Murrayfield, 31 May 1982  


Dear young people of Scotland!  
1. Thank you for such warm words of welcome. I am happy that my first contact is with you, the pride of your beloved country and the promise of its bright future!  
You are at the great crossroads of your lives and you must decide how your future can be lived happily, accepting the responsibilities which you hope will be placed squarely on your shoulders, playing an active role in the world around you. You ask me for encouragement and guidance, and most willingly I offer some words of advice to all of you, in the name of Jesus Christ.  
In the first place I say this: you must never think that you are alone in deciding your future!  
An secondly: when deciding your future, you must not decide for yourself alone!  
2. There is an episode in the life of Saint Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland, which can serve as an example for what I wish to tell you. Jesus had been teaching a crowd of five thousand people about the Kingdom of God. They had listened carefully all day, and as evening approached he did not want to send them away hungry, so he told his disciples to give them something to eat. He said this really to test them, because he knew exactly what he was going to do. One of the disciples - it was Saint Andrew - said: There is a small boy here with five barley loaves and two fishes; but what is that between so many? Jesus took the loaves, blessed them, and gave them out to all who were sitting waiting; he then did the same with the fish, giving out as much as was wanted. Later the disciples collected twelve baskets of the fragments that were left over.  
Now the point I wish to make is this: Saint Andrew gave Jesus all there was available, and Jesus miraculously fed those five thousand people and still had something left over. It is exactly the same with your lives. Left alone to face the difficult challenges of life today, you feel conscious of your inadequacy and afraid of what the future may hold for you. But what I say to you is this: place your lives in the hands of Jesus. He will accept you, and bless you, and he will make such use of your lives as will be beyond your greatest expectations! In other words: surrender yourselves, like so many loaves and fishes, into the all-powerful, sustaining hands of God and you will find yourselves transformed with newness of life , with fullness of life. Unload your burden on the Lord, and he will support you .  
3. It is not of primary importance what walk of life naturally attracts you - industry or commerce, science or engineering, medicine or nursing, the priestly or religious life, or the law, or teaching, or some other form of public service - the principle remains always the same: hand the direction of your life over to Jesus and allow him to transform you and obtain the best results, the one he wishes from you.  
Only Christianity has given a religious meaning to work and recognizes the spiritual value of technological progress. There is no vocation more religious than work! Saint Benedict used to say to his monks that every implement in the monastery must be regarded as a sacred vessel. A Catholic layman or laywoman is someone who takes work seriously. Why? Because, as Saint Paul says, I live now not with my own life, but with the life of Christ who lives in me ; Life to me is Christ .  
4. How can this be? That is a good question. Our Blessed Lady, Mary of Nazareth, asked that very same question when God s extraordinary plan for her life was first explained to her. And the answer which Mary received from Almighty God is the identical answer that he gives to you: The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow . . . nothing is impossible to God .  
This is the one same Holy Spirit who came to you at Baptism and again, with increased vigour, at Confirmation, precisely to prepare and fortify you for the challenge of life. Not one of you is without him! No one must ever feel alone! The Spirit of the Lord has been given to you!  
Who is this Holy Spirit? He is God himself. The Third Person of the Blessed Trinity. He is sent to each of us by the Father and the Son. He is their greatest gift and he remains constantly with us. He abides in us.
We have difficulty in forming a concept of the Holy Spirit in our mind. It is of the highest importance, however, that we have some understanding of his influence and his activity in our lives.  
5. The clearest description of the work of the Holy Spirit has been given by Saint Paul, who said that the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control . Qualities such as these are ideal in every walk of life and in all circumstances: at home, with your parents and brothers and sisters; at school, with your teachers and friends; in the factory or at the university; with all the people you meet.  
The Prophet Isaiah also attributed special gifts to the Holy Spirit: a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of counsel and fortitude, a spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord . Saint Paul is right in saying: Since the Spirit is our life, let us be directed by the Spirit .  
6. With gifts and qualities such as these we are equal to any task and capable of overcoming any difficulties. Yet our lives remain our own, and the Spirit acts on each of us differently, in harmony with our individual personality and the characteristics we have inherited from our parents and from the upbringing received in our homes.  
If you pause to reflect for a moment or two you will begin to realize how much you experience the presence of the Holy Spirit in your lives, especially through the goodness and kindness that other people show to you, even though you do not actually see him in the world. The Holy Spirit is a living Spirit and his action is interwoven with all the realities of our lives, so that daily we encounter him in other people, but also in particular happenings and in the things of nature, which so frequently direct our thoughts to God. And my visit to you today, our being together, is a work of the Holy Spirit.  
7. Because he is so near to us, yet so unobtrusive, we should turn to the Holy Spirit instinctively in all our needs and ask him for his guidance and help. God has sent him to us because of our helplessness, as Saint Paul says so beautifully: The Spirit too comes to help us in our weakness. For when we cannot choose words in order to pray properly, the Spirit himself expresses our plea in a way that could never be put into words . What more could God do for us? What more can we expect of God than that?  
8. If the Holy Spirit were to be withdrawn then we would immediately notice the diference. Saint Paul tells us what happens when we refuse to be guided by the Spirit: when self-indulgence is at work the results are obvious: fornication, gross indecency and sexual irresponsibility . . . feuds and wrangling, jealousy, bad temper and quarrels; disagreements, factions, envy, drunkenness, orgies and similar things. I warm you now, as I warned you before: those who behave like this will not inherit the kingdom of God .
This too is part of the liberating Good News of the Gospel. A correct understanding of the teaching of Jesus makes us react in a creative and cooperative fashion to the challenges that face us in life, without fear of acting mistakenly and alone, but under the guiding influence of his own Holy Spirit at every moment and in every circumstance, be it great or small.  
9. This extraordinary divine assistance is guaranteed to all who offer their lives to Jesus. God the Father s plan of salvation embraces all mankind; his one same Holy Spirit is sent as gift to all who are open to receive him in faith. We each form a part of God s overall plan. An exclusively personal and private attitude to salvation is not Christian and is born of a fundamentally mistaken mentality.  
Consequently, your lives cannot be lived in isolation, and even in deciding your future you must always keep in mind your responsibility as Christians towards others. There is no place in your lives for apathy or indifference to the world around you. There is no place in the Church for selfishness. You must show a conscientious concern that the standards of society fit the plan of God. Christ counts on you, so that the effects of his Holy Spirit may radiate from you to others and in that way permeate every aspect of the public and the private sector of national life. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good .  
10. Do not let the sight of the world in turmoil shake your confidence in Jesus. Not even the threat of nuclear war. Remember his words: Be brave: I have conquered the world . Let no temptation discourage you. Let no failure hold you down. There is nothing that you cannot master with the help of the One who gives you strength.  
11. Follow the example of Our Blessed Lady, the perfect model of trust in God and wholehearted cooperation in his divine plan for the salvation of mankind. Keep in mind the advice she gave the servants at Cana: Do whatever he tells you . Jesus changed the water into wine for his Mother on that occasion. Through her intercession he will transform your lives.  
I must continue now with my pilgrimage through your beloved Scotland. I take leave of you happy in the thought that your young hearts accompany me on my journey, and that I have the support of your daily prayers. For my part I wish to assure you, each and every one of you, of my love in Christ Jesus.  
Young people of Scotland, I thank you. Keep the faith joyfully; and my blessing be with you.  

Oìgridh na h-Alba, tha mi toirt taing dhùibh.  
Cumaibh an creideamh gu sòlasach;  
agus mo bheannachd leibh

Subscribe to Updates

Subscribe to:
Like   Back to Top   Seen 157 times   Liked 0 times

Subscribe to Updates

If you enjoyed this, why not subscribe to free email updates ?

Subscribe to News updates

Enter your email address to be notified of new posts:

Subscribe to:

Alternatively, you can subscribe via RSS RSS

‹ Return to News

We never share or sell your email address to anyone.

I've already subscribed / don't show me this again

Recent Posts

Statement on nuclear weapons from the Bishops of Scotland and England & Wales

| 04th August 2020 | Blogging

Statement on nuclear weapons from the Bishops of Scotland and England & Wales Tuesday 4 August 2020   During his historic visit to Japan last year, Pope Francis declared that “the use of atomic energy for purposes of war is immoral, just as the possession of atomic weapons is immoral”. Seventy-five years on from the unprecedented and horrific destruction of life at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we are called to reflect prayerfully upon the UK’s own possession of nuclear weapons.   Pope Francis reiterated that the threat of mutual destruction, the massive loss of innocent lives and the annihilation of any future for our common home, is completely incompatible with our efforts to build peace. “If we really want to build a more just and secure society, we must let the weapons fall from our hands”, said the Pope.   He also reminded us that it is unjust to continue squandering precious resources on manufacturing, maintaining and upgrading ever more destructive technology. The cost of nuclear weapons should be measured not only in the lives destroyed through their use, but also the suffering of the poorest and most vulnerable people, who could have benefited were such vast sums of public money invested in the Common Good of society instead. The Scottish and English and Welsh bishops' conferences have in the past called on the UK government to forsake its own nuclear weapons.    We therefore recommit ourselves to the abolition of these weapons and to the Holy Father’s call to pray each day “for the conversion of hearts and for the triumph of a culture of life, reconciliation and fraternity. A fraternity that can recognize and respect diversity in the quest for a common destiny.”    +William Nolan,  Bishop of Galloway and on behalf of the Commission for Justice and Peace of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland.   +Declan Lang,  Bishop of Clifton and Chairman of the international Affairs Department of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales    ENDS   Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org  ...

Freedom to disagree must be protected, say Scotland’s Bishops

| 29th July 2020 | Blogging

New Hate Crime Bill – the freedom to disagree must be protected, say Scotland’s Bishops Wednesday 29 July 2020The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland has responded to the Scottish Government’s new Hate Crime and Public Order Bill. In a submission to the Scottish Parliament Justice Committee the Conference has stated that any new law must be ‘carefully weighed against fundamental freedoms, such as the right to free speech, freedom of expression, and freedom of thought, conscience and religion.’ The bill proposes to modernise, consolidate and extend hate crime legislation in Scotland, including introducing a new offence of stirring up hatred, possession of inflammatory material, and new protection of freedom of expression provisions in relation to religion and sexual orientation.  Commenting on the submission, the Director of the Catholic Parliamentary Office, Anthony Horan said;“Whilst acknowledging that stirring up of hatred is morally wrong and supporting moves to discourage and condemn such behaviour the bishops have expressed concerns about the lack of clarity around definitions and a potentially low threshold for committing an offence, which they fear, could lead to a ‘deluge of vexatious claims’.”  “A new offence of possessing inflammatory material could even render material such as the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church...inflammatory.  The Catholic Church’s understanding of the human person, including the belief that sex and gender are not fluid and changeable, could fall foul of the new law. Allowing for respectful debate, means avoiding censorship and accepting the divergent views and multitude of arguments inhabiting society.”Mr Horan added; “The Church believes that fundamental freedoms must be protected, as the right to exercise freedom, especially in moral and religious matters, is ‘an inalienable requirement of the dignity of the human person’ and ‘a right that must be recognised and protected by civil authority, always within the limits of the common good and public order’. The courts have noted that the freedom to shock, offend and disturb, as well as the contentious and unwelcome are protected by the right to freedom of expression, and the bishops have declared that freedom of expression provisions must be robust enough to protect the freedom to disagree.Mr Horan concluded; “The bishops decry so-called ‘cancel culture’ in their submission, expressing deep concern at the ‘hunting down of those who disagree with prominent orthodoxies with the intention to expunge the non-compliant from public discourse and with callous disregard for their livelihoods’. They say that ‘no single section of society has dominion over acceptable and unacceptable speech or expression’ and urged the law to be proportionate and fair and allow for respectful debate and tolerance lest we become an ‘intolerant, illiberal society’.”ENDSPeter Kearney 
Director 
Catholic Media Office 
0141 221 1168
07968 122291 
pk@scmo.org 
www.scmo.orgNote to Editors:The full text of the submission to the consultation is shown below:Catholic Church responds to Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill ConsultationJustice Committee – Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) BillConsolidation2.    The Bill brings together the majority of existing hate crime laws into one piece of legislation. Do you believe there is merit in the consolidation of existing hate crime laws and should all such laws be covered?We agree that there is merit in consolidating existing hate crime laws.Other forms of crime not included in the Bill5.    Do you think that sectarianism should have been specifically addressed in this Bill and defined in hate crime legislation? For example, should a statutory aggravation relating to sectarianism or a standalone offence have been created and added?Existing legislation, including existing statutory aggravations, adequately covers offences relating...

A New Lectionary for Scotland

| 24th July 2020 | Blogging

A New Lectionary for Scotland 24 July 2020 Scotland’s Catholic Bishops have approved the preparation of a new Lectionary (a book of readings used at Mass) to update and replace the three volume Lectionary in use in the dioceses of England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland for almost 30 years. The current Lectionary was first published in 1981 using the Jerusalem Bible (1966) as its base text. Commenting on the publication, Bishop Hugh Gilbert, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland said; “In reaching a decision about a translation for the Lectionary, the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland itself considered the values they would most expect a Lectionary to embody, for example, accuracy, dignity, facility of proclamation, and accessibility. The Catholic Edition of the English Standard Version (ESV) Bible, published in 2018, will be used as the base text for the new translation, it has been accepted by the Bishops of England and Wales as the basis for their own Lectionary and the Scottish Bishops voted at their July 2020 meeting to use it as well. It makes practical and pastoral good sense for the same translation to be used in Scotland, England and Wales.” Bishop Gilbert added; “The National Liturgy Commission has looked closely at the issue of a new Lectionary and hope that its publication will keep the biblical word alive and active for the holy People of God and shape thought and culture in our changing world.” ENDS Peter Kearney 
Director 
Catholic Media Office 
0141 221 1168
07968 122291 
pk@scmo.org 
www.scmo.org Note to Editors: 1. The work of editing and publishing the new Lectionary is expected to take several years. 2. A full statement on the new Lectionary from the National Liturgy Commission is shown below. The Lectionary and the Word of God The Church, throughout her history, sets before the faithful the riches of Sacred Scripture to be read and broken open in worship and for use in private devotions. The Second Vatican Council, in an effort to restore the practice of the early centuries of the Church of a continuous reading of a breadth of Scripture,  promulgated a new lectionary for the Roman Rite, with a revised structure and a wide selection of Scripture texts. St Paul writes: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:16-17). Thus, the Church has always venerated the divine Scriptures as she venerated the Body of the Lord, in so far as she never ceases, particularly in the sacred liturgy, to partake of the bread of life and to offer it to the faithful from the one table of the Word of God and the Body of Christ (Dei Verbum, 21). By listening to and understanding the Scriptures we encounter God and understand how he reveals himself to us, enabling us to grow in faith. But we do not listen alone. Through a faithful proclamation of the word of God within the tradition of the Church we benefit from the holiness and wisdom of all the faithful who have gone before us. According to the General Introduction to the Lectionary: through his word, God unceasingly calls to mind and extends the plan of salvation, which achieves its fullest expression in the liturgy. The liturgical celebration becomes therefore the continuing, complete, and effective presentation of God’s word. Developments leading to a revised translation of the Lectionary The three volume Lectionary in use in the dioceses of England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland was first published in 1981 using the Jerusalem Bible (1966) and the Grail Psalms (1963). It was subsequently re-printed, although is presently out of print. In recent times, English-speaking Bishops’ Conferences worldwide have approved a new translation of the Book of Psalms – “The Abbey Psalms” – for the Liturgy of the Hours. This new translation is the w...

Catholic Bishops announce resumption of communal worship

| 09th July 2020 | Blogging

Thursday 9 July 2020Catholic Bishops announce resumption of communal worshipScotland’s Catholic Bishops have welcomed the First Minister’s comments today (Thursday 9 July) on places of worship and have announced the resumption of communal worship in Catholic parishes from 15 July. Commenting on the move, the President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, Bishop Hugh Gilbert said;“Over the past month, our parishes have been preparing for the safe resumption of communal prayer and the celebration of Mass, which is at the centre of the life of the church. To have been unable to attend Mass for many months has been a source of real sadness for Scotland’s Catholics and I am sure there will be great joy at the prospect of returning.”“Thanks to the widespread implementation of the church’s Infection Control protocols, Catholic parishes will begin the resumption of public Masses and other communal activities from 15 July.”Bishop Gilbert added;“The bishops are extremely grateful to all those who have worked tirelessly to prepare our parishes for public worship and to those who made their views known to their parliamentary representatives and the government on the subject of communal worship.While thanking the Scottish Government for listening to these calls, we would remind parishioners that the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains suspended and ask those who return to do so in accordance with the infection control measures in force in each parish, mindful always of the need to protect themselves and others.”ENDS Peter Kearney 
Director 
Catholic Media Office 
0141 221 1168
07968 122291 
pk@scmo.org 
www.scmo.orgNote to Editors:The Infection Control Working Group’s Report can be viewed here:https://www.bcos.org.uk/Portals/0/Documents/COVID-19%20Infection%20Control%20Advice%20230620.pdf...