Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Family is Where One can be Born with Dignity, Grow and Develop in an Integral Way

Message of Pope Benedict XVI to the 6th World Meeting of Families
Mexico City, January 19, 2009

2. The Christian response to the challenges that must be confronted by families and human life in general, consists in intensifying trust in the Lord and the vigor that springs from one's faith, which is nourished by attentive listening to the Word of God. How beautiful it is to gather as a family to allow God to speak to the hearts of the members through his living and effective Word. In prayer, especially with the praying of the rosary, as was done yesterday, the family contemplates the mysteries of the life of Jesus, interiorizes the values that it meditates and feels called to incarnate them in their lives.

3. The family is an indispensable base for society and for peoples, as well as an irreplaceable good for children, worthy of coming into life as a fruit of love, of the parents' total and generous surrender. As Jesus showed in honoring the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, the family occupies a primary place in the education of the person. It is a true school of humanity and perennial values. No one has given being to himself. We have received life from others, which is developed and matured with the truths and values that we learn in relation and communion with the rest. In this sense, the family founded on the indissoluble matrimony between a man and a woman expresses this relational, filial and communitarian dimension, and is the realm where man can be born with dignity, grow and develop in an integral way (cf. Homily in the Holy Mass of the 5th World Meeting of Families, Valencia, July 9, 2006).

Nevertheless, this education task is made difficult by a deceptive concept of liberty, in which whims and the subjective impulses of the individual are exalted to the point of leaving each one locked within the prison of his own "I." The true liberty of the human being comes from having been created in the image and likeness of God, and therefore should be exercised with responsibility, always opting for the true good so that it becomes love, gift of self. For this, more than theories, the intimacy and love characteristic of the familial community are needed. It is in the home where one learns to truly live, to value life and health, liberty and peace, justice and truth, work, concord and respect.

4. Today more than ever is needed the testimony and public commitment of all the baptized to reaffirm the dignity and the unique and irreplaceable value of the family founded on the marriage of a man and a woman and open to life, as well as the value of human life in all its stages. Legislative and administrative measures that support families in their inalienable rights, necessary to carry forward their extraordinary mission, should also be promoted. The testimonies presented in yesterday's celebration show that today, too, the family can show itself to be firm in the love of God and renew humanity in the new millennium.

5. I want to express my closeness and assure my prayers for all families that give a testimony of fidelity in especially difficult circumstances. I encourage numerous families that, living sometimes in the midst of contradictions and incomprehension, give an example of generosity and trust in God, expressing my desire that needed help is not lacking for them. I think also of the families that suffer poverty, illness, marginalization or emigration. And very especially of the Christian families that are persecuted because of their faith. The Pope is very close to all of you and he accompanies you in your efforts of every day. . . .

I entrust all the families of the world to the protection of the Most Holy Virgin, so highly venerated in the noble Mexican land in her image from Guadalupe. To her, who always reminds us that our happiness is in doing the will of Christ (cf. John 2:5), I say now:
Most Holy Mother of Guadalupe
who has shown your love and tenderness
to the peoples of the American continent,
shower with joy and hope all the peoples
and all the families of the world.

To you, who goes before [us] and guides our journey in the faith
toward the eternal homeland,
we entrust the joys, the projects,
the concerns and the desires of every family.

Oh Mary,
to you we turn, trusting in your motherly tenderness;
do not ignore the petitions we direct to you
for the families of all the world
in this crucial period of history.
Instead, gather all of us in your maternal heart
and accompany us in our journey to the celestial home.


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