Sunday, July 09, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI at World Meeting of Families - Spain

The Homily by Pope Benedict XVI, at the closing Mass at the World Meeting of Families in Spain, was an inspiration to all families, and to myself. His message on the importance of family, and the ties of children to generations of ancestors is relevant in my life today. I have prayed, desired, and faught for the resolution of Christopher's mother and I, so that we may be together as a loving, caring, nurturing family. The Holy Father indeed reinforced that importance in my mind. At one point, he said that we are all called to work for perfection in our family relationships. I will continue that work with love and prayers.

Christopher's only living great grand-parent, Ila, is getting ready to celebrate her 90th birthday this August in St. Louis. I was so grateful that I was able to assist my mother yesterday with the final touches on the invitations for my grandma's birthday party. God willing, I will be able to attend. Christopher's mom will also be receiving an invitation, and a verbal invitation from me. Christopher's great grandma has not had the pleasure of meeting him in person. I pray that this will be that meeting.

Following are several sections from Sunday's homily by Pope Benedict XVI:

“The family, founded on indissoluble marriage between a man and a woman, is the expression of this relational, filial and communal aspect of life.”

“(Children) along with the gift of life, receive a whole patrimony of experiences. Parents have the right and the inalienable duty to transmit this heritage to their children: to help them find their own identity, to initiate them to life in society, to foster the responsible exercise of their moral freedom and their ability to love based on their having been loved, and above all, to enable them to encounter God.”

“At the origin of every man and woman, and thus in all human fatherhood and motherhood, we find God the Creator. For this reason married couples must accept the child born to them, not simply as theirs alone, but also as a child of God, loved for his or her own sake and called to be a son and daughter of God.”

“Consequently, at the origin of every human being there is not something haphazard or chance, but a loving plan of God. This was revealed to us by Jesus Christ, the true Son of God and a perfect man. He knew whence he came and whence all of us have come: from the love of his Father and our Father.”

“Faith, then, is not merely a cultural heritage, but the constant working of the grace of God who calls and our human freedom, which can respond or not to his call. Even if no one can answer for another person, Christian parents are still called to give a credible witness of their Christian faith and hope. The need to ensure that God’s call and the good news of Christ will reach their children with the utmost clarity and authenticity.”

“The Christian family passes on the faith when parents teach their children to pray and when they pray with them; when they lead them to the sacraments and gradually introduce them to the life of the Church; when all join in reading the Bible, letting the light of faith shine on their family life and praising God as our Father.”

“To help us advance along the path of human maturity, the Church teaches us to respect and foster the marvelous reality of the indissoluble marriage between man and woman which is also the origin of the family. To recognize and assist this institution is one of the greatest services which can be rendered nowadays to the common good and to the authentic development of individuals and societies, as well as the best means of ensuring the dignity, equality and true freedom of the human person.”

"I wish to call on all Christians to collaborate cordially and courageously with all people of good will who are serving the family in accordance with their responsibility so that by joining forces in a legitimate plurality of initiatives they will contribute to the promotion of the authentic good of the family in contemporary society.”
“Mary is the image and model of all mothers, of their great mission to be guardians of life, of their mission to be teachers of the art of living and of the art of loving.”

“The Christian family - father, mother and children - is called, then, to do all these things not as a task imposed from without, but rather as a gift of the sacramental grace of marriage poured out upon the spouses. If they remain open to the Spirit and implore his help, he will not fail to bestow on them the love of God the Father made manifest and incarnate in Christ.”

“And this is the message of hope that, from Valencia, I wish to share with all the families of the world. Amen.”

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