POPE FRANCIS’ INTERVENTIONS AT THE WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES (Philadephia, Sept 26-27, 2015)
POPE FRANCIS’ INTERVENTIONS AT THE WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES
(Philadephia, Sept 26-27, 2015)
Dear friends, below you have the two interventions of Pope Francis in the 2-day World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. The first is an improvised address because the Pope chose not to follow his prepared text; whereas the second, the Pope following his prepared homily, added off-the-cuff remarks. They are taken from zenit.org. Titles and highlights are mine.
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POPE FRANCIS’ IMPROVISED ADDRESS AT THE WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES
(Philadelphia, Sept. 26, 2015)
Here is a ZENIT transcription and translation of the address Pope Francis gave this evening at the Festival of Families at the World Meeting of Families. He chose not to follow his prepared text and instead gave the following address off-the-cuff.
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Dear brothers and sisters, dear families,
- GRATITUDE TO THE TESTIMONIES. BEAUTY BRINGS US TO GOD WHO IS GOOD, BEAUTIFUL AND TRUTH. A STRONG, GOOD, TRUE SOCIETY IS FOUNDED ON THE FAMILY.
Thank you to those who have given their testimonies. Thank you to those who have brought us joy with their art, with beauty, which is the path to reach God. Beauty brings us to God. And a true testimony brings us to God, because God also is the truth, He is beauty, He is goodness, and a testimony given to serve is good, it makes us good people, because God is good. It brings us to God. All that is good, all that is true, all that is beautiful brings us to God. Because God is good, God is beautiful, God is the truth.
Thank you to everyone who gave us a message here and [thank you] for the presence of all of you, which is also a testimony, a true testimony THAT IT IS WORTHWHILE TO LIVE AS A FAMILY, THAT A SOCIETY GROWS STRONG, GROWS IN GOODNESS, GROWS IN BEAUTY AND TRULY GROWS IF IT IS BUILT ON THE FOUNDATION OF THE FAMILY.
- THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING THAT GOD MADE, THE BIBLE SAYS, WAS THE FAMILY. ALL OF THE LOVE THAT GOD HAS IN HIMSELF, ALL OF THE BEAUTY THAT GOD HAS IN HIMSELF, ALL OF THE TRUTH THAT GOD HAS IN HIMSELF, HE GIVES TO THE FAMILY.
Once, a boy asked me — you know that children ask hard questions — he asked me, “Father, what did God do before He created the world?” I can tell you that it was hard for me to come up with an answer. I told him what I’m saying now to you. BEFORE CREATING THE WORLD, GOD LOVED, BECAUSE GOD IS LOVE. BUT THERE WAS SO MUCH LOVE THAT HE HAD WITHIN HIMSELF, THIS LOVE BETWEEN THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, IT WAS SO GREAT, SO OVERFLOWING THAT — I DON’T KNOW IF THIS IS VERY THEOLOGICAL, BUT YOU’LL UNDERSTAND WHAT I MEAN — IT WAS SO GREAT THAT HE COULDN’T BE EGOTISTICAL. HE HAD TO COME OUT OF HIMSELF SO AS TO HAVE THAT WHICH HE COULD LOVE OUTSIDE OF HIMSELF.
And there God created the world. There God made this marvel in which we live and, since we’re a little mixed up, we are destroying it. BUT THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING THAT GOD MADE, THE BIBLE SAYS, WAS THE FAMILY. HE CREATED MAN AND WOMAN, AND HE GAVE THEM EVERYTHING. HE GAVE THEM THE WORLD! GROW, MULTIPLY, CULTIVATE THE EARTH, MAKE IT PRODUCE, MAKE IT GROW. HE PRESENTED TO A FAMILY ALL OF THE LOVE THAT HE MADE IN THIS MARVELOUS CREATION.
- A FAMILY IS TRULY A FAMILY WHEN IT IS ABLE TO OPEN ITS ARMS AND RECEIVE ALL OF THIS LOVE. TO SAVE THE WORLD, GOD SENT HIS SON TO A FAMILY! GOD CAME INTO THE WORLD IN A FAMILY BECAUSE THIS FAMILY WAS A FAMILY THAT HAD ITS HEART OPEN TO LOVE, THAT HAD THE DOORS OPEN TO LOVE.
Let’s go back a bit. All of the love that God has in Himself, all of the beauty that God has in Himself, all of the truth that God has in Himself, He gives to the family. AND A FAMILY IS TRULY A FAMILY WHEN IT IS ABLE TO OPEN ITS ARMS AND RECEIVE ALL OF THIS LOVE.
Obviously, earthly paradise is here no longer. Life has its problems. Men, because of the devil’s astuteness, learned to have divisions among themselves. And all of this love that God had given was nearly lost. And shortly thereafter, the first crime, the first fratricide. A brother kills another brother: war. The love, the beauty, and the truth of God — and the destruction of war. And between these two poles, we walk today. We have to decide. We have to decide on which path to walk.
But let’s go back. WHEN THE MAN AND HIS WIFE MADE THE MISTAKE AND DISTANCED THEMSELVES FROM GOD, GOD DID NOT LEAVE THEM ALONE. THERE WAS SO MUCH LOVE, SO MUCH LOVE THAT HE BEGAN TO WALK WITH HUMANITY. He began to walk with His people, until the fullness of time arrived, and He gave the greatest sign of His love, His Son.
And His Son, where did He send Him? To a palace? To a city, to start a business? HE SENT HIM TO A FAMILY! GOD CAME INTO THE WORLD IN A FAMILY.
And he was able to do this BECAUSE THIS FAMILY WAS A FAMILY THAT HAD ITS HEART OPEN TO LOVE, THAT HAD THE DOORS OPEN TO LOVE. Let’s think of Mary, this woman. She couldn’t believe it. “How can this be?” And when it was explained to her, she obeyed. Let’s think of Joseph, full of dreams to form a household. He finds himself with this surprise that he doesn’t understand. He accepts. He obeys. And in the obedience of love of this woman, Mary, and of this man, Joseph, a family is created into which comes God.
- GOD LIKES BEST KNOCKING ON THE DOORS OF FAMILIES AND FIND FAMILIES THAT ARE UNITED, THAT LOVE EACH OTHER, THAT BRING UP THEIR CHILDREN AND EDUCATE THEM AND HELP THEM TO KEEP GOING FORWARD
God always knocks at the door of hearts. He likes to do this. It comes from His heart. But, do you know what He likes best? To knock on THE DOORS OF FAMILIES AND FIND FAMILIES THAT ARE UNITED, TO FIND FAMILIES THAT LOVE EACH OTHER, TO FIND THE FAMILIES THAT BRING UP THEIR CHILDREN AND EDUCATE THEM AND HELP THEM TO KEEP GOING FORWARD AND THAT CREATE A SOCIETY OF GOODNESS, OF TRUTH, AND OF BEAUTY.
We are in the Festival of Families. The family has a divine passport, is that clear? The passport that a family has is issued it by God, so that within its heart, truth, love, and beauty would grow more and more.
- IN FAMILIES, THERE ARE DIFFICULTIES… BUT, IN FAMILIES THERE IS ALWAYS THE CROSS…BUT AFTER THE CROSS, THERE IS THE RESURRECTION AND HENCE HOPE OF LIFE AND OF RESURRECTION. IN FAMILIES, THERE ARE DIFFICULTIES, BUT THESE DIFFICULTIES ARE OVERCOME WITH LOVE.
Sure, one of you could say to me, “Father, you speak this way because you’re single.” IN FAMILIES, THERE ARE DIFFICULTIES. In families, WE ARGUE; IN FAMILIES, SOMETIMES THE PLATES FLY; IN FAMILIES, THE CHILDREN GIVE US HEADACHES. AND I’M NOT EVEN GOING TO MENTION THE MOTHER-IN-LAW. BUT IN FAMILIES, THERE IS ALWAYS, ALWAYS, THE CROSS. ALWAYS. BECAUSE THE LOVE OF GOD, OF THE SON OF GOD, ALSO OPENED FOR US THIS PATH. BUT, IN FAMILIES AS WELL, AFTER THE CROSS, THERE IS THE RESURRECTION. BECAUSE THE SON OF GOD OPENED FOR US THIS PATH. BECAUSE OF THIS, THE FAMILY IS — FORGIVE THE TERM I’LL USE — IT IS A FACTORY OF HOPE, OF HOPE OF LIFE AND OF RESURRECTION. GOD WAS THE ONE WHO OPENED THIS PATH.
And the children. The children make us work. We, too, as sons and daughters also created work.
Sometimes, at home, I see some of my collaborators who come into work with dark circles under their eyes. They have a baby who is a month old, or two months old, and I ask them, “You didn’t sleep?” “Oh no, he cried all night long.” IN FAMILIES, THERE ARE DIFFICULTIES, BUT THESE DIFFICULTIES ARE OVERCOME WITH LOVE. HATE DOESN’T OVERCOME ANY DIFFICULTY. DIVISION OF HEARTS DOESN’T OVERCOME ANY DIFFICULTY. ONLY LOVE IS CAPABLE OF OVERCOMING DIFFICULTIES. LOVE IS A FESTIVAL. LOVE IS JOY. LOVE IS TO KEEP MOVING FORWARD.
- AS A SIGN OF LOVE PAY ATTENTION TO THE CHILDREN AND GRANDPARENTS. THE CHILDREN WHO ARE THE FUTURE AND HOPE; THE GRANDPARENTS
And I don’t want to continue talking, because this will get too long. But I would like to stress two points regarding the family which I would like you to pay special attention to. Not only would I like you to do this, but we must pay special attention to this: THE CHILDREN AND THE GRANDPARENTS. CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE ARE THE FUTURE, THEY ARE THE STRENGTH, THOSE WHO TAKE US FORWARD. THEY ARE THE ONES IN WHICH WE PLACE OUR HOPE. GRANDPARENTS ARE THE MEMORY OF A FAMILY, THEY ARE THE ONES WHO GAVE US THE FAITH, TRANSMITTED TO US THE FAITH.
To take care of the grandparents and to take care of the children is the sign of love — I don’t know if it’s the greatest but I would say the most promising [sign of love] of the family, because it promises the future. A PEOPLE THAT DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO CARE FOR THE CHILDREN AND A PEOPLE THAT DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO CARE FOR THE GRANDPARENTS IS A PEOPLE WITHOUT A FUTURE, BECAUSE IT DOESN’T HAVE STRENGTH AND IT DOESN’T HAVE THE MEMORY THAT WILL CARRY IT FORWARD.
- NEVER END A DAY WITHOUT MAKING PEACE IN THE FAMILY. DEFEND THE FAMILY
And well, the family is beautiful, but it is costly. It brings problems. In the family, sometimes there is enmity. The husband fights with the wife or they give each other dirty looks, or the children with the parents … I advise one thing: NEVER END THE DAY WITHOUT MAKING PEACE IN THE FAMILY. IN A FAMILY, A DAY CANNOT END AT WAR.
May God bless you. May God give you strength. May God strengthen you to keep moving forward. Let us care for the family. Let us defend the family, because there, there, our future is in play. Thank you, may God bless you and pray for me, please.
[Transcription and translation by ZENIT]
(September 26, 2015) © Innovative Media Inc.
POPE CONCLUDING HOMILY AT THE WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES
(Sept. 27, 2015)
Here is a Vatican translation of the homily Pope Francis gave this afternoon at the closing Mass of the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. A ZENIT transcription and translation of the remarks he added off-the-cuff are included in brackets.
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Today the word of God surprises us with powerful and thought-provoking images. Images which challenge us, but also stir our enthusiasm.
- “DO NOT HOLD BACK ANYTHING THAT IS GOOD, INSTEAD HELP IT TO GROW!”
In the first reading, Joshua tells Moses that two members of the people are prophesying, speaking God’s word, without a mandate. In the Gospel, John tells Jesus that the disciples had stopped someone from casting out evil spirits in the name of Jesus. Here is the surprise: Moses and Jesus both rebuke those closest to them for being so narrow! Would that all could be prophets of God’s word! Would that everyone could work miracles in the Lord’s name!
Jesus encountered hostility from people who did not accept what he said and did. For them, his openness to the honest and sincere faith of many men and women who were not part of God’s chosen people seemed intolerable. The disciples, for their part, acted in good faith. But the temptation to be scandalized by the freedom of God, who sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous alike (Mt 5:45), bypassing bureaucracy, officialdom and inner circles, threatens the authenticity of faith. Hence it must be vigorously rejected.
Once we realize this, we can understand why Jesus’ words about causing “scandal” are so harsh. For Jesus, the truly “intolerable” scandal consists in everything that breaks down and destroys our trust in the working of the Spirit!
Our Father will not be outdone in generosity and he continues to scatter seeds. He scatters the seeds of his presence in our world, for “love consists in this, not that we have loved God but that he loved us” first (1 Jn 4:10). That love gives us a profound certainty: we are sought by God; he waits for us. It is this confidence which makes disciples encourage, support and nurture the good things happening all around them. God wants all his children to take part in the feast of the Gospel. Jesus says, “DO NOT HOLD BACK ANYTHING THAT IS GOOD, INSTEAD HELP IT TO GROW!” TO RAISE DOUBTS ABOUT THE WORKING OF THE SPIRIT, TO GIVE THE IMPRESSION THAT IT CANNOT TAKE PLACE IN THOSE WHO ARE NOT “PART OF OUR GROUP”, WHO ARE NOT “LIKE US”, IS A DANGEROUS TEMPTATION. NOT ONLY DOES IT BLOCK CONVERSION TO THE FAITH; IT IS A PERVERSION OF FAITH!
- FAITH OPENS A “WINDOW” TO THE PRESENCE AND WORKING OF THE SPIRIT. IT SHOWS US THAT, LIKE HAPPINESS, HOLINESS IS ALWAYS TIED TO LITTLE GESTURES
FAITH OPENS A “WINDOW” TO THE PRESENCE AND WORKING OF THE SPIRIT. IT SHOWS US THAT, LIKE HAPPINESS, HOLINESS IS ALWAYS TIED TO LITTLE GESTURES. “Whoever gives you a cup of water in my name will not go unrewarded”, says Jesus (cf. Mk 9:41). THESE LITTLE GESTURES ARE THOSE WE LEARN AT HOME, IN THE FAMILY; THEY GET LOST AMID ALL THE OTHER THINGS WE DO, YET THEY DO MAKE EACH DAY DIFFERENT. THEY ARE THE QUIET THINGS DONE BY MOTHERS AND GRANDMOTHERS, BY FATHERS AND GRANDFATHERS, BY CHILDREN, [BY SIBLINGS]. THEY ARE LITTLE SIGNS OF TENDERNESS, AFFECTION AND COMPASSION. LIKE THE WARM SUPPER WE LOOK FORWARD TO AT NIGHT, THE EARLY LUNCH AWAITING SOMEONE WHO GETS UP EARLY TO GO TO WORK. HOMELY GESTURES. LIKE A BLESSING BEFORE WE GO TO BED, OR A HUG AFTER WE RETURN FROM A HARD DAY’S WORK. LOVE IS SHOWN BY LITTLE THINGS, BY ATTENTION TO SMALL DAILY SIGNS WHICH MAKE US FEEL AT HOME. FAITH GROWS WHEN IT IS LIVED AND SHAPED BY LOVE. THAT IS WHY OUR FAMILIES, OUR HOMES, ARE TRUE DOMESTIC CHURCHES. THEY ARE THE RIGHT PLACE FOR FAITH TO BECOME LIFE, AND LIFE TO [GROW IN] FAITH.
- JESUS WANTS US TO ENCOURAGE AND SPREAD THESE LITTLE SIGNS OF LOVE AS SIGNS OF HIS PRESENCE IN THE WORLD. MAY OUR CHILDREN FIND IN US MODELS AND INCENTIVE OF COMMUNION
JESUS TELLS US NOT TO HOLD BACK THESE LITTLE MIRACLES. INSTEAD, HE WANTS US TO ENCOURAGE THEM, TO SPREAD THEM. HE ASKS US TO GO THROUGH LIFE, OUR EVERYDAY LIFE, ENCOURAGING ALL THESE LITTLE SIGNS OF LOVE AS SIGNS OF HIS OWN LIVING AND ACTIVE PRESENCE IN OUR WORLD.
SO WE MIGHT ASK OURSELVES, [TODAY, HERE, AT THE END OF THIS FESTIVAL]: HOW ARE WE TRYING TO LIVE THIS WAY IN OUR HOMES, IN OUR SOCIETIES? WHAT KIND OF WORLD DO WE WANT TO LEAVE TO OUR CHILDREN (CF. LAUDATO SI’, 160)? We cannot answer these questions alone, by ourselves. It is the Spirit who challenges us to respond as part of the great human family. Our common house can no longer tolerate sterile divisions. The urgent challenge of protecting our home includes the effort to bring the entire human family together in the pursuit of a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change (cf. ibid., 13). MAY OUR CHILDREN FIND IN US MODELS AND INCENTIVES TO COMMUNION! [NOT OF DIVISION.] MAY OUR CHILDREN FIND IN US MEN AND WOMEN CAPABLE OF JOINING OTHERS IN BRINGING TO FULL FLOWER ALL THE GOOD SEEDS WHICH THE FATHER HAS SOWN!
Pointedly, yet affectionately, Jesus tells us: “If you, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Lk 11:13). How much wisdom there is in these few words! It is true that, as far as goodness and purity of heart are concerned, we human beings don’t have much to show! But Jesus knows that, where children are concerned, we are capable of boundless generosity. So he reassures us: if only we have faith, the Father will give us his Spirit.
- A GOOD WAY TO MEASURE LOVE IS TO SPEAK WITH PATIENCE, LOVE AND TENDERNESS.
We Christians, the Lord’s disciples, ask the families of the world to help us! How many of us are here at this celebration! This is itself something prophetic, a kind of miracle in today’s world, [which is tired of inventing new divisions, new sufferings, new disasters]. Would that we could all be prophets! Would that all of us could be open to miracles of love for the sake of [our own family and] all the families of the world, and thus overcome the scandal of a narrow, petty love, closed in on itself, impatient of others!
[I LEAVE YOU A QUESTION FOR EACH ONE TO ANSWER TO HIMSELF, SINCE I SAID THE WORD IMPATIENT: IN MY HOUSE, DO WE YELL? OR DO WE SPEAK WITH LOVE AND TENDERNESS? THIS IS A GOOD WAY TO MEASURE OUR LOVE.]
- RENEW OUR FAITH IN THE WORD OF THE LORD WHICH INVITES FAITHFUL FAMILIES TO THIS OPENNESS , TO SHARE THE PROPHECY OF THE COVENANT OF MAN AND WOMAN, WHICH GENERATES LIFE AND REVEALS GOD, TO THE THE PROPHECY OF PEACE, OF TENDERNESS AND FAMILY AFFECTION.
And how beautiful it would be if everywhere, even beyond our borders, we could appreciate and encourage this prophecy and this miracle! WE RENEW OUR FAITH IN THE WORD OF THE LORD WHICH INVITES FAITHFUL FAMILIES TO THIS OPENNESS. IT INVITES ALL THOSE WHO WANT TO SHARE THE PROPHECY OF THE COVENANT OF MAN AND WOMAN, WHICH GENERATES LIFE AND REVEALS GOD. [MAY HE HELP US TO PARTICIPATE IN THE PROPHECY OF PEACE, OF TENDERNESS AND FAMILY AFFECTION. MAY HE HELP US TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS PROPHETIC GESTURE OF CARING FOR OUR CHILDREN AND OUR GRANDPARENTS WITH TENDERNESS, PATIENCE AND LOVE.]
Anyone who wants to bring into this world a family which teaches children to be excited by every gesture aimed at overcoming evil – a family which shows that the Spirit is alive and at work – will encounter our gratitude and our appreciation. Whatever the family, people, region, or religion to which they belong!
May God grant to all of us [to be prophets of the joy of the Gospel, of the Gospel of the family, of the love of families. To be prophets], as the Lord’s disciples, [and grant us] the grace to be worthy of this purity of heart which is not scandalized by the Gospel! [Amen]
(September 27, 2015) © Innovative Media Inc.
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