Young people always run to a challenge. And if they are not enfeebled by moral entanglements, they are always enamoured by the supreme beauty of God. Then they are prepared to face the most daring battle, the battle of the faith. Then they love the unrewarding risks of purity, of self-denial and dedication. But if they hesitate in front of Christ, perhaps it is because they are only familiar with a deformed image of Him, having been presented a religion which outwardly appears weak, worldly, mediocre, coated in compromise and compressed by so many adjustments, like a secondary, marginal or even half-hidden activity, something senile and boring, panting as it strives to keep up with the pace of the generations. But young people, if they are able to discover the true face of Christ, if they are able to grasp the real essence of the Church, then they are swept away precisely by the risk which the Gospel contains. During the Church’s adolescence the Early Church Fathers had said: “It is a dangerous risk to forget about God.” And young people want to run this dangerous adventure, to jump into the fray of loving God in the midst of the world.
They do not know what to do with a Christianity that has been scaled down to the size of today’s world as if it were some sort of seasonal fashion. They want a Christianity that can be called “great”. They want it immense. And so they are not interested in a Church that is small and reduced, they want a Church that is vast, one into which all humankind can enter in – the People of God.
If there is a lack of vocations it is also because the sum total of hardship and external courage that is often being asked of them is not enough for them. They desire chastity in a society that is incestuous; they want poverty in the midst of this orgy of Mammon; they want love in a society dismembered by hatred.They grow bored in a community in which one avoids or hesitates to speak about union with God, of the merits of the Blessed Virgin Mary, of penitence and prayer; where the life of the Mystical Body is not lived out in a supernatural communion among brothers and sisters and God, as co-citizens with God among the citizens of the world so as to incarnate in the episodic existence of men the graces of the Life that is Divine. To be Christ among brothers for their brothers. Therefore, a religion reduced to mere culture, organizing, apostolic techniques,to asthetic or metaphysical or literary dissertation does not satisfy them at all.
Young people love the more daring missions. They come running as soon as they feel called by a Don Orion, a Bishop Canossa, or a Mother Cabrini. They run to anyone who is willing to offer them purity and sacrifice, service and dedication. In other words, they run towards the heroism of the Cross, the luncay of the Cross.
Jesus goes by and the youths follow Him when they see Him, when the vision of Him is not obstructed by the appearance of others, by proud creatures, super-beings, something more than the others because of their wealth, political power or swollen pride.
Jesus is walking by us now. If we follow Him without ever turning back, without asking to be excused because there are horses to be shoed or cows to be bought, because we have to offer “salaams” to this one or that – then, ipso facto we become young. We become the children for whom the Kingdom of Heaven is made. Let us convert, therefore. By converting we see Him and find the way if we realize that we have been wasting time living our dreams and building our houses of straw. At the end of the new horizon shines a Cross, but it is a sign of victory over death. In Him we discover the Eternal Life.
Igino Giordani, in «Fides», Agust 1955, pp.242-245