Pope Francis is known for his simple yet profound insights on topics ranging from the family to the environment, with a focus on practical love for one another. Here we bring together some of our favourite quotes from the Holy Father’s recent series of Catechesis on the Family, which is newly published by CTS.
1) Expressions of Love
Imagine three expressions written above the doorway. The expressions are: “may I?”, “thank you”, and “pardon me”. Indeed, these expressions open up the way to living well in your family, to living in peace.
2) Always Make Peace
Let me give you a word of advice: never finish the day without making peace with one another. So if you’ve fought, do not let the day end without making peace with your family. And how am I going to make peace? By getting down on my knees? No! Just by a small gesture, a little something, and harmony within your family will be restored. Just a little caress, no words necessary.
3) Sharing a Plan
Many couples are together a long time, perhaps also in intimacy, sometimes living together, but they don’t really know each other. It seems curious, but experience shows that it’s true. Therefore engagement needs to be re-evaluated as a time of getting to know one another and sharing a plan.
The family is endowed with an extraordinary ability to understand, guide and sustain the authentic value of the time for celebration. How beautiful family celebrations are, they are beautiful! Sunday celebrations in particular. It is surely no coincidence that celebrations which have room for the whole family are those that turn out the best!
5) Affection for God
A heart which is home to affection for God makes a prayer of an unspoken thought, or an invocation before a holy image, or a kiss blown to the Church. It’s beautiful when mothers teach their little children to blow kisses to Jesus or to Our Lady. What tenderness there is in this! In that moment the child’s heart is transformed into a place of prayer.
6) Love for the Word
Prayer flows from closeness with the Word of God. Is there this closeness in our family? Do we have the Gospel at home? Do we open it sometimes to read it together? Do we meditate on it while reciting the Rosary? The Gospel read and meditated on as a family is like good bread that nourishes everyone’s heart.
7) Motherly Love
Mothers are the strongest antidote to the spread of self-centred individualism. “Individual” means “what cannot be divided”. Mothers, instead, “divide” themselves, from the moment they bear a child to give him to the world and help him grow.
8) Love for Children
I remember what my mother said about us – there were five of us: – “I have five children”. When they asked her: “Which one is your favourite”, she answered: “I have five children, like five fingers. Should they strike this one, it hurts me; should they strike that one, it hurts me. All five hurt me. All are my children and all are different like the fingers of a hand”. And this is how a family is! The children are all different, but all children.
9) Care for the Elderly
The Church cannot and does not want to conform to a mentality of impatience, and much less of indifference and contempt, towards old age. We must reawaken the collective sense of gratitude, of appreciation, of hospitality, which makes the elder feel like a living part of his community.
10) Always be grateful
I remember once listening to a very wise, old person; very simple, but with that uncommon wisdom of life and piety: “Gratitude is a plant that grows only in the soil of noble souls”. That nobility of soul, that grace of God in the soul compels us to say “thank you” with gratitude. It is the flower of a noble soul.
For more pearls of wisdom on family & relationships from Pope Francis, check out our new booklet, Pope Francis & the Family, available now for £2.95.
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