During his traditional radio address on the feast of Our Lady of Charity, Patroness of Cuba, Bishop Emilio Aranguren of Cienfuegos asked Cubans to live out the virtue of charity beginning with their own families.
In one of the few opportunities the Church has to access the media, Bishop Aranguren recalled that this year the Cuban bishops have proposed “reinvigorating family life through the values of the Gospel, declaring 2004 as the ‘Year of the Family’.”
“Our Lady of Charity, as Mother not only of the family at Nazareth, but also of the disciples of her Son and therefore of our families, as any good mother, would want to see her children united in harmony, helping each other in their needs, respecting each other’s differences, living in peace in order to benefit from a world and a society that are ever more fraternal and enhanced,” he said.
According to the bishop, the homage the “Mother of all Cubans” expects from her children goes beyond the flowers and the candles. “Surely she would be more pleased if, together with that exterior homage of our love, we were to take more seriously the attention we give to our families, which is the best investment in life,” he added.
Bishop Aranguren proposed some concrete steps for all Cubans to live out the virtue of charity, such as helping those who are alone or estranged, letting go of resentments towards parents or family members, “and not counting wrongs. This is not only good and beneficial for the growth of the person who receives it, but also of the one who gives it.”
Bishop Aranguren also said “work and television often rob us of precious time away from our families,” a complaint made particularly by young people.
“Perhaps the older members of the family or those who are sick need a word of encouragement, a short visit that helps mitigate loneliness or pain, a smile or a small gesture that manifests the tenderness of God,” he said.
The bishop also asked those who are ill to offer their “personal and very silent suffering for the living out of Christian values in their family members: children, grandchildren and others. Offering up in silence bears abundant and unexpected fruit.”
Bishop Aranguren recalled that “Our Lady of Charity is the mother of all Cuban families because she also has helped our people in many ways,” a fact forever etched in the memory of countless Cubans throughout the years.