Pope Francis: When families teach forgiveness, they strengthen society

Pope Francis: When families teach forgiveness, they strengthen society

Published on Nov 4, 2015

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During his general audience, Pope Francis encouraged families to confront the root of many of their problems: an unwillingness to forgive. He warned that conflicts will always arise, but it’s also possible to forgive them.

Pope’s General Audience focuses on family and forgiveness

Published on Nov 4, 2015

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Pope Francis focused the catechesis of his weekly general audience on how families can teach forgiveness. He said the family is the first place where people learn the virtue.

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Vatican City, (ZENIT.org) Deborah Castellano Lubov

Pope Francis says the family is a great gym where one trains in mutual giving and forgiveness.

During today’s General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope said he wanted to underline this point as he reflected on the importance of the family as the place where we learn the value of forgiveness. He reminded those gathered that each day, in the words of the Our Father, we ask God to forgive us and to grant us the grace to forgive others.

The Holy Father began his address recalling the recent Synod of Bishops, which reflected on the vocation and mission of the family, calling it a moment of grace. He noted it was not the time to examine its conclusions, saying all of us, himself included, need time to meditate on them. But he said he did want to underline how the synod revived hope in the family’s vocation to mutual forgiveness and giving of self.

Speaking on the family as a “gym,” the Pope explained, “Without giving of oneself and without pardoning, love does not  remain, it does not last!”

The Holy Father went on to recall how the Our Father speaks about forgiving trespasses, and then stated: “One cannot live without pardoning, or at least one cannot live well, especially in the family,” he said.

Can’t end day at war

Because we have egos and are fragile, sometimes we make mistakes, the Pope admitted. However, he stressed, we therefore are required to heal these wounds and not wait too long to do so.

Before the day is over, he exhorted, peace must be made between husband and wife, between parents and children, and also with in-laws. When we learn to apologize, the wounds are healed, the marriage is strengthened, and the family becomes more solid.

Francis also mentioned that a long speech is not required to express this apology, but even a caress can start things over. The important thing, the Pope stressed is, “Do not end the day at war! Understand?!”

As difficult as forgiveness may be, the Holy Father pointed out, it is essential for our personal growth, our capacity to acknowledge our failures and to mend broken relationships.  He noted we first learn the virtue of forgiveness in the family.

Christian families help society

“Practicing forgiveness not only saves families from division,” the Pope said, “but enables them to help society be less bad and less cruel.”

The Holy Father underscored that forgiveness strengthens families in love and suggested that this virtue is “a solid rock” on which to build our lives and an eloquent sign of our Christian discipleship and obedience to the Father’s will.

Pope Francis concluded his remarks praying that the upcoming Jubilee Year of Mercy, Dec. 8 – Nov. 20, 2016, encourages families everywhere to rediscover the power of forgiveness, and enables the Church, as a great family, to proclaim the power of God’s reconciling love at work in our world.

FULL TEXT: On Giving and Receiving Forgiveness in the Family

“We cannot live without forgiving one another, or at least we cannot live well, especially in the family. Every day we wrong one another. … What we are asked, however, is to heal immediately the wounds we cause, to reweave the threads that we break in the family”

Rome, (ZENIT.org) Staff Reporter

Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave at this morning’s general audience in Saint Peter’s Square.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

The Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which ended a short while ago, reflected in depth on the vocation and mission of the family in the life of the Church and of contemporary society. It was an event of grace. At the end the Synodal Fathers gave me the text of their conclusions. I wanted this text to be published so that all would be participants in the work that has seen us committed together for two years. This is not the moment to examine those conclusions, on which I myself must meditate.

In the meantime, however, life does not stop, in particular the life of families does not stop! You, dear families, are always moving forward. And you already write continually, in the pages of concrete life, the beauty of the Gospel of the Family. In a world that at times becomes arid of life and love, you speak every day of the great gifts that marriage and the family are.

Today I would like to stress this aspect: that the family is a great training ground of gift and of mutual forgiveness, without which no love can last for long; without giving oneself and without forgiving one another love does not remain, it does not last! In the prayer that Jesus himself taught us – namely the Our Father – He has us ask the Father: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” And at the end He comments: “”For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:12.14-15). We cannot live without forgiving one another, or at least we cannot live well, especially in the family. Every day we wrong one another. We must take these mistakes into account, which are due to our fragility and our egoism.

What we are asked, however, is to heal immediately the wounds we cause, to reweave the threads that we break in the family. If we wait too long, everything becomes more difficult. And there is a simple secret to heal the wounds and to break off the accusations: not to let the day end without apologizing to one another, without making peace between husband and wife, between parents and children, between brothers and sisters … between daughter-in-law and mother-in-law! If we learn to apologize immediately and to forgive one another, the wounds heal, the marriage is strengthened, and the family becomes an ever more solid home, which resist the knocks of our little and great spiteful acts. And for this, a great speech is not necessary; a caress is enough and everything begins again. But do not end the day in war!

If we learn to live thus in the family, we do so also outside, wherever we find ourselves. It is easy to be skeptical about this. Many – also among Christians – think that it is an exaggeration. It is said: yes, they are beautiful words, but it’s impossible to put them into practice. However, thank God, this isn’t so. In fact, it is precisely by receiving forgiveness from God that we are capable, in turn, to forgive others. Therefore Jesus has us repeat these words every time that we recite the prayer of the Our Father, namely every day. And it is indispensable that, in a society that is sometimes merciless, there are places, such as the family, where we can learn to forgive one another.

The Synod revived our hope also on this: the capacity to forgive and to forgive one another is part of the vocation and mission of the family. The practice of forgiveness not only saves families from division, but renders them capable of helping society to be less evil and less cruel. Yes, every gesture of forgiveness repairs the cracks of the home and consolidates its walls. Dear families, the Church is always by your side to help you to build your home on the rock of which Jesus spoke. And let us not forget these words that precede immediately the parable of the house: “Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of my Father.” And he adds: “On that day many will say to me , ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you’” (cf. Matthew 7:21-23).  It is a strong statement, no doubt, which has the purpose to shake us and to call us to conversion.

I assure you, dear families, that if you are capable of walking ever more decisively on the way of the Beatitudes, learning and teaching to forgive one another mutually, the capacity will grow, in the whole great family of the Church, to give witness of the renewing strength of God’s forgiveness. Otherwise, we might engage in very beautiful preaching, and perhaps even cast out a devil, but at the end the Lord will not recognize us as his disciples because we did not have the capacity to forgive and to be forgiven by others!

Truly Christian families can do much for today’s society, and also for the Church. Therefore I desire that, in the Jubilee of Mercy, families rediscover the treasure of mutual forgiveness. Let us pray that families will are increasingly capable of living and building concrete ways of reconciliation, where no one feels abandoned to the weight of his debts.

With this intention, we say together: “Our Father, forgive us our trespasses, as we also forgive those who trespass against us.”

[Original text: Italian]

[Translation by ZENIT]

[Greeting in English:]

Dear Brothers and Sisters: Following the recent Assembly of the Synod of Bishops which reflected on the vocation and mission of the family, today we reflect on the importance of the family as the place where we learn the value of forgiveness. Each day, in the words of the Our Father , we ask God to forgive us and to grant us the grace to forgive others. As difficult as forgiveness may be, it is essential for our personal growth, our capacity to acknowledge our failures and to mend broken relationships. It is a virtue we learn first in the family. Forgiveness strengthens families in love and, through them, makes society as a whole more loving and humane. It is a solid rock on which to build our lives and an eloquent sign of our Christian discipleship and obedience to the Father’s will. May the coming Jubilee of Mercy encourage families everywhere to rediscover the power of forgiveness, and enable the great family of the Church to proclaim the power of God’s reconciling love at work in our world.

Speaker:

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, including those from England, Norway, Sweden, Japan, Korea and the United States of America. Upon you and your families I invoke the Lord’s blessings of joy and peace. God bless you all!

[Greeting in Italian:]

I give a cordial welcome to the Italian-speaking pilgrims. I greet the Sisters Oblates of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Sisters of Saint Dorothy, on the occasion of their respective General Chapters, the Sielistes Group of Brothers of the Christian and La Salle schools.

I greet the group of the Apostolic Vicariate of Anatolia, the “Friends Together” Association and the Pleasant and Friendship Foundation. I invite all to pray for the deceased in this month of November, and may your pilgrimage to the Apostolic See reinforce your sense of belonging to the one ecclesial family.

A thought goes to young people, the sick and newlyweds. Yesterday we celebrated the Memoria of Saint Martin of Porres. May his great charity be an example to you, dear young people, to live life as a gift; may his abandonment in Christ the Savior support you, dear sick, in the most difficult moment of suffering; and may his spiritual vigor strengthen you, dear newlyweds, in your conjugal journey.

[Original text: Italian]

[Translation by ZENIT]

Here-under are some articles about family and marriage for you to read or watch: 

  1. Getting to know you, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=284
  2. Be Positive, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=288
  3. Love and Marriage, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=292
  4. Endless Love – Marriage after all, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=294
  5. Say it with love, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=298
  6. Quality family moments, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=300
  7. Secret of successful marriage, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=302
  8. The vocation of marriage, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=1968
  9. Marriage as Covenant, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=1974
  10. Humility: Foundation for Marital Happiness, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=1986
  11. Gratitude: Foundation for marriage, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=1980
  12. True Meaning of marriage, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=1972
  13. Marriage and incompatibility, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=2112
  14. Love is a garden, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=2116
  15. Three kinds of love, please click this link: http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/?p=2095

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