Pope Francis made an apostolic journey to Mexico this past week. Here is an excerpt of the address he gave to families at the Víctor Manuel Reyna Stadium in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Mexico on Monday, February 15, 2016.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I thank God for being here, on Chiapaneca soil. It feels good to be here on this soil, on this land; it is good to be here in this place which, with you here, has a family flavor, a home flavor. I give thanks for your faces and your presence; I give thanks to God because of the heart-beat of his presence in your families. I also thank you, families and friends, for giving us your witness, for opening to us the doors of your homes, the doors of your lives; you have allowed us to sit with you sharing both in the bread that nourishes you and in the sweat of your brow as you face the difficulties of every day. It is the bread representing the joys, the hopes and the hard sweat with which you confront sadness, disillusion and failings. I thank you for allowing me to enter into your families, your homes, and to sit at your tables.
Today we see how on different fronts the family is weakened and questioned. It is regarded as a model which has done its time, but which has no place in our societies; these, claiming to be modern, increasingly favor a model based on isolation. Societies become increasingly inoculated — they refer to themselves as societies which are free, democratic, sovereign — but they are inoculated by ideological colonizations which destroy; and we end up being ideological colonies that then have a destructive effect on families, the family cell, which is the basis of every healthy society.
It is true that living in family is not always easy, and can often be painful and stressful but, as I have often said referring to the Church, I prefer a wounded family that makes daily efforts to put love into play, to a family and society that is sick from isolationism or a habitual fear of love. I prefer a family that makes repeated efforts to begin again, to a family and society that is narcissistic and obsessed with luxury and comfort.
I prefer a family with tired faces from generous giving, to a family with faces full of makeup that know nothing of tenderness and compassion. I prefer a man and a woman…with faces that are wrinkled due to the daily struggles over the 50 years of strong married love…Because in order to get to the point they have reached after 50 years, you need patience, love and mutual forgiveness.
My only advice is that they never let the sun set without making peace, because if they are at odds with each other at the end of the day, they will wake up to a cold war, a cold war is very dangerous in the family because it undermines, from within, the hard earned wrinkles of conjugal fidelity.
Married life has to be renewed every day. And, as I said before, I prefer families with wrinkles, with wounds, and scars, but who carry on moving forward; for these wounds, scars and wrinkles are the fruit of a faithful love which has had its share of difficulties. Love is not easy, it is not easy, but the most beautiful thing is when a man and a woman can offer each other true love and offer it for life.
I have been asked to pray for you and I want to do so now. You Mexicans have something extra; you run ahead with an advantage. You have a Mother, la Guadalupana. La Guadalupana wanted to visit this land and this gives us the certainty of her intercession so that our dream, which we call the family, may not be lost through uncertainty or solitude. She is a Mother and is always ready to defend our families, our future; she is always ready to put her heart into it by giving us her Son. For this reason, I invite you…to hold hands and address her together:
Hail Mary, full of grace. Our Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
And let us not forget St Joseph, quiet, a worker, but always at the forefront looking after his family. Thank you, and may God bless you. And pray for me.
Source: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2016/february/documents/papa-francesco_20160215_messico-famiglie.html (accessed February 20, 2016)