Pope Francis said Church and society need to defend and support the family, and he asked families to pray together every day for the gift of peace.
In his Angelus message for the Feast of the Holy Family Dec. 26, the pope said “please, each day, let us pray a little bit together, if you can make the effort, to ask God for the gift of peace.”
“And let us all commit ourselves — parents, children, Church, society — to sustain, defend and safeguard the family, which is our treasure,” he urged.
On the day celebrating the simple and humble Holy Family of Nazareth — Jesus, Mary, and Joseph — Pope Francis reflected on the “beauty of this mystery” and what it can teach us and our own families.
The first point the pope emphasized is that everyone comes from a family, and therefore has a story of where they come from, even if their family was far from perfect.
“Let us thank [God] and pray to him for our families,” he urged.
“The Gospel of today’s liturgy reminds us that even Jesus is the son of a family story,” he said, recalling that Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Passover with Mary and Joseph, who became worried when they realized he was missing, and then overjoyed when he was found after three days.
“It is beautiful to see Jesus inserted into the warp of familial affections, which were born and grew in the caresses and concerns of his parents,” he said.
“This is important for us as well,” he added: “We come from a story composed of bonds of love, and the person we are today was born not so much from the material goods that we make use of, but from the love that we have received in the heart of the family.”
According to Pope Francis, the second lesson for families is that every day we have to learn to put aside our own ego and to grow in patience.
Even the Holy Family had unexpected problems, difficulty, and suffering, he said, noting that Mary and Joseph were in anguish for three days until they found the child Jesus in the Temple.
“Each day, a family needs to learn how to listen to each other to understand each other, to walk together, to face conflicts and difficulties,” Francis stated. “It is a daily challenge and it is overcome through the right attitude, through simple actions, caring for the details of our relationships.”
After praying the Angelus, a traditional Marian prayer, the pope spoke about his concern for the low birth rate in many countries, especially in Italy.
Speaking about what he has coined a “demographic winter,” he noted that many couples “have lost the aspiration to have more children, and many couples prefer to remain without or with only one child.”
“Let’s do everything possible to regain an awareness, to win this demographic winter that goes against our families against our homeland, even against our future,” he said.
Pope Francis also noted that Dec. 26 he published a letter to married couples, as “an encouragement, a sign of closeness, and also an occasion for meditation.”
“It’s important to reflect and to experience the goodness and tenderness of God who guides the steps of the spouses on the path of goodness with a fatherly hand,” he said. “May the Lord give to all spouses the strength and the joy to continue the journey they have undertaken.”
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