The Holy Father sent a message to Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, archbishop of Madrid, Spain, for the Feast of the Holy Family. The message, dated 27 December, was read out at the beginning of a Mass for families celebrated by Cardinal Rouco Varela in Madrid’s Plaza de Colon.
“I invite everyone to consider this celebration as a continuation of Christmas”, the Pope writes. “Jesus became man in order to bring the world the goodness and love of God, and He did so in that place where human beings are most disposed to want the best for others, ready to do anything for them and to place love above all other interests. … The family is, so to speak, the door by which the Savior of humankind entered the world. At the same time it gives domestic love and communion the greatness of being a special reflection of the Trinitarian mystery of God.
“This greatness is also a splendid and decisive vocation for families”, the Holy Father adds. “I encourage you … to be aware that God is at your side and to invoke Him always so as to ensure He gives you the help you need to overcome your difficulties; this help is certain and has its foundation in the grace of the Sacrament of Marriage. Allow yourselves to be guided by the Church, which Christ entrusted with the mission of spreading the good news of salvation down the centuries, and do not surrender to the many worldly powers threatening the great treasure of the family, which you must protect day after day”.
“It is in the family that we learn to live together, that faith is transmitted, values are strengthened and freedom is channeled to ensure that one day children will be fully aware of their own vocation and dignity, and that of others. The warmth of the home and domestic example can teach much more than words can say. This educational dimension of the family may receive particular encouragement in the Year of Faith, due to begin in a few months time. For this reason, I invite you to revitalize the faith in your homes and to become increasingly aware of the Creed we profess”.
“I pray to God … that (young people) may not cease to thank Him for the gift of the family, that they may be grateful to their parents and undertake to defend and promote the authentic dignity of this institution, so vital for society and the Church”.