John Paul II with Youth

Sara and Justin Kraft

The 10 Greatest Pope John Paul II Quotes on Youth

Pope St. John Paul II had a deep love and compassion for young people. His faith in the the love, energy, and joy of youth was tangible to all who grew up during his pontificate. It is still tangible in his many writings. Here are the 10 greatest Pope John Paul II quotes on youth to inspire and encourage you. 

1. "It is Jesus you seek when you dream of happiness; he is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; he is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is he who provokes you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is he who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is he who reads in your hearts your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle. It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be grounded down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal.”

“I thirst” (John 19:28). These were among Jesus’ last words. We all thirst. We spend our lives seeking fulfillment. We look in so many places. We seek fame, power, money, security, pleasure. The list goes on and on. When these fail; we seek distraction. Our culture has excelled at distraction. It is full of noise and amusement. However, these too fail. Only one thing satisfies—and that is Jesus. After our long search in all these other places; at last we can find the one who understands us and fulfills us.

2. “Young people of "World Youth Day", the Church asks you to go, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to those who are near and those who are far away. Share with them the freedom you have found in Christ. People thirst for genuine inner freedom. They yearn for the Life which Christ came to give in abundance….In your hands, carry the Cross of Christ. On your lips, the words of Life. In your hearts, the saving grace of the Lord.” 

This is the pressing question of our time; does religion take away our freedom or enhance it? Truly our faith places demands upon us. Love places demands on us. Modern culture says that anything that places demands on us limits our freedom. “How can I be free if I have responsibilities? How can I be free if I have obligations to others?” However, we become most alive when we live for others. Anyone who has fallen in love knows they are most alive when they have given themselves completely and exclusively to the one they love; forgoing all other loves. Love brings inner freedom. It animates and elevates our human nature. Jesus Christ is perfect love. In him, we find freedom in abundance. 

3. "Only in Christ can men and women find answers to the ultimate questions that trouble them. Only in Christ can they fully understand their dignity as persons created and loved by God. Jesus Christ is "the only Son from the Father…full of grace and truth." 

How do you solve your problems?  Oftentimes, I try to solve all the issues in my life by ramming my way through.  I think if only I do this, or if only I do that, my problems will be fixed.  However, it is only in spending time in prayer and contemplation that I find peace in my problems.  I encourage you to set aside 10-15 minutes each day for prayer to talk to God about all that both troubles you and excites you.

4. “At this stage of history, the liberating message of the Gospel of Life has been put into your hands. And the mission of proclaiming it to the ends of the earth is now passing to your generation. Like the great Apostle Paul, you too must feel the full urgency of the task: "Woe to me if I do not evangelize" (1 Cor 9:16). Woe to you if you do not succeed in defending life. The Church needs your energies, your enthusiasm, your youthful ideals, in order to make the Gospel of Life penetrate the fabric of society, transforming people’s hearts and the structures of society in order to create a civilization of true justice and love. Now more than ever, in a world that is often without light and without the courage of noble ideals, people need the fresh, vital spirituality of the Gospel.” 

God has created each of us for a purpose. He has a very specific plan for each and every one of us. He needs our energy to help transform people’s hearts into love! It’s easy to think what we do does not matter, however, if we do not listen to his call, there is no one else to do the specific tasks he has given us. Knowing that our call is unique and our role irreplaceable must shape our actions. We have an urgent call and pressing responsibility to help the world encounter Jesus.

5. “Remember that you are never alone, Christ is with you on your journey every day of your lives! He has called you and chosen you to live in the freedom of the children of God. Turn to him in prayer and in love. Ask him to grant you the courage and strength to live in this freedom always. Walk with him who is “the Way, the Truth and the Life”!” 

We are never alone. No matter the difficulties we face. Jesus Christ accompanies us. He makes Himself present to us in prayer. God gives us strength and grace through the sacraments.  Frequent reception of the Eucharist in Mass and frequent Confession can help elevate us to live freely as children of God. 

6. “Only in Christ do we find real love, and the fullness of life. And so I invite you today to look to Christ.  When you wonder about the mystery of yourself, look to Christ who gives you the meaning of life. When you wonder what it means to be a mature person, look to Christ who is the fullness of humanity. And when you wonder about your role in the future of the world and of the United States, look to Christ. Only in Christ will you fulfill your potential as an American citizen and as a citizen of the world community.” 

In today’s polarizing political climate, it is easy to become frustrated or scared with the way our country is going. However, instead of simply trusting in political candidates, we need to pray for the conversion of our country, our politicians and our world. We also need to place our hope and trust in Jesus instead of the political system.

7. “To the whole Church is addressed Christ's соmmаnd: ‘Gо оut tо the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation’ (Mk 16:15). The whole Church, therefore, is missionary and evangelizing; she lives constantly in a state of mission. To be Christians means to be missionaries, to be apostles. It is not enough to discover Christ - you must bring Him to others!” 

How do we bring Christ to others?  When is the last time we have invited a friend to Mass or to pray with us?  Lately, when a friend requests prayer, instead of simply saying, “Sure, I will pray for you,” our family has decided to ask them to pray with us right on the spot.  In just a very short time, we have already found that it is a very powerful way to show God’s love and bring him to others.

8. “I repeat again today what I said at Santiago de Compostela: "Young people, do not be afraid to be holy!" Fly high, be among those whose goals are worthy of sons and daughters of God. Glorify God in your lives!” 

So often we are afraid of the demands of our Christian faith, for our faith demands sacrifice. Saint John Paul II encourages us; do not be afraid. Certainly, placing others above ourselves is difficult.  We cannot promise it will not be painful, only that it will be worth it. We must not let fear dissuade us from flying high, from aspiring to be who we were created to be.  

9. “Dear young people, you know that Christianity is not an opinion nor does it consist of empty words. Christianity is Christ! It is a Person, a Living Person! To meet Jesus, to love him and make him loved:  this is the Christian vocation. Mary was given to you to help you enter into a more authentic and more personal relationship with Jesus. Through her example, Mary teaches you to gaze on him with love, for He has loved us first. Through her intercession, she forms in you a disciple’s heart able to listen to her Son, who reveals the face of his Father and the true dignity of the human person.” 

Recently, I have started praying the rosary more frequently. As I mediate on the mysteries, I realize that Mary truly was a human person. She had the same fears, apprehensions, and challenges that we do. She also experienced the same joys, personal relationships, and emotions as us. Especially now that I am a mother, I like to think about how our lives are similar, and how she would handle some of my troubles.Through her eyes, I have learned how to more fully love Jesus especially as I ponder him as a young boy.

10. “My dear young people, only Jesus knows what is in your hearts and your deepest desires. Only He, who has loved you to the end (cf. Jn 13:1), can fulfil your aspirations. His are words of eternal life, words that give meaning to life. No one apart from Christ can give you true happiness. By following the example of Mary, you should know how to give Him your unconditional "yes". There is no place in your lives for selfishness or laziness. Now more than ever it is crucial that you be "watchers of the dawn", the lookouts who announce the light of dawn and the new springtime of the Gospel of which the buds can already be seen. Humanity is in urgent need of the witness of free and courageous young people who dare to go against the tide and proclaim with vigour and enthusiasm their personal faith in God, Lord and Saviour.” 

True happiness and selfishness cannot coexist. We must always be looking outward, “watchers of the dawn” with our eyes fixed on Jesus. It is easy to think the next new phone or electronic gadget, a new outfit, or a fun evening out can bring happiness. These things can bring pleasure, but they do not last. Before too much longer, we are looking for the next new piece to give us happiness. Instead, we should place our hope in Christ.

What other quotes can you share? Tell us below!