named their new academic chair, dedicated to the “Economy of Francesco,” after Saint Clare.
Recalling the Saint, the Pope elaborated on how “the contribution of women is indeed essential.”
“In the Bible, we see how the economy of the family is entrusted largely to women. They are the real heads of the household, possessed of a wisdom aimed not merely at profit, but also at care, coexistence, and the physical and spiritual wellbeing of all, including the poor and the stranger,” he said.
“Women are possessed of a wisdom aimed not merely at profit, but also at care, coexistence, and the spiritual wellbeing of all.”
The Pope went on to recall that the Global Compact on Education, with its seven overarching principles, encompasses many key issues, to which he urged the students to dedicate their attention, from caring for our common home to the full participation of women and the need for innovative ways of understanding economics, politics, growth and progress.
“I encourage you to study the Global Compact and to become enthusiastic about its contents,” he said.
Recalling that one of its points addresses the need to educate about acceptance and inclusion, the Pope underscored: “We cannot pretend that we have not heard the words of Jesus in Chapter 25 of Matthew’s Gospel: ‘I was a stranger and you welcomed me.’