18 June 1983, Jasna Gora Monastery, Częstochowa, Poland
Our Lady of Jasna Gora is the teacher of true love for all. And this is particularly important for you, dear young people. In you, in fact, is decided that form of love which all of your life will have and, through you, human life on Polish soil: the matrimonial, family, social and national form - but also the priestly, religious and missionary one. Every life is determined and evaluated by the interior form of love. Tell me what you love, and I will tell you who you are.
I watch! How beautiful it is that this word is found in the call of Jasna Gora. It possesses a profound evangelical ancestry: Christ says many times: 'Watch' (Matt. 26: 41). Perhaps also from the Gospel it passed into the tradition of scouring. In the call of Jasna Gora it is the essential element of the reply that we wish to give to the love by which we are surrounded in the sign of the Sacred Icon.
The response to this love must be precisely the fact that I watch! What does it mean, 'I watch'?
It means that I make an effort to be a person with a conscience. I do not stifle, this conscience and I do not deform it; I call good and evil by name, and I do not blur them; I develop in myself what is good, and I seek to correct what is evil, by overcoming it in myself. This is a fundamental problem which can never be minimized or put on a secondary level. No! It is everywhere and always a matter of the first importance. Its importance is all the greater in proportion to the increase of circumstances which seem to favour our tolerance of evil and the fact that we easily excuse ourselves from this, especially if adults do so.
My dear friends! It is up to you to put up a firm barrier against immorality, a barrier - I say - to those social vices which I will not here call by name but which you yourselves are perfectly aware of. You must demand this of yourselves, even if others do not demand it of you. Historical experiences tell us how much the immorality of certain periods cost the whole nation. Today when we are fighting for the future form of our social life, remember that this form depends on what people will be like. Therefore: watch!
Christ said to the apostles, during his prayer in Gethsemane: 'Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation' (Matt.26: 41) 'I watch' also means: I see another. I do not close in on myself, in a narrow search for my own interests, my own judgements. 'I watch' means: love of neighbour; it means: fundamental interhuman solidarity. Before the Mother of Jasna Gora I wish to give thanks for all the proofs of this solidarity which have been given by my compatriots, including Polish youth, in the difficult period of not many months ago. It would be difficult for me to enumerate here all the forms of this solicitude which surrounded those who were interned, imprisoned, dismissed from work, and also their families. You know this better than I. I received only sporadic news about it.
May this good thing, which appeared in so many places and so many ways, never cease on Polish soil. May there be a constant confirmation of that 'I watch' of the call of Jasna Gora, which is a response to the presence of the Mother of Christ in the great family of the Poles.
'I watch' also means: I feel responsible for this great common inheritance whose name is Poland. This name defines us all. This name obliges us all. This name costs us all.
Perhaps at times we envy the French, the Germans or the Americans because their name is not tied to such a historical price and because they are so easily free: while our Polish freedom costs so much. My dear ones, I will not make a comparative analysis. I will only say that it is what costs that constitutes value. It is not, in fact, possible to be truly free without an honest and profound relationship with values. We do not want a Poland which costs us nothing. We watch, instead, beside all that makes up the authentic inheritance of the generations, seeking to enrich it. A nation, then, is first of all rich in its people. Rich in man. Rich in youth. Rich in every individual who watches in the name of truth: it is truth, in fact, that gives form to love.
My dear young friends! Before our common Mother and the Queen of our hearts, I desire finally to say to you that she knows your sufferings, your difficult youth, your sense of injustice and humiliation, the lack of prospects for the future that is so often felt, perhaps the temptations to flee to some other world.
Even if I am not among you every day, as was the case for many years in the past, nevertheless I carry in my heart a great solicitude. A great, enormous solicitude. A solicitude for you. Precisely because 'on you depends tomorrow'. I pray for you every day. It is good that we are here together at the hour of the call of Jasna Gora. In the midst of the trials of the present time, in the midst of the trial through which your generation is passing, this call of the millennium continues to be a programme. In it is contained a fundamental way out. Because the way out in whatever dimension - economic, social, political - must happen first in man. Man cannot remain with no way out. Mother of Jasna Gora, you who have been given to us by Providence for the defence of the Polish nation, accept this evening this call of the Polish youth together with the Polish Pope, and help us to persevere in hope! Amen.