Year of Youth 2018

Pope to Youth: Narcissism Produces Sadness Because It's Like Putting Makeup on the Soul

Last edited 6th September 2017

This is the joy that erupted when Pope Francis entered the Paul VI Audience Hall. The pope arrived a little behind schedule and only stopped to bless the little children. These two were more alert than the others, and went out to personally meet him.

The pope met with members of Shalom, a youth movement started in Brazil 35 years ago. Today it includes missionaries, priests, families and consecrated persons.

Pope Francis listened attentively to the testimonies of three young people. One of them asked how to bring mercy to a world without hope. Another explained that she had been baptized during the Jubilee of Mercy, and the last one told the pope how he managed to get off drugs.

Pope Francis, in an improvised way, answered their questions in Spanish. He explained that mercy must be lived out in life more than only explained in words.


"It's a testimony of not being closed in on oneself, to one's own interests, but rather in going out, going out searching for God, - it is not easy to seek God as the whole way, - going out sharing with others. Don't play the privileged child who deserves all the toys and everything for himself. No, go out and tell others that God is good and is waiting for them, even in the worst moments of life.”

He also warned them that looking at oneself too much leads only to sadness. The pope also spoke about drugs, reminding those present that they rob a person of everything, even their own roots.


"Narcissism causes you sadness because you live worried about putting makeup on your soul every day, to appear better than you are, to contemplate if you are more beautiful than others. It's the disease of the mirror. Young people, break the mirror! Do not look in the mirror, because the mirror deceives. Look outward, look at others. One lives in a world without any roots and that is the drama of drugs: young people totally uprooted, without real commitments. That is to say, without real commitments of the flesh, because with drugs you can't even feel your own body."

Pope Francis asked these young people to live out God's plan by being generous and giving what they have freely have received. To make sure they understood, he asked them. After receiving a timid “yes” for an answer, the pope responded with this joke.


"Do you agree? Oh my goodness, look how you are. It seems that instead of encouraging you, I am giving you a sedative to fall asleep."

He invited all the members of this community to cultivate dialogue between the young and old. He then did not leave without first greeting the sick and the most special members of this charismatic movement, which is present in more than 30 countries around the world.


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