Valentine’s Day is done in true Francis style on St Peter’s Square.
It’s Valentine’s Day and Pope Francis – as always, living up to his name – has gathered together 30,000 young engaged couples from all over Europe and set the day off with a bang.
After two weeks of rain, rain, rain, the sun puts his well-needed hat on, equipping St Peter’s Square with the perfect set-up for welcoming thousands of young lovebirds for an unforgettable celebration, complete with singing, dancing, testimonies and papal jokes – Francis style.
Despite the odd cheeky joke about mother-in-laws and such like, the Holy Father listened to the sincere questions of these young husbands-and-wives-to-be brought forward by couples from different countries, answering for all to hear.
1. How can we overcome the fear of being with someone forever?
Pope Francis: “today many people are afraid of making definite commitments…everything changes rapidly, nothing lasts…it is this mentality that leads many who are preparing life to say: ‘we’ll stay together only until the love ends’.
“Is love just a feeling or psychophysical state? If it’s only this then certainly nothing solid can be built upon it. But love is a relation; a reality that grows.
“It’s like building a house; you don't want to build a house upon the sands of feelings that change, but on the rock of true love."
"So how do you get over this fear of 'forever’? You overcome it by entrusting yourselves to the Lord in a life that becomes a daily spiritual journey made in little steps, of commitment to becoming men and women, mature in faith."
"Commitment becomes a gift given by mature adults in faith.
“A marriage is not just of duration but also of quality…this brings to my mind the multiplication of the loaves: for you too, the Lord can multiply your love, making it fresh and good every day.
“In this journey prayer is important and necessary. Ask Jesus to multiply your love. In the Our Father we say ‘Give us this day our daily bread’. Well the young married couples can also learn to pray: ‘Lord, give us this day our daily love.”
2. How can we confront the challenge of living with each other every day? In learning to love, what “style” of daily spiritual life should we adopt?
Pope Francis: “Living together is an art, a patient, beautiful and fascinating journey.
“This everyday journey has certain rules that can be summed up in three words: permission,thanks and sorry.
“Permission. We need to learn to ask: ‘Is it alright if I do this?’ ‘do you want to do this?’…In other words, asking permission means knowing how to enter with kindness into the lives of others.
“Thanks. It might seem easy to say this word, but we know that this isn’t the case; but it’s important!
“Saying ‘thanks’ is like a flower that grows in fertile soil. It is realising that the other person is a gift from God, and we say ‘thanks’ to the gifts from God!”
“Sorry. In life we make many mistakes, we all do. …So in life we need to use this simple word: ‘sorry’.
“We need to learn to recognise our errors, and say sorry for them. …Never finish a day without making peace, never, never! This is the secret for conserving love.”
3. What is the best way to celebrate our wedding day?
Pope Francis: “Do it in such a way that it will be a true celebration; a Christian celebration, not a mundane one!
“Look at the wedding feast of Cana. Imagine finishing the celebration by having to drink tea! Without wine, there is no party!
“It’s here that Jesus reveals Himself for the first time, by changing water to wine, and as such he saves the party.
“And what happened in Cana 2000 years ago, happens in every wedding celebration. What makes your wedding celebration profoundly and fully true is the presence of the Lord, who reveals Himself and gives His grace. It is His presence that offers the “good wine”, it is He who is the secret to full joy, that which truly warms the heart.”
"It is the spirit of Jesus, not the spirit of the world that makes the party!”