The Holy Father on how to celebrate the "precious gift that God has given to the human family"
VATICAN CITY — Sunday celebrations are a precious gift that God has given to the human family, and we shouldn’t “spoil the party” by making work or shopping an idol, Pope Francis said on Wednesday.
Speaking to pilgrims in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall on August 12th, the Holy Father began a new series of catecheses on three facets of family life: celebration, work and prayer.
Pope Francis observed that the Creation account contained in the Book of Genesis tells us that celebrations are the invention of God, who on the seventh day rested from his work.
“It is God himself who teaches us the importance of dedicating time to contemplating and enjoying the fruits of our labors, not only in our employment or profession, but through every action by which we as men and women cooperate in God’s creative work, even in times of difficulty.”
However, “celebrating isn’t the laziness of being a couch potato, or the thrill of a silly escapism,” the Pope said. Rather, it is “a loving and grateful gaze on work well done.”
The Pope pointed to the newlyweds in attendance at Wednesday’s audience, saying they are celebrating the good work of their engagement. And he told parents and grandparents that celebrating in their lives “is a time to look at their children or grandchildren growing, and think: how beautiful!” It is the time, he said, “for looking at our home, the friends we welcome, the community that surrounds us, and think: indeed it is good. This is what God did when he created the world. And he continues to do so, because God is always creating, even now.”
“Celebration is a precious gift that God has given to the human family. Let’s not spoil it,” he said.
The Holy Father therefore urged the faithful not to make work an idol.
“In the workplace too, we celebrate: a birthday, a marriage, a new baby, a farewell or a welcome. True moments of celebration make us pause from our work, because they remind us that we are made in the image and likeness of God, who is not a slave to work, but the Lord of work! And so we must never be slaves to work but rather its master! Yet we know that millions of men and women, even children, are slaves to work. The obsession with economic profit and technical efficiency puts the human rhythms of life at risk.”
Above all, Pope Francis therefore emphasized the importance of Catholic families safeguarding Sundays.
“Moments of rest, especially on Sunday, are sacred because in them we find God,” he said. “The Sunday Eucharist brings to our celebrations every grace of Jesus Christ: his presence, his love and his sacrifice; his forming us into a community, and his way of being with us. Everything is transfigured by his grace: work, family, the joys and trials of each day, even our sufferings and death.”
Pope Francis concluded, praying that we may “always recognize the family as the privileged place to understand, guide and sustain the gifts which arise from our celebrations, especially the Sunday Eucharist.”
Diane Montagnais Rome correspondent for Aleteia’s English edition.