To the Guides and Scouts of Europe
Gathered in Saint-Evroult-Notre-Dame-du-Bois
On the occasion of their ten-year meeting
From August 1st to 10th 2014
I am glad to greet you, while you are gathered for the Eurojam, in France this year, in order to renew the links that unite you to God, to the others and to whole creation.
For your theme, you have chosen the passage of the gospel from John in which two disciples of the Baptist ask Jesus: “Master, where do you dwell?” (John 1, 38) and the Lord answers to them: “Come and see” (John 1, 39). In order to know Jesus, one has to set off. On the way, we perceive that God is to be met in several ways: through the beauty of his creation, when he intervenes with love in our history, in the relations of brotherhood and service that we have with our neighbor.
In Rio de Janeiro, I have indicated three important steps to answer to Jesus’ call: go ; without being afraid ; to serve. If we accept the Lord’s invitation to go towards him and to experience his love that fulfills our hearts with joy, then he will take off any fear: fear of God, fear of the other, fear of facing the challenges of life. And he will send us to announce his love to the ends of the earth, and serve our neighbor in the most remote peripheries.
But this is possible only if we cultivate our friendship with Jesus, trying to meet him more, especially in his Word and in Sacraments. The Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist form a unique saving event in which we are configured to Jesus Christ dead and arisen, becoming new creatures, members of the Church. How many generations owe to the scout method their growth on the way of holiness, the practice of virtues and in particular greatness of soul!
Your feast corresponds to the centenary of the beginning of the First World War. I invite you to pray for the coming of unity and peace in Europe and in the world. You are true actors of this world, not only spectators! I encourage you not to be afraid of facing challenges in order to safeguard Christian values, especially the defense of life, development, the dignity of each person, fight against poorness and so many other fights that we have to face every day.
And when your way becomes more difficult, your will remember that you are sons and daughters of the Church. The Church is your Mother; it supports you and relies on you! You are called to love it and serve it with the joy and generosity of your youth. May the Virgin Mary accompany you with her tenderness, now and during your whole life.
From the Vatican, July 3rd 2014