This last weekend there was a "pilgrimage of families" in Rome for the Year of Faith. Pope Francis addressed the crowd, reminding them of the preeminence of love.
This last weekend was the Pilgrimage of Families in Rome, Italy for the Year of Faith. Pope Francis addressed the participants, reminding them of the preeminence of love. "The life of a family is filled with beautiful moments: rest, meals together, walks in the park or the countryside, visits to grandparents or to a sick person… But if love is missing, joy is missing, nothing is fun. Jesus gives always gives us that love: he is its endless source." He also exhorted people to learn from the wisdom of grandparents: "[A] people that does not listen to grandparents is one that dies! Listen to your grandparents."
Below is the full text of his speech.
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Good evening and welcome to Rome!
You have come as pilgrims from many parts of the world to profess your faith before the tomb of Saint Peter. This Square welcomes you and embraces you: we are one people, with one heart and soul, gathered by the Lord who loves and sustains us. I also greet the families who have joined us through television and the internet: this Square has expanded in every direction!
You have given this meeting a title: “Family, Live the Joy of Faith!” I like that title. I have listened to your experiences and the stories you have shared. I have seen so many children, so many grandparents… I have felt the pain of families living in situations of poverty and war. I have listened to the young people who want to be married even though they face numerous difficulties. And so, let us ask ourselves: how is it possible to live the joy which comes from faith, in the family, today? But I ask you also: is it possible to live this joy or is it not possible?
A saying of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew speaks to us: “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28). Life is often wearisome, and many times tragically so. We have heard this recently… Work is tiring; looking for work is exhausting. And finding work today requires much effort. But what is most burdensome in life is not this: what weighs more than all of these things is a lack of love. It weighs upon us never to receive a smile, not to be welcomed. Certain silences are oppressive, even at times within families, between husbands and wives, between parents and children, among siblings. Without love, the burden becomes even heavier, intolerable. I think of elderly people living alone, and families who receive no help in caring for someone at home with special needs. “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden”, Jesus says.
Dear families, the Lord knows our struggles: he knows them. He knows the burdens we have in our lives. But the Lord also knows our great desire to find joy and rest! Do you remember? Jesus said, “… that your joy may be complete” (cf. Jn 15:11). Jesus wants our joy to be complete! He said this to the apostles and today he says it to us. Here, then, is the first thing I would like to share with you this evening, and it is a saying of Jesus: Come to me, families from around the world – Jesus says – and I will give you rest, so that your joy may be complete. Take home this Word of Jesus, carry it in your hearts, share it with the family. It invites us to come to Jesus so that he may give this joy to us and to everyone.
The second thing which I would share with you is an expression taken from the Rite of Marriage. Those who celebrate the sacrament say, “I promise to be true to you, in joy and in sadness, in sickness and in health; I will love you and honour you all the days of my life”. At that moment, the couple does not know what will happen, nor what joys and pains await them. They are setting out, like Abraham, on a journey together. And that is what marriage is! Setting out and walking together, hand in hand, putting yourselves in the Lord’s powerful hands. Hand in hand, always and for the rest of your lives. And do not pay attention to this makeshift culture, which can shatter our lives.