A person takes a photo of Pope Francis on a cell phone during a papal audience on Dec. 10, 2022. / Vatican Media

Vatican City, Dec 15, 2022 / 08:30 am (CNA).

Pope Francis has urged young people to look away from their cell phone screens and make eye contact with the people around them.

In a meeting on Dec. 15 with youth groups affiliated with Catholic Action, the pope warned that “a great risk for a boy and a girl today is to spend our days keeping a cell phone screen in front of our eyes.”

“Our eyes are meant to look into the eyes of others. They were not made to look down at a virtual world that we hold in our hands, but to look up to heaven, to God, and to look into the eyes of those who live next to us.”

Pope Francis met with young members of Catholic Action on Dec. 15, 2022. Vatican Media
Pope Francis met with young members of Catholic Action on Dec. 15, 2022. Vatican Media

Pope Francis told the children and teenagers gathered at the Vatican to remember that Jesus teaches that “every person is important.”

He said that the Lord is particularly concerned not with “the rich and powerful” or “those who are on the covers of glossy magazines or on television, but the smallest, the poor, the forgotten, the rejected, those no one cares about.”

“In a world that tends to isolate us, divide us, and that pits us against each other … the secret is precisely to take care of others,” the pope said.

Pope Francis emphasized that the “Lord does not want us to spend our days closed up in ourselves,” but to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28: 19).

“Our eyes are made to convey the joy experienced from having met Jesus, that friendship that transforms existence, that makes us embrace life and enables us to discover its beauty,” he said.

“Because, boys and girls, it is beautiful to follow Jesus: it is beautiful to discover the great love he has for each one of us; it is beautiful to venture into the plan of happiness he has thought up for me, for you, for everyone; it is beautiful to discover the gifts he gives us with great generosity, the surprises that fill our lives with wonder and hope, that make us grow up free and happy.”’

“The feast of Christmas, now close at hand, reminds us precisely this: that God enters the world and gives us the strength to go, to walk with him,” Pope Francis said.