On Celebration in the Family
At his general audience on Wednesday, August 12, 2015, Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the family by speaking about the value of celebration. He began by stating that “celebration is an invention of God,” recounting the Genesis story of God setting aside the seventh day of Creation to rest in order to “contemplate and enjoy what was well done in work.” As this shows, the purpose of celebration is to behold gratefully and lovingly the work we have done.
The family is a place where celebrations often occur. The Pope mentioned newlyweds celebrating the work of love done during their engagement period and parents who subjugate their own worries and troubles to provide celebrations for their children. “There is so much love in this!” he said.
He also mentioned the great good of “infiltrating” the work environment with celebrations, like birthdays, marriages, and births. We also must not be afraid to stop working in order to celebrate. God is “not a slave of work, but Lord,” and so we, made in His image and likeness, also must not be slaves of labor. Taking time away from work to celebrate enables us to be “lords” of work.
The Holy Father called attention to Sunday Mass as a special moment of celebration for families, who are “endowed with an extraordinary capacity to understand, direct, and sustain the genuine value of the time of celebration.” The communal aspect of Sunday Mass makes it a perfect occasion for the gathering of families in joy and gratitude. “Celebrations in which there is a place for the whole family are those that succeed better!” said Pope Francis. The family’s inclusion in the celebration of the Mass is a great good that reminds the whole community about God’s gift of celebration.