Each week we let Saint Pope John Paul II share meaningful signposts to spark socio-economic resolves through justice and righteousness combined with mercy and compassion; in short, love.

               5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

               __ Deuteronomy 6: 5 

Lviv (Sykhiv Square), Ukraine, 26 June 2001 | Young people of Ukraine, Christ asks you to go against the current!  “Love your neighbor.” He asks you to be defenders of his law and to practice it in proper daily behavior. This ancient and ever-valid law finds its perfect fulfillment in the Gospel. Love animates our lives, and genuine, free and profound love leads to faithful observance of the ten commandments. With this divine law solidly rooted in your hearts, do not be afraid: you will fulfill yourselves and contribute to building a world marked by greater solidarity and justice.

Dear young people, your country is going through a challenging and complex transition from the totalitarian regime which oppressed it for so many years to a society, at last, free and democratic. Freedom, however, needs strong, responsible, and mature consciences. Liberty is demanding and, in a sense, is more costly than slavery!

I am pleased to welcome the young people who have come from Russia. Thank you for your presence! When you return home, take your relatives and friends my greeting and witness the joy of the meeting with your fidelity to Christ. Bring my blessing to everyone. 

I say to you: choose the narrow path the Lord is showing you through his commandments. The way that often seems broad and easy later reveals itself to be deceptive and false. Do not go from the slavery of the Communist regime to the slavery of consumerism.

Without God, you will not be able to do anything well. With his help, however, you will be able to face all the challenges of the present moment.

You will succeed in making demanding choices, against the current, for example, the decision to stay confidently in your own country, without giving in to the illusions of an easy life abroad.

You are needed here, young people, ready to make your contribution to improving the social, cultural, economic, and political situation of your own country.

Here the talents in which you are rich are needed for the future of your land, which has such a glorious history behind it.

Ukraine’s future depends mainly on you and the responsibilities you will undertake. God will not fail to bless your efforts if you commit your lives to generous service to family and society, placing the common good before private interests. Ukraine needs men and women dedicated to serving humanity, aiming to promote the rights and well-being of all, especially the weakest and most deprived. This is the logic of the Gospel, but it is also the logic that makes the civil community grow. True civilization is measured not by economic progress alone but also and mainly by the human, moral and spiritual progress of a people.

“You shall love the Lord your God.” We must give God the first place in our lives. He rightly deserves to be loved with all our hearts, souls, and strength (Deuteronomy 6: 5). God is one, and he is not to be exchanged for false gods. He says to you, too, dear young people, “I am the Lord your God.”

Excerpted from:

Meeting with Young People, Address of the Holy Father, Lviv (Sykhiv Square), Tuesday, 26 June 2001