Below is a special prayer (adapted from an English translation of the Italian) written by a priest in Rome for World Youth Day, inspired by the prayer intention of Pope Francis that he has entrusted to the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (Apostleship of Prayer).
Young People and the Example of Mary: That young people, especially in Latin America, follow the example of Mary and respond to the call of the Lord to communicate the joy of the Gospel to the world.
O Eternal Father of Mercy, together with Mary, the young woman of Nazareth whom you have chosen as the Mother of your Son, I desire to listen to your voice that infuses courage and gives the grace necessary to respond to your call. You read our hearts because you are our Creator and Lord. You know that our heart is restless until it rests in you. In our lives, we will face decisions, especially when we are faced with the fundamental choices on which depends what we will be and what we will do in this world. We humbly beg you: grant us discernment to put in order our thoughts and feelings, to act justly and prudently according to your will. Give us light and wisdom as we look inside and give a name to our fears that anguish us, block us and prevent us from moving forward.
Jesus Christ crucified and risen, God with us, who in Gethsemane felt fear and anguish, sharing with us in everything – except sin – our human condition, we firmly believe that nothing will separate us from your love. Faith in you makes us stable because you are the Rock of fidelity, the love that makes us free and courageous, the ability to overcome fears by opening ourselves to life. We are convinced that you are leading us to eternal life through circumstances and vicissitudes that are often mysterious to us. Teach us how to rediscover silence, that we may be able to listen to your voice within our conscience. Your heart speaks to us through the Holy Scriptures, and is offered to us through your mercy in the sacrament of Reconciliation, to make us one with you in Holy Communion. With trust and humility, let us reach out in dialogue to our vocational guides, brothers and sisters in the faith who – animated by your Holy Spirit – help us to decipher our doubts and to understand your plan of love.
O Holy Spirit, who are the Spirit of wisdom, strength and love, open our hearts when listening to the Gospel so that we may discover ourselves loved by the Father who calls us by name to put ourselves in the footsteps of his Son, Jesus, to become with him and in him a gift for the Church and for our brothers and sisters in Christ. You, our Divine Master, always sustains us, in our moments of trial and darkness, encouraging us to embrace our vocation, which requires a commitment of fidelity to be renewed every day. You enfold us under your wings as you do with Mary of Nazareth, declaring to us that we have found grace in the eyes of the Father who esteems us and considers us precious, having redeemed us with the most precious blood of his Son.
O Mary, a simple girl from a small village in Galilee, pray for us, for our brothers and sisters in Latin America, so that we can experience the love of God within us, a love that gives us the courage here and now to carry forward what God asks of us, living our faith without hiding it. Contemplating your love, my heart is full of joy, as we learn to love God above all things, and to love each other as Jesus has loved us. Help us to respond promptly and joyfully to the vocation to love in this life, communicating the joy of the Gospel to our brothers and sisters in Christ, especially the weakest and poorest of society.