SHINE LIKE STARS IN THE WORLD! (2009)
To the Youth of the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman
(Approved English version of the Pastoral Letter No. CP-Past/175/2009
written originally in Konkani language)
My young friends!
Cordial greetings to you! May the Holy Spirit, poured upon you through the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, fill you with the Love and Peace of the Father and of the Son.
a) Young people, you are the future of the Church
As if the “fullness of time" in God’s plan was here, I was moved to take you into confidence and write this Pastoral Letter with you in my mind.
Your age is marked by dreams and challenges! This is your treasure; this is your special resource. Very significant are the words expressed by Pope John Paul II, of revered memory: “You are the youth of the nations and societies, the youth of every family and of all humanity; you are also the youth of the Church. We are all looking to you, for all of us, thanks to you, in a certain sense continually become young again."
Your age is an age of questions. And this is your wealth! Like the young man in the Gospel, who asks Jesus: “Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?" --- your search results into a welter of questions about your life: “Why am I here on earth? What is the meaning of life? What will my life be like?” And again: “How can I attain happiness? Why is there suffering, illness and death? What lies beyond death?" --- As you grow, the answers to these questions will unfold gradually before you. John Paul II continues in that same letter: “For the period of youth is the time of a particularly intense discovery of the human "I" and of the properties and capacities connected with it. Before the inner gaze of the developing personality of the young man or woman, there is gradually and successively revealed that specific and in a sense unique and unrepeatable potentiality of a concrete humanity, in which there is, as it were, inscribed the whole plan of future life." Hence my appeal to you: “Shine like stars in the world!”
b) Why like stars?
Indeed, I formulated this call based on what St. Paul wrote to the Phillippians."
You have studied Geography. There you have come to know that the light of the stars is bright. Because it is their own: it is their own power. Not so with the moonlight. It is not bright, because it is not moon’s own; it is a reflection of the light of the sun.
The stars also radiate their light around them and illumine the planets. One such example is the sun: the sun is a star and sheds its light on the moon and the earth. Your potential too shines like the stars! Therefore, your life becomes a source of life to others, which means that your light shines out. Inspiring are the words of Pope John Paul II: “So your youth is not just your own property, your personal property or the property of a generation: it belongs to the whole of that space that every man traverses in his life's journey, and at the same time it is a special possession belonging to everyone. It is a possession of humanity itself."