What can attract a teenager in our churches immersed in half-darkness, during repeated and boring Mass with stereotyped and incomprehensible actions, presided over by the priest who is alone? Nothing attracts them and the effect is visible: during ordinary functions celebrated in church, there are no more young people.
Yes, young people go to places they feel drawn to. In fact, the churches get full of people when movements, associations, the charismatic communities come together to live and pray. Why is that? Young people feel attracted because they are together, and enjoy characters who make visible the revolutionary Christ, the Christ who in the name of justice, sacrifices his life and the Christ who loves with love that is present. The Christ made present by people who live in his justice, in his courage to do truth in its depth, in his courage to do truth in the depth of prayer. The revolutionary Christ visible in His young people who are always revolutionaries, everywhere.
Why do we go towards what attracts us? Because we are hungry and thirsty for what the other offers you. Attraction is not imposition, but opening to something you lack. The behavior of those who impose is stupid and makes unpleasant what it imposes. What do we have to do then? Let yourself be seduced by what is beautiful and what appeals to you. Then you will be always charming.
All pedagogy needs to be turned upside down. Experience what fascinates you. To make new evangelization, it is not enough just to write new books, it is necessary to write new lives. Pope John Paul II was right to declare many saints, many men and women who showed in their lives the true and friendly face of Christ. The man who knows, acts. The man who knows but does not act, starts teaching. What an inflation of “teachers”! Pope Paul VI said well: “Today, we need men who live, then teach”. Our teenagers go to look for what attracts them and want to experience what draws them together!
Once I told Sergio Zavoli: “Do you want to see that it is possible to speak of Christ in a disco?” He was still skeptical, yet agreed. We gave a look to the many discos in Rimini. Our gaze stopped on one of them: L’altro mondo Studios (The Other World Studios). “Sergio, I think this is the right one”. I brought also the young people of one of our therapeutic communities, that of Bagnolo. At one o’clock in the morning there was an explosion of deafening rock. I told the young people: “Go, throw them into crisis” and I went there myself. “When was the last time you confessed?” I asked the bandits of rock. All those whom I addressed answered me politely. “Ten years must have passed since I confessed last time”, said one of them. He looked like for ten years he had been waiting for a priest to ask him.
I asked the managers to be able to climb up on a raised track, since the flush track was now full and I could not meet them one by one. They were surprised by my appearance there, wearing my cassock. Little by little, the DJ bowed turned down the volume, then turned off music all together. They gave me the microphone and I spoke for a few minutes. I do not remember what I said at the time, I was too excited, but I spoke about Jesus. I finished by saying “Life is a gift. Your parents transmitted it to you, but it was created by Someone else! Let us give a round of applause to the Lord who is on the ball”.
There was a round of roaring applause. I asked the Father: “Take note of this one and remember it when I come to thee, because a round of applause at two and a half in the night by another world you might not have had if I did had not brought it to you!” Then, while we were going out, a small wing of young people who applauded was around me. One of them told me: “Thank you, Father, for coming. As the priests should stay with us… Do not leave us alone”.
Taken from Honor Thy Son, and Thy Daughter by don Benzi