"The life of a family is filled with beautiful moments... But if love is missing, joy is missing, nothing is fun. Jesus gives always gives us that love: he is its endless source."
This last weekend there was a Pilgrimage of Families for the Year of Faith in Rome. Families from all around the world visited Rome, and many others joined in the celebrations online. Here are the 8 best quotes from Pope Francis’ great address to the participants.
1) On the unity of the Catholic Church
"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!"
2) Life can be hard for families, but Jesus gives us rest
"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. […] 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."
3) Marriage is a journey of faith
"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."
4) Marriage is difficult, which is why we receive grace in the Sacrament to help us
"But today, Father, it is difficult… Of course it is difficult! That is why we need the grace, the grace that comes from the sacrament! The sacraments are not decorations in life – what a beautiful marriage, what a beautiful ceremony, what a beautiful banquet…But that is not the sacrament of marriage. That is a decoration! Grace is not given to decorate life but rather to make us strong in life, giving us courage to go forwards! And without isolating oneself but always staying together. Christians celebrate the sacrament of marriage because they know they need it! They need it to stay together and to carry out their mission as parents. “In joy and in sadness, in sickness and in health”. This is what the spouses say to one another during the celebration of the sacrament and in their marriage they pray with one another and with the community. Why? Because it is helpful to do so? No! They do so because they need to, for the long journey they are making together: it is a long journey, not for a brief spell but for an entire life!"
5) The importance of forgiveness in families
"And they need Jesus’ help to walk beside one another in trust, to accept one another each day, and daily to forgive one another. And this is important! To know how to forgive one another in families because we all make mistakes, all of us! Sometimes we do things which are not good and which harm others. It is important to have the courage to ask for forgiveness when we are at fault in the family."
6) The importance of "please", "thank you", and "sorry" in families
"And I want to repeat these three words: please, thank you, sorry. Three essential words! We say please so as not to be forceful in family life: “May I please do this? Would you be happy if I did this?”. We do this with a language that seeks agreement. We say thank you, thank you for love! But be honest with me, how many times do you say thank you to your wife, and you to your husband? How many days go by without uttering this word, thanks! And the last word: sorry. We all make mistakes and on occasion someone gets offended in the marriage, in the family, and sometimes – I say – plates are smashed, harsh words are spoken but please listen to my advice: don’t ever let the sun set without reconciling. Peace is made each day in the family: “Please forgive me”, and then you start over. Please, thank you, sorry! Shall we say them together? [They reply “yes”] Please, thank you and sorry. Let us say these words in our families! To forgive one another each day!"
7) On 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. In the sacrament he gives us his word and he gives us the bread of life, so that our joy may be complete."
8) People should listen to and learn from their grandparents
"But let me ask you: Do you listen to your grandparents? Do you open your hearts to the memories that your grandparents pass on? Grandparents are like the wisdom of the family, they are the wisdom of a people. And a people that does listen to grandparents is one that dies! Listen to your grandparents. […] Like the Holy Family of Nazareth, every family is part of the history of a people; it cannot exist without the generations who have gone before it. Therefore, today we have grandparents and children. The children learn from their grandparents, from the previous generation."