Some interesting reflections on young people. They may not be as much of a “vast majority” in the First World, but “potential” is undeniable.
443. Young people and adolescents constitute the vast majority of the population of Latin America and the Caribbean. They represent a huge potential for the present and future of the Church and our peoples as disciples and missionaries of the Lord Jesus. Young people are sensitive to discovering their calling to be friends and disciples of Christ. They are called to be “sentinels of the dawn,”(John Paul II Message to 17th World Youth Day, Toronto, July 28, 2002, n. 6) committing themselves to the renewal of the world in the light of God’s plan. What they fear is not sacrifice or giving up their own life, but rather a meaningless life.
The worry about meaninglessness isn’t just a quality of the young, but it certainly weaves through the life’s motivations of high school and college students I’ve seen.
Because of their generosity, they are called to serve their brothers and sisters, especially the most needy, with their time and life. They are capable of standing up to the false illusions of happiness and the deceptive paradises of drugs, pleasure, alcohol, and all forms of violence.
We’ve certainly seen this in our country, aptly illustrated by the Parkland students. That kind of energy could fire up the Church, if only we could get past the perception that religion is more meaningless than other avenues.
In their search for the meaning of life, they are sensitive to, and capable of discovering, the particular call that the Lord Jesus issues to them. As missionary disciples, the new generations are called to transmit to their fellow young people without distinction, the current of life that comes from Christ and to share it in community, building up the Church and society.
For deeper examination, an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.