On September 26th, 2015, Pope Francis attended the Festival of Families in Philadephia, Pennsylvania, a major event that is part of the World Meeting of Families gathering. During this event, Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, Colombian rock musician Juanes, and many others performed for the pontiff.
Pope Francis’ Impromptu Speech at the Festival of Families
All that is beautiful leads us to God. Because is God is good, God is beautiful, God is true. Thank you all those who have offered their witness. And for the presence of all of you, that is also great witness…a real witness that it’s worth being a family.
[Very emphatic]: Once a child asked me – you know that kids ask difficult questions – he asked me Father, what did God do before creating the world?
I assure you, I found real difficulty in answering the question. So I said what I’m now going to say to you: Before creating the world, God loved. Because God is love.
He had so much love: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It was so overflowing. I don’t think this is very logical, but you will understand – it was so big, this love, he could not be egoistic. It had to be poured out of him. So as to share that love with those out of himself. And then God created the world. God made this marvelous world in which we live.
And because sometimes we are a bit confused, we are destroying it. But the most beautiful thing that God did, says the Bible, was the family.
God made man, and he made woman. And he gave them everything. He gave them the world. So they could multiply and cultivate the land. All that love he made in creation, he bestowed it to them in the family.
Let us go back further. All of the love that God has in himself, all the beauty that he has in himself, he gives it to the family. And the family is really family when it is able to open its arms and receive all that love.
Of course, it’s not quite earthly paradise. There are still problems. Men and women, through the astuteness of the devil, have learned unfortunately how to divide themselves. And all that love that God gave, almost was lost.
In a little period of time – the first crime. The first instance of fratricide. A brother kills another brother. And war. Love, beauty and truth of God [gestures with one hand] and destruction and war [gestures with other hand]. And between those: we walk ahead. It’s up to us to choose. It’s up to us to decide which path we want to take forward.
Let’s go back. When man and his wife made a mistake, God did not abandon them. So great was His love, that He began to walk with humanity, with His people, until the right moment came, and He made the highest expression of love – His own Son. And where did He send his son – to a palace? To a city? No. He sent him to a family. God sent him amid a family. And He could do this, because it was a family that had a truly open heart. The doors of their heart opened.
Mary, she couldn’t believe it. How can this happen? When the angel explained it to her, she agreed. Joseph. He finds himself in a surprising situation that he doesn’t understand, and he accepts. He obeys. In Mary and Joseph, there is a family in which Jesus is born.
God likes to give his love to open hearts. Do you know what he loves most? To knock on the door of families, and find families who love each other, who bring up their children to grow, and help them move forward. To create and develop a society with truth, goodness and beauty.
We are celebrating the Feast of the Family. Families have a citizenship which is divine. The identity card that they have is given to them by God. So that within the heart of the family, truth, goodness and beauty can truly grow.
Some of you might say, “Father, you speak like that because you are single. Families have the difficulties. Families, we quarrel, and sometimes plates can fly. And children bring headaches. I won’t speak about mother-in-laws [laughs].
But in families, there is always light. Because the love of God, the Son of God opened also that path for us. But just as there are problems in families, we have to remember there is the light of the resurrection afterwards. Because the Son of God created that path.
[EMPHATIC]: Forgive me, but I have to say, the family is like a factory of hope. It’s a factory of resurrection. God opened this path, this possibility.
And children, yes they bring their challenges. And we also are the cause of work and worry. Sometimes at home, I see some of my helpers, they come to work and they look tired. They have a one-month-old baby, and I ask them did you sleep? And they say I couldn’t sleep, Holiness, because they were crying all night.
In the family, indeed, there are difficulties. But those difficulties are overcome with love. Hatred is not capable of dealing with any difficulty and overcoming any difficulty. Division of hearts cannot overcome any difficulty. Only love. Only love is able to overcome. Love is about celebration, love is joy, love is moving forward.
I don’t want to speak too much. Because it could be late. But I would like just to offer two points about the family. To take special care of these two points. Some things we really need to take care of: the children, and grandparents. Children, whether young or older, they are the future, the strength that moves us forward. We place our hope in them.
Grandparents are the living memory of the family. They passed on the faith, they transmitted the faith, to us. To look after grandparents, to look after children, is the expression of love. A people that doesn’t know how to look after its children or grandparents is a people that has no future. Because it doesn’t have strength or the memory to go forward.
Family is beautiful but there is effort involved and there are problems. In families there are inimicable relationships. Husbands and wives quarrel, can end up badly, separated. Never let the day end without making peace. In a family, you can’t finish the day off not being in peace.
May God bless you. May God give you hope, the strength to move forward, let us look after the family. Let’s protect the family. Because it’s in the family that our future is at play.
Thank you. God bless you. And please, pray for me.
The Festival of Families is an intercultural celebration of family life around the world that has taken place in different countries over the years. For 2015, it will take place on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The event is expected to draw large numbers due to the pontiff’s attendance and event being open to the public.
The Philadelphia Art Museum and Franklin Institute are planning family-themed exhibits and extending their hours for the week. There is also a family 5K run planned, as well as bus tours of the national Catholic Shrines in the area. In addition, there will be musical and dance acts, and other family entertainment. The goal of the whole week is to build up family life.
- The Morning Call: http://www.mcall.com/news/local/mc-pope-francis-visit-how-to-20141117-story.html#page=1