Center of Love
The Holy Father sent a message to the First Latin American Congress on the Pastoral Care of the Family which is currently taking place in Panama from August 4 to August 9th. In this beautiful message, Pope Francis touches on the love of the family and the theme of the congress: “Family and social development for full life and missionary communion.”
He began by defining the family, stating: “What is the family? Beyond its more pressing problems and its most urgent needs, the family is a ‘centre of love,’ where reigns the law of respect and communion, able to withstand the attacks of manipulation and dominance of the worldly ‘centres of power ‘. In the home, the person is integrated in a natural and harmonious way in a human group, overcoming the false opposition between the individual and society. Within the family, no one is discarded: both the elder and child are welcome. The culture of encounter and dialogue, openness to solidarity and transcendence have it in its cradle.”
Pope Francis then spoke of the “social wealth” of the family through its stability and fruitfulness.
Speaking first about the stability of the relationships in the family, he said, “We learn to live in the nuclear family based on loving relationships that are faithful unto death, such as that of a spouse, father, child and brother or sister. These relationships form the basic fabric of human society, when they are given cohesion and consistency. Because you cannot be part of a community that opens itself out to others, to feel close to one another, to take account of the most needy and most unfortunate, if the human heart were to shatter these relationships that provide basic security to man.”
While the procreation of children is a key expression of the family’s fruitfulness, Pope Francis also spoke of the fruitfulness of the family “because it broadens the horizon of existence, creates a new world; makes us believe, against all despair and defeat, that a coexistence based on respect and trust is possible. Faced with a materialistic view of the world, the family does not reduce man to sterile utilitarianism, but channels his deepest desires.”
His final point about the family spoke of the love of the family as an evangelizer, leading the family closer to God: “I would like to tell you that, thanks to the founding of family love, man also grows in his openness to God as Father. For this, the Aparecida document indicates that the family should not only be considered the object of evangelization, but also an agent of evangelization (cf. nos. 432, 435). The family reflects the image of God, in his deepest mystery, and in this way allows you to see human love as a sign of God’s love and presence (Lumen Fidei, 52). In the family, faith is mixed with maternal milk. For example, the simple and spontaneous gesture to ask for a blessing that is conserved in many of our peoples, encapsulates the biblical conviction that God’s blessing is passed on from father to son.”
Pope Francis reminded families of important phrases in family life, as he has done so before, such as “forgive,” “thanks,” “please,” and “turn to God with the beautiful name of ‘Father’”.
The full text of the message can be read here: News.VA