Forever young is a state of mind
The World youth Day was celebrated by the Roman Catholics on Sunday in the home continent of Pope Francis with a mass on Copacabana beach that drew a reported three million people who cheered the first Latin American Pope with an overwhelming response to the message that the Catholic Church must “shake itself” up to and get out into the streets to find the faithful. That is all fine and proper. But in a deeper sense, the youth is not only confined to adherents of the Catholic faith. We can perhaps take it that the message is meant for all youth of the world (of whichever faith or belief)—or why celebrate a World Youth Day? As such, to understand the meaning of what the word “youth” implies, perhaps we need to delve a little further into it.
First of all, youth means not only young age. It means the prime, the bloom, the green years, the tender years of one’s life. Youth is a term that embraces us from the cradle to adolescence and young manhood and sometimes to young old manhood. And if we get to be quite old, we become youthful again. By the time one graduates, there is rarely no aim, no objective that is not achievable. One has only to strive for it come what may. During youthful times, so many things can be enticing and not always the very best. Here, the role of parents, elders and teachers play a vital role both at home and in class. Parents are supposed to be constant factors despite unfortunate divorces or deaths, whereas, teachers will keep changing with passage of time and change of educational institutions and so on. And therein lies the secret of education.
To be educated does not only mean being fluent in English or any other language. It means knowing the basics of hospitality (perhaps even to an enemy)—which even an illiterate villager is quite capable of. In brief, these are the basics of growing up as a youth. The age from20 to 50 years is the age of young parenthood. However, included in this stage of life and giving motivation and encouragement to the youth, one prime factor is love and affection. To practice these aspects there also arises the factors of need for understanding, forgiveness and above all, mercy and love. And truly, in theory these all sound simple but in practice it would require a tremendous amount of patience. However, in the ultimate analysis it is all worth it.
Youth further means remaining forever young. No human being is capable of that physically, except it may be said, God. But then the Lord is forever and He is beyond human interpretation. Nevertheless, humans throughout history from various parts of the world have tried to remain young physically. For instance, unlike most Spanish Conquistadors who invade the Americas to loot and plunder for gold, Ponce de Leon went in search of the so-called “Fountain of Eternal Youth.”Of course he was unsuccessful. To those who are familiar with the Arabian Nights as propounded by Scherezade, a story is included about Sinbad the Sailor who sailed from Arabia across the seven Seas also in search of the Fountain of Eternal Youth. This innate universal desire is the subject of an alluring film of the same title.
In the end, perhaps the search for the elusive “fountain of eternal youth” is not all that important. Look towards your children and their children and it means you live so long as the earth endures. To live forever, the best option is to have faith in God and live by his commandments.