100 pieces of advice for families from Pope Francis

 

Following the Synods on the Family, here are 100 pieces of advice for families from Pope Francis, selected from the catechesis on the family he gave in the Vatican between Wednesday December 10, 2014 and Wednesday September 15, 2015.

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1. “Please”, “Thank-you”, and “I’m sorry”. These expressions open up the way to living your family life well, being at peace. They are simple expressions, but not so simple to put into practice! They contain great power: the power to keep home life intact even when it is beset with a thousand problems. But if they are absent, little holes can start to crack open and the whole thing may even collapse (May 13, 2015).

2. The first expression is “Please”. (…) Entering into the life of another, even when that person is already part of our life, demands the sensitivity of a non-invasive attitude which renews trust and respect. In short, trust does not give us any right to take things for granted. Indeed, the deeper and more intimate love is, the more it calls for respect for the other’s freedom, and the ability to wait until the other opens the door to his or her heart (May 13, 2015).

3. Before doing anything in your family, ask: “Please may I do this? Is this how you want me to do it?” This way of asking is well-mannered, and also full of love. It does families so much good! (May 13, 2015).

4. A Christian who does not know how to say thank-you is someone who has forgotten God’s language (May 13, 2015).

5. I once heard a very wise, good, old person – very simple, but with the wisdom of experience and piety – say: “Gratitude is a plant that only grows in the soil of noble souls.” That nobility of soul, that grace of God in the soul compels us to say thank-you, to be grateful. It is the flower of noble souls. This is something really beautiful (May 13, 2015).

6. The third expression is “I’m sorry.” Granted, it’s not always easy to say, but it is so necessary. When we fail to say it, little cracks begin to open up – even when we don’t want them to – and they can grow into enormous sinkholes (May 13, 2015).

7. To acknowledge that we have done wrong, to show that we want to restore what has been taken away – respect, sincerity, love – this is how to merit forgiveness. This is how we stop the spread of infection. If we are not able to say sorry, it means that we are also unable to forgive. A house in which the words “I’m sorry” are never uttered begins to lack air, and the water begins to go stagnant. So many wounds to people’s feelings, so much damage to families, stem from the loss of these precious words: “I’m sorry” (May 13, 2015).


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8. Married couples do quarrel, sometimes “the plates fly”, but I’ll give you a piece of advice: never let the day end without making peace with one another. Listen to me carefully: wife and husband – did you argue? Kids – did you argue with your parents? Did you quarrel seriously? That’s not good, but it’s not a real problem: the problem arises only if this feeling hangs over into the next day. So if you’ve fought, don’t ever let the day end without making peace with your family. And how am I going to make peace? By going 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, you don’t even need to say anything. But don’t let the day end without having made your peace. Do you understand me? It’s not easy, but you have to do it. It will help to make life so much more beautiful (May 13, 2015).

9. Jesus was born in a family. He could have come in a spectacular way, as a warrior, or an emperor…. But no: he is born in a family, in a family. It is important to contemplate this beautiful scene in the creche. (…). The family of Nazareth urges us to rediscover the vocation and mission of the family, of every family (December 17, 2014).

10. How much mothers could learn from Mary’s care for that Son! And how much fathers could learn from the example of Joseph, a righteous man, who dedicated his life to supporting and protecting his wife and the Child – his family – in difficult times! Not to mention how much children could be encouraged by the adolescent Jesus to understand the necessity and beauty of cultivating their most profound vocation and of dreaming great dreams! In those 30 years, Jesus cultivated the vocation for which the Father had sent him. And in that time, Jesus never became discouraged, but increased in courage in order to carry his mission forward (December 17, 2014).

11. Above all, as Mary and Joseph did, each Christian family can welcome Jesus, listen to Him, speak with Him, guard Him, protect Him, grow with Him; and in this way make the world a bit better. (…) This is the great mission of the family: to make room for Jesus who is coming, to welcome Jesus into the family, in each member: children, husband, wife, grandparents… Jesus is there. Welcome him there, so that He can grow spiritually in the family (December 17, 2014).

12. 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 conceive and bear a child, to give him to the world, and raise him. (…) A society without mothers would be a dehumanized society, for mothers are always, even at the worst moments, witnesses of tenderness, dedication and moral strength. (…) Without mothers, not only would there be no new faithful, but the faith would lose a good part of its simple and profound warmth (January 7, 2015).

13. It’s true that you have to be a “companion” to your child, but without forgetting that you are the father! If you only behave as a companion to your child, it will do him or her no good (January 28, 2015).

14. The first need, then, is for the father to be present in the family. For him to be close to his wife, to share everything: joys and sorrows, hopes and hardships. And for him to be close to his children as they grow: when they play and when they are busy, when they are carefree and when they are distressed, when they are talkative and when they are silent, when they are daring and when they are afraid, when they take a wrong step and when they find their path again; they need a father who is always present. But “present” doesn’t mean “controlling”! Fathers who are too controlling stifle their children’s growth, they stop them developing (February 4, 2015).

15. What dignity and what tenderness there is in the expectation of that father, who stands at the door of the house waiting for his son to return! Fathers must be patient. Often there is nothing else to do but wait; to pray and wait with patience, gentleness, magnanimity and mercy (February 4, 2015).

16. The father who knows how to correct without humiliating is the one who knows how to protect without sparing himself. Once I heard a father at a meeting of married couples say: “Sometimes I have to punish my children a bit … but never harshly, so as not to humiliate them”. How beautiful! He has a sense of their dignity. He must punish them, but he does it in the right way, and moves on (February 4, 2015).


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17. Children need to find a father waiting for them when they come home after a failure. They will do everything not to admit it, not to show it, but they need him; and not finding him there opens wounds in them that are difficult to heal (February 4, 2015).

18. Children are the joy of the family and of society. They are not a problem of reproductive biology, nor one of the many ways to fulfil oneself, much less the property of their parents…. No. Children are a gift. (…) Being a son and being a daughter, according to God’s plan, means carrying within oneself the memory and hope of a love which was fulfilled in the very kindling of the life of another, original, new human being. And for parents each child is him or herself, different, diverse (February 11, 2015).

19. A child is loved because he is one’s child: not because he is beautiful, or because he is like this or like that; no, because he is a child! Not because he thinks as I do, or embodies my dreams. A child is a child: a life generated by us but intended for him, for his good, for the good of the family, of society, of mankind as a whole (February 11, 2015).

20. The human experience of being son or daughter (…) enables us to discover the most gratuitous dimension of love, which never ceases to astonish us. It is the beauty of being loved first: children are loved before they arrive. So often I find mothers in the square who are expecting a baby and ask me to bless their “bump” … these babies are loved before coming into the world. And this is free, this is love; they are loved before being born, like the love of God who always loves us first (February 11, 2015).

21. Children are loved before having done anything to deserve it, before they can talk or think, even before coming into the world! Being children is the basic condition for knowing the love of God, who is the ultimate source of this genuine miracle (February 11, 2015).

22. A society where children do not honour their parents is a society without honour; when people do not honour their parents they lose their own honour! It is a society destined to be filled with restless and greedy young people (February 11, 2015).

23. If a family with many children is looked upon as a burden, something is wrong! (…) Life is rejuvenated and acquires energy by multiplying: it is enriched, not impoverished! Children learn to assume responsibility for their family. They mature in sharing its hardship. They grow in the appreciation of its gifts (February 11, 2015).

24. Let each of us think in our hearts about our children – if we have any; think in silence. And let us all think about our parents and thank God for the gift of life. In silence, those who have children think of them, and everyone think of our parents. May the Lord bless our parents and bless your children (February 11, 2015).

25. We all know families that have divided siblings, who have quarrelled; let us pray to the Lord for these families – perhaps there are a few cases in our own family – and ask Him to help these families to reunite their siblings, to rebuild the family. Brotherhood should not be broken, because when it breaks, what happened to Cain and Abel happens to them (February 18, 2015).

26. In the family, among siblings, we learn how to live together, how to live in society. Perhaps we are not always aware of it, but the family itself introduces fraternity into the world! (…) Liberty and equality, without fraternity, can be full of individualism and conformism, and even personal interests (February 18, 2015).

27. Family fraternity shines in a special way when we see the care, the patience, the affection that envelop the little brother or sister who is weaker, sick or physically challenged. There are many, many brothers and sisters who do this, throughout the world, and perhaps we do not appreciate their generosity enough (February 18, 2015).

28. Having a brother, a sister, who loves you is a deep, precious, irreplaceable experience. The same is true of Christian fraternity. The smallest, the weakest, the poorest soften us: they have the “right” to fill our heart and soul. Yes, they are our brothers and sisters and as such we must love and care for them (February 18, 2015).

29. Today more than ever it is necessary to place fraternity back at the centre of our technocratic and bureaucratic society: then freedom and equality will also find the right balance. So let us not thoughtlessly deprive our families, out of conformism or fear, of the beautiful experience of having many sons and daughters, many brothers and sisters (February 18, 2015).


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30. The level of civilisation attained by a society is shown by the attention given to the elderly. Society will move forward if it is able to respect the wisdom of the elderly. A society which has no room for the elderly, or which discards them because they create problems – this society carries the virus of death within itself (March 4, 2015).

31. We must reawaken the collective sense of gratitude, of appreciation, of hospitality, which makes the elderly person feel like a living part of his or her community. Our elderly are men and women, fathers and mothers, who went before us on our own road, lived in our own house, fought in our daily battle for a worthy life. They are men and women from whom we have received so much (March 4, 2015).

32. We are that elderly person: in the near or distant future, but inevitably, even if we don’t think so. And if we don’t learn how to treat the elderly better, that is how we will be treated. (…) Where there is no consideration for the elderly, there is no future for the young (March 4, 201).

33. Old age holds a grace and a mission, a true vocation from the Lord. Old age is a vocation. It is not yet time to “lay down the oars”. This period of life is different from those before, there is no doubt; we even have to “invent it for ourselves” to some extent, because our societies are not ready, spiritually or morally, to appreciate the true value of this stage of life. (…) We need to outline a spirituality of the elderly (March 11, 2015).

34. The testimony given to fidelity by the elderly is important (March 11, 2015).

35. The prayer of grandparents and of the elderly is a great gift for the Church, it is a treasure! A great injection of wisdom for the whole of human society: above all for the society which is too busy, too preoccupied, too distracted. Someone should even sing, for them too: sing about the signs of God, and pray for them! (March 11, 2015).

36. The prayer of the elderly is a beautiful thing. We are able to thank the Lord for benefits received, and fill the emptiness of ingratitude around Him. We are able to intercede for the hopes of younger generations and give dignity to the memory and sacrifices of past generations. We are able to remind ambitious young people that a life without love is a barren life. We are able say to young people who are afraid that anxiety about the future can be overcome. We are able to teach the young who are overly self-absorbed that there is more joy in giving than in receiving (March 11, 2015).

37. Grandfathers and grandmothers form the enduring “chorus” of a great spiritual sanctuary, where prayers of supplication and songs of praise sustain the community which toils and struggles in the field of life (March 11, 2015).

38. The words of grandparents have a special value for the young. And young people know it. I still carry with me, always, in my breviary, the words my grandmother wrote down and gave to me on the day I was ordained to the priesthood. I often read them and they do me good. How I would like a Church that challenges the throw-away culture with the overflowing joy of a new embrace between young and old! This is what I ask of the Lord today, this embrace! (March 11, 2015)

39. Children remind us that we all, in the first years of life, were completely dependent upon the care and good will of others. The Son of God did not spare himself this experience. It is the mystery that we contemplate every year at Christmas. The nativity scene is the icon which communicates this reality to us in the simplest and most direct way (March 18, 2015).

40. Children are, in and of themselves, a treasure for humanity and also for the Church, for they constantly remind us of the necessary condition for entering the Kingdom of God: that of not considering ourselves self-sufficient, but in need of help, love, and forgiveness (March 18, 2015).

41. Children remind us of another beautiful thing: they remind us that we are always sons and daughters. Even when we become an adult, or elderly, even when we become a parent, or we occupy positions of responsibility, underneath all of this is still the identity of a child. We are all sons and daughters. And this always brings us back to the fact that we did not give ourselves life, but received it (March 18, 2015).

42. We know that children are also marked by original sin, that they are selfish, but they preserve an inner purity and simplicity. But children are not diplomatic: they say what they feel, or what they see, directly. And so often they put their parents in difficulty, by saying in front of other people: “I don’t like this because it is ugly”. But children say what they see, they are not two-faced, they have not yet learned the science of duplicity that we adults have unfortunately learned (March 18, 2015).

43. Children have the capacity to smile and to cry. Some, when I pick them up to embrace them, smile; others see me dressed in white and think I am a doctor and that I am going to vaccinate them, and they cry… spontaneously! Children are like that: they smile and cry, two things which are often “stifled” in grown-ups, we are no longer capable of it…. So often our smile becomes a cardboard smile, fixed, a smile that is not natural, even an artificial smile, like a clown’s. Children smile spontaneously and cry spontaneously. It always depends on the heart, and often our heart is blocked and we lose this capacity to smile, and to cry (March 18, 2015).

44. Children bring life, cheerfulness, hope, and also troubles. But that’s what life is about. It’s true, they also cause worries and sometimes many problems; but a society with these worries and these problems is better than a society that is sad and grey because there are no children! (March 18, 2015).


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45. Let’s not unload our faults onto the children, please! Children are never a “mistake”. Their hunger is not a mistake, nor is their poverty, their vulnerability, their abandonment – so many children abandoned on the streets – and neither is their ignorance or their helplessness… so many children don’t even know what a school is. If anything, these should be reasons to love them all the more, with greater generosity. How can we make such solemn declarations on human rights and the rights of children, if we then punish children for the errors of adults? (April 8, 2015).

46. Children with grave difficulties are often gifted with extraordinary parents, who are ready and willing to perform every sacrifice and every generous deed. But these parents should not be left alone! We should accompany them in their toil, and also offer them moments of shared joy and lighthearted cheer, so that they do not feel that they are left alone in providing the care their children need (April 8, 2015).

47. Think what society would be like if we decided, once and for all, to establish this principle: “It’s true, we are not perfect and we make many mistakes. But when it comes to the children who come into the world, no sacrifice on the part of adults is too costly or too great, to ensure that no child ever believes he or she was a mistake, is worthless or is abandoned to a life of wounds and to the arrogance of men.” How beautiful a society like that would be! (April 8, 2015).

48. The Church, as a mother, never abandons the family, when it is downhearted, wounded and humiliated in so many ways. Not even when it falls into sin or distances itself from the Church; she will always do everything to try to care for and heal it, to call it to conversion and to reconcile it to the Lord (March 25, 2015).

49. I ask myself if so-called gender theory is not the expression of a sense of frustration and resignation, which seeks to cancel out sexual difference because it no longer knows how to handle it. Yes, we risk taking a step backwards. The removal of difference in fact is the problem, not a solution. In order to resolve the problems in their relationships, men and women need to speak to one another more, listen to each other more, get to know one another better, love one another more. They must treat each other with respect and cooperate in friendship. On this human basis, sustained by the grace of God, it is possible to plan lifelong matrimonial and family union (April 15, 2015).

50. The marital and family bond is a serious matter, and it is so for everyone, not just for believers. I would urge intellectuals not to leave this theme aside, as if it were of secondary importance in fostering a freer and more just society (April 15, 2015).

51. The social devaluing of the stable, fruitful bond between man and woman is unquestionably a loss for everyone. We must once again give marriage and the family the honour that is their due! (April 22, 2015).

52. Jesus begins his own miracles at a marriage, at a wedding feast: the wedding of a man and a woman. Thus Jesus teaches us that the masterpiece of society is the family: a man and a woman who love each other! Since the time of the wedding at Cana, many things have changed, but that “sign” of Christ contains an ever-valid message (April 29, 2015).

53. In fact, nearly all men and women wish for stable emotional security, a solid marriage and a happy family. The family tops all the indices of wellbeing among young people; but, for fear of making a mistake, many do not want to even consider it. Even Christian young people do not think about the sacrament of matrimony, the single and unrepeatable sign of the covenant, which becomes a testimony of faith. Perhaps this very fear of failure is the greatest obstacle to receiving the Word of Christ, who promises his grace to the married union and to the family (April 29, 2015).

54. A marriage consecrated by God safeguards the bond between man and woman that God has blessed from the very creation of the world; and it is the source of peace and goodness for all married and family life (April 29, 2015).

55. Likewise, the virtue of hospitality on the part of Christian families today takes on crucial importance, especially in situations of poverty, degradation, and domestic violence (April 29, 2015).

56. Don’t let’s be afraid to invite Jesus to our wedding feast, to invite Him to our home, that He may be with us and safeguard the family. And we mustn’t be afraid to invite his Mother Mary too! When Christians marry “in the Lord”, they become an effective sign of God’s love. Christians do not marry for themselves alone: they marry in the Lord for the good of the entire community, of society as a whole (April 29, 2015).

57. You husbands who are present here, do you understand this? Do you love your wives as Christ loves the Church? This is no joke, it’s serious! The effect of this radical self-giving asked of a man, for the love and dignity of a woman, following the example of Christ, must have been tremendous in the Christian community itself (May 6, 2015).

58. The sacrament of marriage is a great act of faith and love (…). The Christian vocation to love unconditionally and without limit is what, by the grace of Christ, is at the foundation of the free consent that constitutes marriage (May 6, 2015).

59. The decision to “wed in the Lord” also entails a missionary dimension, which means having in one’s heart the willingness to be a medium for God’s blessing and for the Lord’s grace to all. Indeed, Christian spouses participate as spouses in the mission of the Church (May 6, 2015).

60. The route of love: to love as God loves, forever. Christ does not cease to care for the Church: he loves her always, he cares for her always, as himself. Christ does not cease to clear away the stains and wrinkles of every kind from the human face. Moving and very beautiful to see is this radiation of God’s power and tenderness which is transmitted from couple to couple, family to family (May 6, 2015).

61. Children, indeed, must grow without becoming discouraged, step by step. If you parents say to your children: “Let’s climb this ladder” and you take them by the hand and, step by step, help them climb, things will go well. But if you say: “Go up!” — “But I can’t” — “Go!”, this is called provoking your children, asking them to do things they don’t have the ability to do. That is why the relationship between parents and children must be one of wisdom, of a great balance. Children, obey your parents, this pleases God. And you parents, don’t provoke your children by asking of them things they can’t do. And this needs to be done so that children can grow up to be responsible for themselves and for others (May 20, 2015).

62. It is hard for parents to raise their children well if they only see them in the evening, when they come home tired from work. – Well, those who are fortunate enough to have a job! It is even more difficult for parents who are separated, who are weighed down by their condition: poor things, they had real hardships, they separated, and frequently the child is taken hostage and the father speaks ill of the mother, and the mother speaks ill of the father, and so much harm is done. But I say to separated parents: never, never, never take your child hostage! (May 20, 2015).

63. You separated because of many difficulties and reasons, life has given you this trial, but the children should not be the ones to carry the weight of this separation, they should not be used as hostages against the other spouse, they should grow up hearing their mother speak well of their father, even though they are not together, and the father speak well of their mother. For separated parents this is very important and very difficult, but they can do it (May 20, 2015).

64. Life has become stingy about time: there is no time for talking, reflecting and facing oneself. Many parents are “kidnapped” by their jobs and other worries, they are uncomfortable with the new needs of their children and with the complexity of modern life, and they feel paralyzed by the fear of making a mistake. The problem, however, is not just about talking. (…) Let’s ask ourselves instead: do we seek to understand where our children really are in their journey? Where is their soul, do we really know? And above all: do we want to know? Are we convinced that that is what they are really hoping for? (May 20, 2015).

65. Even in the best families, people have to put up with each other, and it takes a lot of patience to put up with one another! But that’s what life is about. Life is not designed in a laboratory, but in reality. Jesus himself experienced a family upbringing (May 20, 2015).

66. A good family upbringing is the backbone of humanity. Its radiance in society is the source that allows us to fill in the gaps, wounds and voids in parenthood that affect less fortunate children. This radiance can work real miracles. And in the Church these miracles happen every day! (May 20, 2015).

67. It is time for fathers and mothers to return from their exile – for they have exiled themselves from their children’s upbringing – and to fully resume their educational role. We hope that the Lord will give parents this grace: not to exile themselves from raising their children. And this can only be done with love, tenderness and patience (May 20, 2015).

68. Engagement strengthens the determination to care for something together that must never be bought or sold, betrayed or abandoned, however tempting the offer may be (May 27, 2015).

69. Those who claim to want everything right away, afterwards back out of everything – right away – at the first difficulty (or at the first opportunity). There is no hope for the trust and fidelity entailed in the gift of self, if they give in to the tendency to consume love like some kind of “supplement” for mental and physical well-being (May 27, 2015).

70. Engagement needs to be re-evaluated as a time of getting to know one another and sharing a plan. (…) And also by focusing on the essentials: the Bible, consciously rediscovering it together; prayer, in its liturgical dimension, but also “domestic prayer” at home; the Sacraments, sacramental life, Confession, … where the Lord comes to abide in the engaged couple and prepare them truly to receive one another “with the grace of Christ”; and fraternity towards the poor and those in need, who lead us to live soberly and to share. Engaged couples who commit themselves to this path both grow, and all of this leads to preparing for a beautiful celebration of Marriage, in a different way, not in a worldly way, but in a Christian way! (May 27, 2015).

71. Engagement is a path of life that has to ripen like fruit; it is a way of maturing in love, until the moment it becomes marriage. (…) May every engaged couple think of this, and say to one another: “I will make you my bride, I will make you my bridegroom”. Wait for that moment. It is a moment, it is a path that leads slowly ahead, but it is a path of maturation. The steps of the journey should not be rushed. This is how we mature, step by step (May 27, 2015).


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72. As Christians we should kneel down before these families, who are a true school of humanity in saving society from barbarity. (…) We Christians have to be ever closer to the families whom poverty puts to the test. All of you know someone: a father without work, a mother without work … and this makes the family suffer, the bonds are weakened. (…) Let’s do all we can to help families to go forward in the trial of poverty and destitution which strikes at attachments and family bonds (June 3, 2015).

73. We should never stop praying for the sick. In fact, we should pray still more, both personally and as a community. (…) We should help the sick, not getting involved in gossip, but always helping, comforting, relieving, and being close to the sick; this is our task (June 10, 2015).

74. How important it is to teach children, starting from childhood, about solidarity in times of illness! The sort of education which bypasses sensitivity for human illness, withers the heart. It leads young people to be “anaesthetized” against the suffering of others, incapable of facing suffering (…). How often do we see someone arrive at work looking weary, and when we ask them “What’s up?”, they answer: “I only slept for two hours because we are taking it in turns at home to care for our boy, our girl, who is sick, our grandfather, our grandmother.” And then they have their normal working day. These are heroic deeds, they show the heroism of families! The hidden heroism, carried out with tenderness and courage when someone at home is sick (June 10, 2015).

75. Every time a family in mourning – even in terrible mourning – finds the strength to keep alive the faith and love that unite us to those we love, that faith has already prevented death from taking everything. The darkness of death should be confronted with a more intense work of love. “My God, lighten my darkness!” is the invocation of the evening prayer (June 17, 2015).

76. In the light of the Resurrection of the Lord, who abandons none of those whom the Father entrusted to him, we can take the “sting” out of death, as the Apostle Paul says (1 Cor 15:55); we can prevent it from poisoning our lives, from emptying our love (June 17, 2015).

77. Love is stronger than death. Thus, the way forward is to let love grow, make it stronger, and love will keep us until the day when every tear shall be wiped away, when “death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more” (Rev 21:4). If we allow ourselves to be sustained by this faith, the experience of grief can generate even stronger family bonds, a new openness to the pain of other families, a new brotherhood, with families that are born and reborn in hope (June 17, 2015).

78. In the family, everything is connected: when the family’s soul is wounded in some way, the infection spreads to everyone. And when a man and a woman, who have committed themselves to being “one flesh” and forming a family, start to think obsessively of their own need for freedom and gratification, this deviation affects their children’s hearts and lives profoundly. Frequently the children hide to cry alone…. We need to understand this fully. Husband and wife are one flesh. And their own children are flesh of their flesh (June 24, 2015).

79. It is important that the style of the community, its language, its attitudes, should always be attentive to people, starting with the little ones. They are the ones who suffer the most in these situations [of family break-ups]. (…) It is important for them to feel the Church as loving mother to all, always ready to listen and to meet. (…) Hence the repeated invitations on the part of the Pastors, for the community to receive them, welcome them, and encourage them to advance progressively in their adherence to Christ and the Church through prayer, listening to the Word of God, attendance at the liturgy, bringing up their children in the Christian faith, charity, service to the poor, and commitment to justice and peace (August 5, 2015).

80. Christian families can cooperate with Christ by taking care of wounded families, accompanying them in the life of faith of the community. Each must play their part in adopting the attitude of the Good Shepherd, who knows each of his sheep and excludes no one from his infinitive love! (August 5, 2015).

81. A holiday does not mean lazily lounging in an armchair, or the euphoria of a foolish escape. No, a holiday is first and foremost a loving and grateful look at work well done; we celebrate work. (…) It is a time to look at your children, or grandchildren, who are growing up, and to think: how beautiful! It’s a time to look at our home, the friends we host, the community that surrounds us, and to think: how good this is! (August 12, 2015).

82. It’s important to take a holiday. This is family time that frees us from the machinery of production: it does us so much good! (August 12, 2015).

83. You mothers and fathers really understand this: how often, for love of your children, you are able to swallow your sorrows so as to let them enjoy their holiday, to savour the good taste of life! There is so much love in doing that! (August 12, 2015).

84. A true holiday brings a pause from work, and it is sacred, because it reminds men and women that we are made in the image of God, who is not a slave of work, but its Lord, and thus we too must never be slaves to work, but its “lords” (August 12, 2015).

85. The time for rest, and especially Sunday rest, is designed for us, so that we can enjoy what is not produced and consumed, not bought or sold. But instead, we see that the ideology of profit and consumerism even wants to devour the holiday: that too is sometimes reduced to a “business”, to a way of making and spending money (August 12, 2015).

86. The family is endowed with an extraordinary ability to understand, guide and sustain the authentic value of holiday time. How beautiful family holidays are! The Sunday celebrations in particular. It is no coincidence that celebrations which include the whole family are those that turn out the best! (August 12, 2015).

87. Holidays and celebrations are a precious gift from God; a precious gift that God gave to the human family: let’s not spoil it! (August 12, 2015).

88. The family teaches work through the example set by the parents: father and mother, working for the good of the family and of society (August 19, 2015).


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89. Work is sacred, work gives dignity to a family. We have to pray that no family is left without work (August 19, 2015).

90. A heart where God’s love dwells makes a prayer out of an unspoken thought, or an invocation before a holy picture or statue, or a kiss blown towards a church. It’s beautiful when mothers teach their small children to blow kisses to Jesus or to Our Lady. How much tenderness there is in this custom! At that moment the child’s heart becomes a place of prayer. And it is a gift from the Holy Spirit (August 26, 2015).

91. Someone who has a family soon learns to solve an equation that not even the best mathematicians can solve: they make 24 hours worth twice as many! There are mothers and fathers who could win the Nobel Prize for this. Out of 24 hours they make 48: I don’t know how they do it, but they get going and do it! There is so much work in a family! (August 26, 2015).

92. The spirit of prayer gives time back to God, it steps away from the obsession of a life that is always lacking time, it rediscovers the peace of necessary things, and discovers the joy of unexpected gifts. (…) Mother, father, teach your child to pray, to make the Sign of the Cross: this is a lovely task for mothers and fathers! (August 26, 2015).

93. Don’t forget to read a passage of the Gospel every day. Prayer flows from closeness to 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 saying the Rosary? The Gospel read and meditated on as a family is like good bread that nourishes everyone’s heart (August 26, 2015).

94. In the morning and in the evening, and when we sit down for a meal, let’s learn to say a prayer together, with great simplicity: it is Jesus who comes among us, as he came among the family of Martha, Mary and Lazarus (August 26, 2015).

95. Just one smile miraculously drawn from the desperation of an abandoned child, who is beginning to live again, explains God’s action in the world better than a thousand theological treatises. One man and one woman who are capable of risking and sacrificing themselves for another’s child and not just for their own, explain something about love that many scientists can never understand. And wherever there are such signs of family affection, the heart brings forth deeds that are more eloquent than any words (September 2, 2015).

96. Imagine if the helm of history (of society, of the economy, of politics) were entrusted – finally! – to the covenant of man and woman, for them to guide it with their eyes on future generations. The themes of the earth and the home, the economy and work, would play a very different tune! (September 2, 2015).

97. The lack of love, the lack of smiling, has turned our cities into deserts. So much entertainment, so many ways of wasting time, of producing laughter: but love is lacking. The smile of a family can overcome this desertification of our cities. This is the victory of family love. No economic and political engineering can replace the contribution made by families (September 2, 2015).

98. The Spirit of God makes the desert fruitful (cf. Is 32:15). We must come out of the towers and from the armoured vaults of the elite, to again spend time in the homes and open spaces of the multitudes, open to the love of families (September 2, 2015).

99. God has entrusted to the family (…) the exciting project of making the world “domestic”. At the beginning there was the family, at the root of this world culture that saves us; saves us from many, many attacks, from so much destruction, from so many “colonizations”, like that of money or of the ideologies that threaten so much of the world. The family is the basis of our defense! (September 16, 2015).

100. At Cana, there was the Mother of Jesus, the “mother of good counsel”. Let us listen to her words: “Do whatever he tells you” (cf. Jn 2:5). Dear families, dear parish communities, let us allow ourselves to be inspired by this Mother, let us do whatever Jesus tells us and we will find the source of all miracles, of every day miracles! (September 9, 2015).


By Marco Ventura, Rome

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