A deeper encounter with Jesus!
The second day of Shalom Youth Congress, on Saturday, December 3rd, started with Moyses Azevedo, who preached to the Italian youth about the friendship with God and how to go “further than where our feet can get” the central theme of the Congress. The founder of Shalom Catholic Community started to talk about the story of his own encounter with Jesus and how he discovered God’s plan for his life.
“God has a plan of love for each of us. Because He loves us. But who is God? What is God’s name? The name of God is mercy. God does not want to condemn anybody. Jesus gave his life for all, He did not condemn anyone because the condemnation is our choice . Christ gave his life to forgive us because He is mercy. God puts his heart in our miseries and weakness, to love us, forgive us and save us from our misery by giving us a new life. If we are weak, He is ready to forgive us. God is always forgiveness. God loves us viscerally and faithfully. He is always ready to forgive, and walks with us: if we fall he is ready to raise us. God loves us in our weakness to transform it and make our life beautiful and so we can live the real happiness. How many time do we need Him, He will help us and so we can be happy. If we go to the sacrament of the reconciliation with a contrite heart God will forgive, He forgives everything and forever. We can trust in God’s mercy. “
Through the stories of the great saints who were great sinners, Moysés demonstrated what the mercy of God is able to do. “There is hope for us!” He exclaimed with enthusiasm, reminding us that the gates of heaven are always opened. He concluded by saying that “the Lord always respects our freedom, awaits our response, our “yes”. He wants to do miracles in our lives, but he respects and expects us to freely open our hearts to grow in our relationship with Him. He is here. He is here. Do you believe this, guys? Do you really believe he is here? God is here and did everything for us to be here in order to meet us. He attracted us to be here. He is here and his compassionate heart wants to get with our weak heart to heal the wounds of our lives. Do you want to make and renew your experience with Him? So, let us pray.”
The day continued with a talk with Valter Santilli, Guzman Carriquiri and father Edie Bethlem. Professor Santilli has treated a difficult subject but also very interesting: how to deal with our “negative moments”, that often plague us in our exhausting days. “Do not deny – he said – we are full of problems, in school, or with our friends or with our relatives. How can we deal with it in our everyday life? How can the experience of pain may become “perfect joy”? Crucial question, which has been generating the public’s interest. The answer is the most disarming: suffering is something trully precious, because it is the only thing we can really give to God. While the joy is a gift from him, the pain we encounter on our streets is “unexpected”. Learn to offer it to Him demonstrates maturity and awareness, and this is pleasing to the Lord. The suffering that is not offered, however, is simply lost, it’s a kind of barren tree that never give fruit. Therefore let us ask to ourselves how we live our “negative moments” to understand what is the quality of our relationship with God and try to choose the way of the offering. At the end of this reflection intervened professor Guzman Carriquiri, who has warned us about the culture that too often turns itself into a “giant distraction machine” and a “censorship of the great questions.” Let resonate in oneslef the great existential questions is, however, essential, it is a sign of life and health. And when these questions arise we have Jesus Christ, the only one who has real answers to our questions. “Listen to him!”, concluded Carriquiri, inflaming the minds of all. Then the hearts were ready to hear the intervention of father Edie, whose words have expressed other profound truths: he recalled the revolutionary power of the person who believes in what he believes. The christian’s main belief is that God is in oneself; all the strength comes from the Risen One. Those who live with this conviction are safe, and even more powerful. “Look at Francis – urged father Edie – he had nothing to give but he was convinced of his ideals and so he contributed decisively to the Church. Young people, be like him, you are the Church today! “