Over the next couple of days, I’d like to share with you what stood out most for me during Pope Francis’ visit to Mexico. First
it was his focus on young people and the challenges they face. Next
it had to do with how we respond to challenges that we all face in the light of sin. Today let’s look at what Pope Francis had to say to Marriages and Families.
As in every apostolic visit, Pope Francis continually invited us to defend and protect the family. This time, he even alluded to the fact that this is the way to solve many of Mexico’s problems. To Bishops he said,
“Only by starting with families, by drawing close and embracing the fringes of human existence in the ravaged areas of our cities and by seeking the involvement of parish communities, schools, community institutions, political communities and institutions responsible for security, will people finally escape the raging waters that drown so many, either victims of the drug trade or those who stand before God with their hands drenched in blood, though with pockets filled with sordid money and their consciences deadened.” (Address to Mexican Bishops at Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption, Mexico City, 13 February 2016)
He told families in Chiapas that a perfect family does not exist, but,
“I prefer a wounded family that makes daily efforts to put love into play, to a [family or] society that is sick from isolationism and habitually afraid of love. I prefer a family that makes repeated efforts to begin again, to a [family or] society that is narcissistic and obsessed with luxury and comfort. I prefer a family with tired faces from generous giving, to faces with makeup that know nothing of tenderness and compassion.”
“I prefer wrinkled families, with wounds, with scars, but that continue going forward because these wounds, these scars, these wrinkles are the fruit of fidelity in a love that was not always easy. Love isn’t easy. It isn’t easy. No. But the most beautiful thing that a man and a woman can give each other is true love, for a lifetime.” (Address during Meeting with Families in Chiapas, Feb. 15, 2016)
Put Your Heart Into It
A 14-year-old boy, Manuel with Muscular Dystrophy spoke at the Meeting with Families and used an expression, “echarle ganas” which is translated as “put your heart into it.” Pope Francis loved that. He said,
“I liked the expression you used ‘to put your heart into it’ describing the attitude you took after speaking with your parents. You began to put your heart into your life, your family, your friends; you put your heart into us gathered here. I believe that this is what the Holy Spirit always wants to do in our midst: to put a new heart into us, giving us reasons to keep on taking risks as a family, dreaming and building a life that has this sense of home, of family.”
“When everything seemed lost that afternoon in the Garden of Eden, God the Father put a new heart into that young couple and told them that everything was not lost. When the people of Israel felt that they could not go on journeying through the desert, God the Father put his heart into it by giving them manna from heaven. When the fullness of time came, God the Father put his heart into it by giving humanity the eternal gift of his Son.” (Address during Meeting with Families in Chiapas, Feb. 15, 2016)
This message of hope was perhaps most clear when he spoke to inmates at a prison in Ciudad Juarez: “Someone said: ‘Don’t ask why you are here, but ‘for what purpose.’ And this ‘for what purpose’ must carry us forward, this ‘for what purpose’ must help us jump over the hurdle of this social ploy which believes that safety and order is only achieved by incarcerating people.”
(Address at Juarez Prison, Feb. 17, 2016)
He continued: “You have known the power of sorrow and sin, and have not forgotten that within your reach is the power of the resurrection, the power of divine mercy which makes all things new.
” (Address at Juarez Prison, Feb. 17, 2016)
Later on that day at Mass he said,
“To weep over injustice, to cry over corruption, to cry over oppression. These are tears that lead to transformation, that soften the heart; they are the tears that purify our gaze and enable us to see the cycle of sin into which very often we have sunk.” (Homily During Mass at Fair Grounds in Juarez, Feb. 17, 2016)
At the meeting with families he added,
“God the Father has put his heart into it for us. We can ask ourselves: why? Because he cannot do otherwise. God, our Father does not know how to do anything other than love us, put his heart into things and carry us forward. He doesn’t know how to do any other thing. He knows how to put his best into us; why? Because his name is love, his name is gift, his name is self-giving, his name is mercy.” (Address during Meeting with Families in Chiapas, Feb. 15, 2016)
This is the hope that I was left with after every single Mexico event. Come back tomorrow
to see how Pope Francis was indeed a missionary of mercy during this visit.
photo credit: Pope Francis accepts a crucifix from a prisoner as he visits Cereso prison in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Feb. 17. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Every week, Deacon Pedro takes a particular topic apart, not so much to explore or explain the subject to its fullness, but rather to provide insights that will deepen our understanding of the subject. And don’t worry, at the end of the day he always puts the pieces back together. There are no limits to deaconstructing: Write to him and ask any questions about the faith or Church teaching:firstname.lastname@example.org