Christus Vivit, Christ is alive. This is the title of the post-synodal exhortation that Pope Francis directed affectionately “to young people and the entire People of God,” pastors and faithful. In it re-echo “the myriad voices of believers the world over” who had sent him their opinions, and the questions that many non-believing young people had shared with him (cf. CV 3-4).
The final chapter, the ninth, has as its title “Discernment.” Its 21 points have a diversified character, depicting concisely and significantly the “wonderful multifaceted reality that Jesus Christ’s Church is meant to be” (CV 207). In the first five points, by way of introduction, the Holy Father “takes up some reflections” from the exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate (GE) and applies them concretely “to the way we discern our own vocation in the world.” The following 16 points are grouped under three subtitles: “Discerning Your Vocation” (we emphasize the word “your”), “The Call of the Friend” which is the central theme of the chapter and of the entire exhortation, and finally, “Listening and Accompaniment” in which Francis, turning to those who accompany a vocation and the processes of discernment, shares some elements that characterize his own personal way of leading such processes.
To appreciate the customary pedagogy of the famous polyhedron of which the pope often speaks, and to avoid it becoming a commonplace, it is good to remember that designing and constructing, say, an icosahedron is less easy than tracing a circle or inflating a round ball. This may recall some of the geometry they did or saw being done at school. This is what we should keep in mind as we set out to read a chapter such as this on discernment: here every face of the polyhedron, besides finding itself in relation to the others, besides letting the one center show through always from a different perspective, is also a base on which the figure rests solidly and therefore permits the rhythm of the thought to have a moment of pause and concreteness.
Whenever you take such a many-faced geometric figure in your hand and spin it, it stops on one side and then on another nearby or on the opposite side. Analogously, the facets of discernment each touch upon something important, and are all windows to the first and fundamental discernment: “The first thing we need to discern and discover is this: Jesus wants to be a friend to every young person” (CV 250).
Friendship with Christ, therefore, is the central theme of the apostolic exhortation. Christus Vivit is a song of friendship with the Lord. Francis states: “Youth is a blessed time for the young and a grace for the Church and for the world. It is joy, a song of hope and a blessing. Making the most of our youthful years entails seeing this season of life as worthwhile in itself, and not simply as a brief prelude to adulthood” (CV 135).
In one of the most beautiful passages of the exhortation the pope affirms: “What do I ask of the elders among whom I count myself? I call us to be memory keepers. We grandfathers and grandmothers need to form a choir. I envision elders as a permanent choir of a great spiritual sanctuary, where prayers of supplication and songs of praise support the larger community that works and struggles in the field of life” (CV 196).
And in order to discern between the true song and the song of the sirens, the pope in the exhortation contrasts the two images of Ulysses and Orpheus. Both are positive, but he prefers that of the son of the god of music (Apollo) and of the goddess of eloquence (Calliope): “Ulysses, in order not to give in to the siren song that bewitched sailors and made them crash against the rocks, tied himself to the mast of the ship and had his companions plug their ears. Orpheus, on the other hand, did something else to counter the siren song: he intoned an even more beautiful melody, which enchanted the sirens. This, then, is your great challenge: to respond to the crippling refrains of cultural consumerism with thoughtful and firm decisions, with research, knowledge and sharing” (CV 223).
As we know, some polyhedrons (not all) allow and in some sense invite us by their structure to lengthen the vertices, opening the way to forming more complex structures. One example would be the great stellate icosahedron. Conversing a few days ago with Pope Francis about the exhortation, we told him that we had been moved: it is very beautiful, it is easy to read and breathes a contagious enthusiasm. It came to us spontaneously to ask him if there was anything particular that we should focus on in our commentary. The pope remained typically silent for a while and when he had considered what he ought to say, answered: “There are many things to draw out.” We have taken this as an invitation to embrace the exhortation as a whole and to “draw out” everything possible from its richness. This reminded us of the image of the polyhedron and of “drawing out” its vertices, in the sense of “lengthening them.” As Francis says: “God’s gifts are interactive; to enjoy them we have to be ready to take risks” (CV 289).
Introductory paragraphs: ‘Taking up again and applying’
Since Francis had already written about discernment “in general” in the preceding apostolic exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate, now he chooses to take up again “some of those reflections and apply them to the way we discern our own vocation in the world” (CV 278). We remember that when the pope speaks to young people he tries to call and encourage everyone. He says this at the beginning of the exhortation: “I will speak to young people directly in some places, while in others I will propose some more general considerations for the Church’s discernment” (CV 3). When the Church reflects on the vocation of young people, it reflects on its own vocation and renews it, turning to its first love (cf. CV 34).
The pedagogy of “taking up again” and “applying” is important: it evokes the practical character of discernment, to which the thought of Pope Bergoglio is decidedly inclined. But this is not always appreciated, as when someone criticizes the fact that the pope does not give definitions or offer systematic treatments of a topic. Those who make this criticism do not consider that neither evangelical wisdom nor theological thought are exhausted in these dimensions. In the exhortation, in fact, the Holy Father recalls the importance of the proclamation of the Christian message (kerygma) in Christian, theological, and moral formation: “It would be a serious mistake to think that in youth ministry the kerygma should give way to a supposedly more ‘solid’ formation. Nothing is more solid, profound, secure, meaningful and wisdom-filled than that initial proclamation. All Christian formation consists of entering more deeply into the kerygma and incarnating it ever more fully in our lives (CV 214).”
The themes that the pope returns to, those on which he always insists, reflect the spirit of “Ignatian repetition” and fall under his concern “to give greater thought to ways of incarnating the kerygma in the language of today’s youth” (CV 211).
Repetition aims at a contemplative simplification of truths and of the deepest experiences, (affective, as it unites sensitivity, intelligence, sentiments and will) and so permits a truth “felt and savored internally” to be more easily translated into practical decisions. “Repetition is to be understood as a return to what has already been meditated on or contemplated to assimilate it better, through a deeper comprehension and a more deeply felt savoring, and by inserting it into the experience of the changes that are in the meanwhile being produced, large or small, within or outside of us.” This procedure, entering in tension with the ever new reality, gives a different depth to the same truth “repeated” wisely.
Francis does not reflect retrospectively, looking in an abstract manner for the definition of the definition, but always tends to take a step forward, going out to meet the reality as it presents itself and looking for very concrete supports, in order to succeed in applying the Gospel in the most apt way. For this reason, when in his writings he reflects on discernment, it helps to direct our attention to “how to take up again and apply” the preceding reflections and the general norms, to discern which themes are essential and which are secondary. Essential or secondary, not in the absolute sense, but in reference to the benefit of the interlocutors whom he is addressing. In this case the desire of the pope is to bring the young people of today to the living Christ, in such a way that Christ himself, in this living and loving approach, can shape the awareness of all the goods that emerge from the warmth and the light of his friendship.
Discerning wisely the newness of God: a special examination
Since in this introduction to discernment Francis himself gives the indications for “expanding” the text with references to Gaudete et Exsultate and to the Final Document, we also will now concentrate our comments on the “examination,” the concrete point which the pope desires to reach. This “helps us to grow in the virtue of prudence” (CV 282).
The “examination” of which Pope Francis speaks is not a mere exercise of moral introspection, but a much wider exercise, aimed at discerning, every time “when some novelty presents itself in our lives…whether it is new wine brought by God or an illusion created by the spirit of this world or the spirit of the devil” (CV 279).
When discernment and the newness of God are united, some very positive and healing attitudes come alive. The newness raises up curiosity and wonder, as happened to Moses at the burning bush that was not consumed. This wonder leads in a natural and spontaneous way to desiring and pausing in silence, to attention and to contemplative prayer; it awakens the desire of letting oneself become charged with the beauty of the newness of God, first to begin to follow him and to respond to the call. At the same time, when we examine ourselves, tension toward the future frees us from the weight of the past, with its load of guilt and the exercise of control that keeps us on familiar ground. Furthermore, these moments of the newness of God are always concrete: they start out as small seeds, but are full of fruitful life, if they are sown and are cultivated in our hearts.
The pope takes up the words of the Final Document to affirm that this type of examination helps us to grow in the capacity to discern, “and to give an overall direction to our life through concrete choices, in the serene awareness of both our gifts and our limitations” (CV 282).
The temptations to discernment that the pope mentions – the weakening of freedom caused by zapping or channel surfing, and the “deceiving novelty” of the world and of the evil spirit (cf. CV 279) – indicate that one’s vocation plays out inside oneself from the start in the fact that the Gospel can shine in all its novelty, and not faultily or under a deceiving light, and that for our part we have the lucidity and the freedom of spirit to perceive its beauty and not remain deaf to the call. Francis explains it this way: “If in your heart you can learn to appreciate the beauty of this message, if you are willing to encounter the Lord, if you are willing to let him love you and save you, if you can make friends with him and start to talk to him, the living Christ, about the realities of your life, then you will have a profound experience capable of sustaining your entire Christian life. You will also be able to share that experience with other young people” (CV 129). This last point is also significant: the gifts from God are fully sharable and communicable; they have in themselves an apostolic character.
The “wisdom of discernment” that we are invited to ask for and to exercise in these daily examinations – in which, as we have said, it is good to center on the “newness of God” – surpasses human reasoning and prudence, even if it remains closed in itself. The discernment that Francis speaks about directs its gaze at the plan of the Father, which is the highest, unique and unrepeatable point of the existence of each person. The pope returns to Gaudete et Exsultate, where he affirmed: “Ultimately, discernment leads to the wellspring of undying life: ‘to know the Father, the only true God, and the one whom he has sent, Jesus Christ’ (cf. John 17:3)” (GE 170).
Discernment is, above all, discernment of a Person, discernment of the Risen Christ. This is what the pope develops throughout this exhortation, all under the sign of the great proclamation: “Christ is alive.”
Within this framework Francis situates the theme of the formation of conscience, which cannot be reduced to a moral or theological instruction, but which aims at the transformation of persons, until they have the sentiments, the criteria and the intentions of the living Jesus Christ. This is the concrete means that Francis proposes: “the habit of doing good, which also is a part of our examination of conscience” (CV 282).
This evaluation that is performed in the examination of conscience is more precisely the discernment of the “work of God in one’s daily experience” (which implies also an evaluation of the work of the tempter). The pope insists that this is not only an effort to identify sins (a moral examination of conscience for confession) but a discernment of the movements of the Spirit “in one’s own experience,” “in the circumstances” of the history or culture where we live, in the witness of those who have gone before us and of those who accompany us with their wisdom (cf. CV 282).
In his previous exhortation the pope had affirmed forcefully: “Often discernment is exercised in small and apparently irrelevant things, since greatness of spirit is manifested in simple everyday realities” (GE 169). The newness in this latest exhortation includes the daily examination or discernment of what is happening at the cultural level and the word of witnesses, which shows that the most significant Christian references announce and denounce not with words but with their life.
Discerning your vocation: the questions of Francis
In the section, “Discerning your vocation” (CV 283-286), the pope addresses each young person directly using the familiar language that is characteristic of the document: “You can keep asking, ‘Who am I?’ for the rest of your lives. But the real question is: ‘For whom am I?’” (CV 286).
In this section the pope introduces an incisive reflection on asking ourselves these questions when discerning our vocation. He joins it to two themes already treated in Gaudete et Exsultate: that of attentive silence to listen to “the Lord, others, the reality itself that always challenges us in new ways,” and that of the availability to recognize a “something more” that perhaps the Lord is offering us. As we see in the polyhedron, these “vertices” of the innovative character of the vocation continue to lengthen and reveal very fruitful potentialities.
The dynamic of the questions that the pope proposes is one he typically uses in his homilies at Santa Marta and in his spontaneous remarks. The questions of Francis are always interesting: the things one discards, because one discerns that they are wrong; things that one accepts with realism, without mistreating the limits and without invading the intimacy of the other; and the things one knows to formulate at the opportune moment to invite someone to take a step forward. It is worthwhile to cite the entire sequence: “Do I know myself, quite apart from my illusions and emotions? Do I know what brings joy or sorrow to my heart? What are my strengths and weaknesses? These questions immediately give rise to others: How can I serve people better and prove most helpful to our world and to the Church? What is my real place in this world? What can I offer to society? Even more realistic questions then follow: Do I have the abilities needed to offer this kind of service? Could I develop those abilities?” (CV 285).
The important point is that the questions conclude with what is fundamental, what draws us away from our superficial egocentricity and centers us again on Christ and on others. More than “Who am I?” the question that Francis proposes is “For whom am I?” And he amplifies the habitual response: “We are for God,” showing that God has created us also “for others” (cf. CV 286).
We cannot resist adding another question, which is the question of a friend: “What would Christ do in my place?” This is the question that St. Alberto Hurtado always asked. The pope proposed it to the young people of Chile as the password to unblock one’s heart and set it on fire.
The call of Jesus our friend: losing our balance for ‘the better’
In the section, “The call of Jesus our friend” (CV 287-290), Francis make something clear: “To discern our personal vocation, we have to realize that it is a calling from a friend, who is Jesus” (CV 287). Then he defines his way of seeing what he calls the “discernment of friendship” with the image of the most pleasing gift: “When we give something to our friends, we give them the best we have.”
This image “surpasses and includes” human prudence, whose discernment aims to use the proper means. The discernment proposed by Francis leans resolutely toward “the more generous” which will not necessarily mean choosing the most expensive or the most difficult gift to obtain, but what one knows concretely to be a true good for the friend. Here the pope comments that whoever gives in this way “can already imagine the smile on their friend’s face when he or she opens that gift.”
In the exhortation Christus Vivit, Pope Francis speaks to young people in terms of friendship, which naturally places on the same level what is different, without division or confusion. It is not a matter of an intimate secret friendship, but rather the intimacy and the predilection of this personal friendship that tends positively toward social friendship. The pope rediscovers this friendship in the adolescent Jesus, who walks trustingly in the caravan of his parents and friends (cf. CV 29) and invites young people to cultivate it and build it: “I ask young people to go beyond their small groups and to build “social friendship, where everyone works for the common good” (CV 169).
In No. 290 we find a formulation that furnishes the source of inspiration for the pope regarding dialogue with young people. Francis borrows an essential characteristic of the stage of youth from Romano Guardini and “puts it in contact” with the friendship of Jesus: “It is important for ‘this youthful and still untested yearning for the infinite’ to encounter the unconditional friendship that Jesus offers us” (CV 290). And he adds: “More than rules and obligations, the choice that Jesus sets before us is to follow him as friends follow one another, seeking each other’s company and spending time together out of pure friendship. Everything else will come in time, and even failures in life can be an invaluable way of experiencing that friendship, which will never be lost” (Ibid.).
What the pope calls “discernment of friendship” is rooted in a discernment so human and so divine that recognizes, interprets and chooses the very person of the other, rather than ideas or qualities. The “great announcement” of Francis in this exhortation is “He is alive,” “Christ is alive.” And it is friendship which permits us to grasp and develop this existential truth. The pope affirms: “If you can make friends with him and start to talk to him, the living Christ, about the realities of your life, then you will have a profound experience capable of sustaining your entire Christian life” (CV 129).
It is an experience that everyone should have. Friendship is being offered. In this, as in everything, the Lord has beaten us to it: “Jesus calls himself a friend” and calls us to friendship with him (CV 153). This priority of the friendship of the Lord is extended to all aspects of love: “Yet we cannot celebrate this free gift of the Lord’s friendship unless we realize that our earthly life and our natural abilities are his gift. We need ‘to acknowledge jubilantly that our life is essentially a gift, and recognize that our freedom is a grace. This is not easy today, in a world that thinks it can keep something for itself, the fruits of its own creativity or freedom’” (GE 55).
As in any true friendship, friendship with Jesus is not forced, but is proposed “delicately to the freedom” of the other and asks for an exchange, which arrives only with time. The key point is the dialogue, prayer that establishes the bridge between this friendship offered and its acceptance which makes it effective: “When we pray, ‘we open everything we do’ to him” (CV 155).
The completely gratuitous and at the same time totally concrete and incarnated character of the friendship – more real than everything else that is real – is the fertile terrain in which faith in Christ can take root. The pope always proposes Peter as an example, whose friendship was tested, along with his faith, so that he could confirm all of us who “love Christ although we have not seen him (cf. 1 Pet 1:8). And he contrasts the “unsuccessful encounter between the Lord and the rich young man who […] failed to perceive the Lord’s loving gaze (cf. Mark 10:21). […] He missed the opportunity of what surely would have been a great friendship. We will never know what that one young man, upon whom Jesus gazed with love and to whom he stretched out his hand, might have been for us” (CV 251).
This is enough to understand that friendship is the door to the “personal encounter” with the other. Friendship, beyond the physical presence, connects hearts, finds no justifications outside itself, but when it is given, when it is allowed to take root and be cultivated, it transforms itself into a “love story,” into a life history (cf. CV 252).
The existential character of listening and accompaniment
In the section “Listening and Accompaniment” (CV 291-298), the pope turns to those who accompany young people in vocational discernment. He reviews the importance of listening and deepens it in an original manner according to three distinct and complementary “sensibilities or attentions”: 1) sensitivity or attention to the individual; 2) sensitivity or attention to the deep truth that the other wants to express, with his grace, his temptations and the salvific word of the Good Spirit who offers to us the truth of the Lord; 3) the sensitivity or attention to what is driving the person to go forward toward the other. Francis affirms: “This kind of listening seeks to discern their ultimate intention, the intention that definitively decides the meaning of their life. Jesus knows and appreciates this ultimate intention of the heart” (CV 294). Here the pope relates the deepest desire of the heart to the existence of the living Christ, the only one who can gather this ultimate impulse and give it form.
Now we understand better the insistence of the pope that we learn to discern. Discernment as “a means of spiritual combat for helping us to follow the Lord more faithfully,” of which he speaks in Gaudete et Exsultate (GE 169), is not only an instrument for moral decisions, but is at the service of one’s “personal vocation,” which “takes on a supreme intensity, a different quality and higher level, one that better respects the dignity of our person and our life” (CV 295).
The discernment in faith clings to the person of the Friend, listening to his call and rejecting what separates us from him. And it is capable of distinguishing the voice of the Shepherd, of recognizing it and following it. It is a matter of the practical character of faith, which is not a neutral intellectual operation, but rather awakens immediately the adhesion of the heart and the obedience of faith and puts love into action. This is the deep sense of discernment, and is tied to the person of the Lord: discernment recognizes Jesus in all things. It recognizes his presence (“It is the Lord!” John 21:7), the call (“My sheep hear my voice” John 10:27-28), the person from his way of acting (“he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread” Luke 24:35).
From this Francis derives three conclusions addressed to those who accompany young people in their vocational choices. The first is that the one who accompanies, after having helped the other to “discern” the real presence of Christ in their life, may disappear, as does the Lord when the disciples of Emmaus recognize that “he is alive” (cf. CV 296). This reflection is important because it gives the reason why the Lord “disappears” and yet remains visible to the eyes of faith; and why “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe” (John 20:29). In fact, seeing him restrains us. The Lord viewed as substance runs the risk of being transformed into a mere object of devotion, which can paralyze the life of the Church. Instead, his call is an invitation to movement, to walking, to growth and maturation in the first person. The “invisibility” of the Lord is an essential part of the call, which urges us to get out on the road, to grow and mature. This is the ultimate meaning of the exhortation of the pope to run toward the Risen One. “He lives” is not a formula that urges us to remain static in life, converting it into an object of analysis and spectacle. “He lives” is an invitation to run after him, to meet him. He lives and “is going ahead of you to Galilee” (Mark 16:7). He lives and is the one of whom it is said: “Look! He is coming” (Rev 1:7).
The second conclusion is that this process leading to a personal encounter requires “attentive discernment,” both positive and negative, as St. John Paul II said in the apostolic exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis. The key to the accompaniment is relativizing virtues and defects, looking to orient them in the direction of encounter with the Lord (cf. CV 297).
Third, “if you are to accompany others on this path, you must be the first to follow it” (CV 298). Mary is the model of this: her discernment made her who she was, “That is what Mary did, in her own youth, as she confronted her own questions and difficulties” (Ibid.).
A gift from God which urges growth
The pope begins from a diagnosis made by the synod. That body recognized that “a substantial number of young people, for all sorts of reasons, do not ask the Church for anything because they do not see her as significant for their lives” (CV 40).
For this reason the character of his apostolic exhortation Christus Vivit is fundamentally existential. The pope wishes to renew the faith of the apostles regarding the encounter between the living Christ and the people. This is the reason for the essential point Francis emphasizes: the Lord is the one who “lives” (CV 124 ff.) and his power “will constantly be revealed in your lives too, for he came to give you life, ‘and life in abundance’ (John 10:10)” (CV 128). Along with the entire Church, the pope is confident that, if young people meet the living Lord, he will do the rest.
Passing to the relationship between the Final Document of the synod and the exhortation Christus Vivit, we can briefly state that the experience of the synodal fathers as they “walked together and listened to the voice of the Spirit” (FD 1) acquires new impetus in the exhortation of Francis. The prevalent reflection ad intra of the Church united in the synod now expands decisively ad extra in this “great announcement” of the pope, who stimulates and encourages young people to run not through injunctions or an ethical challenge, but rather with the delicacy of a father who takes away the anxieties and fears of his own children, expressing to them simply one truth: that he will be happy to see them running toward Christ and arriving closer than those who had run before them.
The final image that the pope offers us takes up one of the most beautiful and significant moments of the Gospel of John: when the young apostle runs faster and arrives first at the empty tomb. In general, one tends to accent the fact that John remained waiting for Simon Peter, recognizing his authority. The pope, with the authority of his office and of his years, shows us another possible reading, one that asks us, yes to be waited for, but who rejoices that young people run in haste and spurs them on, wishing for them that “the Holy Spirit urge you on as you run this race. The Church needs your momentum, your intuitions, your faith. We need them!” (CV 299). The pope upsets, therefore, in some way, the traditional reading, which intends to emphasize the “disciplinary” dimension in respect to authority and attributes to the latter a more subordinate place. He asks that they have the patience to wait, but recognizes and gives decisive weight to the love of the one who runs faster to meet the living Christ: primacy goes to enthusiasm, to intuition, to faith, symbolized in the young apostle, in John.
Francis takes seriously the discernment of young people, and is particularly keen on distinguishing the issues facing them because he wants to share the light with them. He holds in hand the torch, and is truly happy to place the torch in their hands, exhorting them to run further, because he rejoices, hoping that his sons and daughters will be better than him.
The Church expresses this message more with its life than with declarations. It expresses it announcing that Christ is alive, inviting those who love more to run more (even though asking them to wait for the slower ones) and not to give it too much importance, knowing when to disappear.
It is true that young people have a great desire to “be listened to” rather than to be “disciplined,” but it is also true that they love to be encouraged and stimulated “on the possible good” (cf. CV 232). Francis gives a response to such a desire. This is clearly seen in the loving and encouraging language of the exhortation, which, without lacking realism, is not loaded down with shadows but leads toward the light. It is a warm talk, one to one, heart to heart, that approaches young people “with the grammar of love, not by being preached at,” because “the language that young people understand is spoken by those who radiate life, by those who are there for them and with them. And those who, for all their limitations and weaknesses, try to live their faith with integrity” (CV 211).
DOI: La Civiltà Cattolica, En. Ed. Vol. 3, no. 6, article 1, 2019: 10.32009/22072446.1906.1
 Francis, post-synodal apostolic exhortation Christus Vivit [CV], March 25, 2019. Phrases in italics represent our own emphases, unless otherwise noted.
 See Pope Francis, apostolic exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate [GE], March 19, 2018, Chapter 5, “Spiritual Combat, Vigilance, and Discernment,” especially Nos. 166-171.
 Cf. Pope Francis, La saggezza del tempo. In dialogo con Papa Francesco sulle grandi questioni della vita. Venezia, Marsilio, 2018, 10.
 Pope Francis, Discorso nell’incontro con gli studenti e il mondo accademico a Bologna, October 1, 2017.
 Pope Francis, apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium [EG], November 24, 2013, No. 165.
 The repetition is made “dwelling on those points where I felt greater consolation or desolation or had a greater spiritual experience” (Spiritual Exercises, No. 62; see Nos. 64, 76, 104, 118, 277.)
 Ignatius of Loyola, Spiritual Exercises, No. 2.
 M. A. Fiorito, Buscar y hallar la voluntad de Dios, Buenos Aires, Paulinas, 2000, 71.
 See what the pope said regarding Rutilio Grande in Francis, “Put your lives at stake: Pope Francis in dialogue with the Jesuits of Central America,” in Civ Catt. English Edition, February 2019, https://laciviltacattolica.com/put-your-lives-at-stake/.
 Cf. GE 171-172.
 “How is my heart? […] What is the treasure to which our heart is attached?” (Francis, Homily at Santa Marta, May 19, 2014); “Facciamo bene la guardia al nostro cuore?” (Francis, Homily at Santa Marta, October 10, 2014).
 Cf. Pope Francis, Meeting with the young people at the National Sanctuary of Maipú, Chile, January 7, 2018.
 R. Guardini, Le età della vita. Opera omnia IV/1, Brescia, Morcelliana, 2015, 209.
 L. Gera, Sobre el misterio del pobre¸ in P. Grelot – L. Gera – A. Dumas, El pobre, Buenos Aires, 1962, 103.
 “For Saint Teresa of Avila, prayer ‘is nothing but friendly intercourse, and frequent solitary converse, with him who we know loves us’ (Autobiography, 8, 5)” (GE 149).
 “To concretize this reflection about a faith that grows with the discernment of the moment, let us contemplate the icon of Simon Peter ‘sifted like wheat’ (cf Luke 22:31) whom the Lord has prepared in a paradigmatic manner, so that with his faith tested he might confirm all of us who ‘love Christ although we have not seen him’” (cf. 1 Pet 1:8), Francis, Incontro con i parroci e i sacerdoti della diocese di Roma, March 2, 2017.
 Cf. John Paul II, apostolic exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis, March 25, 1992, No. 10.
 “[On the footprints of the beloved disciple who] on the morning of Easter will share with Peter the tumultuous race and run full of hope towards the empty tomb (cf. John 20:1-10)” (Preparatory Document for the Synod, January 13, 2017).