.- Update: 6:20 pm EST - Below is the full text of Pope Francis' prepared remarks for the meeting with families in the “Víctor Manuel Reyna” stadium in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Mexico on Feb. 15, 2016:
Update: 7:50 pm EST - The Pope's few unscripted remarks have been added to the prepared remarks that he delivered.
Dear brothers and sisters,
I am grateful to be here, on Chiapaneca soil. It feels good to be here on this soil, on this land; it is good to be here in this place which, with you here, has a family flavour, a home flavour. I give thanks to God for your faces and your presence; I give thanks to God because of the heart-beat of his presence in your families. With you it has the flavor of family. I also thank you, families and friends, for giving us your witness, for opening to us the doors of your homes and your lives; you have allowed us to sit with you sharing both in the bread that nourishes you and in the sweat of your brow as you face the difficulties of every day. It is the bread representing the joys, the hopes and the hard sweat with which you confront sadness, disillusion and failings. I thank you for allowing me to enter into your families, your homes, and to sit at your tables.
Manual, before thanking you for your testimony I want to thank your parents, both of them, on their knees before you assuming their role. Can you see what the importance of this image? Parents, on their knees, before their son who is sick. Let us never forget this image. From time to time, when they argue about something – what husband and wife do not argue, and more so when the mother in law gets involved, what matters is that they love each other and they have demonstrated that they love each other and are capable of love from being on their knees, in front of their sick child. Thank you friends for this testimony that you have given and continue forward.
Manuel, I thank you for your witness and especially for your example. I liked the expression you used “to put your heart into it” [echarle ganas] 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 for the family, dreaming and building a life that has this sense of home, of family. Can we encourage them? This is something which God the Father has always dreamt of and for which he has fought for a very long time. 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. Similarly, all of us here have had this experience, in different moments and different ways; God the Father has put his heart into it for us. We can ask ourselves: why? Because he cannot do otherwise. Our God the Father does not know how to do anything else except encourage us and love us. 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. This he has shown us with complete power and clarity in Jesus, his Son, who risked everything to the end so as to once again make possible the Kingdom of God. A Kingdom that invites us to share in a new mindset, that puts into motion a dynamic power capable of opening the heavens, capable of opening our hearts, our minds, our hands and capable of challenging us with new possibilities. This is a Kingdom which has the feeling of family, the flavour of a life shared. In Jesus and with Jesus this Kingdom is possible. He is capable of changing our perspectives, attitudes, and feelings, which are often watery and dull, into the wine of joy and celebration. He can heal our hearts and invite us again and again, seventy times seven, to begin anew. He can make all things new. Manuel, you asked me to pray for the many adolescents who are disillusioned and on a wrong path, many who are deflated, tired and without aspirations. And as you yourself rightly said, this attitude often comes from a feeling of loneliness, from not having someone to talk to. Think about it fathers, think about it mothers. Do you talk to your sons and daughters or are you always busy and in a hurry? Do you play with you sons and daughters? And this reminds me of the witness which Beatrice gave us. If I am not mistaken Beatrice, you said: “the struggle has always been difficult because of uncertainty and loneliness”. How many times did you feel pointed out or judged? Think in all the people, all the women that have experienced what happened to Beatriz.. Uncertainty, insufficiency, and often not having the bare essentials, can lead to despair, can make us deeply anxious because we cannot see a way forward, especially when we have children in our care. Uncertainty is not only a threat to our stomach (which is already serious), but it can also threaten our soul, demoralizing us and taking away our energy so that we seek apparent solutions that in the end solve nothing. And you were courageous Beatriz! Thank you!There is a kind of uncertainty which can be very dangerous, which can creep in surreptitiously; it is the uncertainty born of solitude and isolation.
And isolation is always a bad counsellor. Manuel and Beatriz, unknowingly, used the same expression; both showed us that very often the greatest temptation we face is to cut ourselves off, and far from putting our heart into things, this attitude of isolation ends up, like a moth, drying up our souls. The way to overcome the uncertainty and isolation which makes us vulnerable to so many apparent solutions, can be found on different levels. One is through legislation which protects and guarantees the bare necessities of life so that every home and every person can develop through education and dignified employment. There is, on the other hand, what the witness of Humberto and Claudia made evident when they explained how they tried to convey to others the love of God that they experienced through service and generous giving. Laws and personal commitment make good duo that can break the spiral of uncertainty. You kept moving forward, you prayed, and you are with Jesus, and you are involved in the life of the Church. You used a beautiful expression: we comulgate with the weak one, the sick, the imprisoned. Thank you, thank you. Today we see how on different fronts the family is weakened and questioned. It is regarded as a model which has done its time, but which has no place in our societies; these, claiming to be modern, increasingly favor a model based on isolation. And in our societies in is being injected…they are called free societies, democratic, sovereign, and they are injecting destructive ideologies into the family, into the nucleus of the family which is the foundation of a healthy society. It is true that living in family is not always easy, and can often be painful and stressful but, as I have often said referring to the Church, I prefer a wounded family that makes daily efforts to put love into play, to a society that is sick from isolationism and habitual afraid of love. I prefer a family that makes repeated efforts to begin again, to a society that is narcissistic and obsessed with luxury and comfort.
How many children do you have? No, no we do not have any children because, you know, we like to go on vacation, see the sites, I want to by myself a second home…luxury and comfort and children are left out and when they want to have a child, the time has already passed. What damage this does! I prefer a family with a tired face because of their dedication to the family with faces done up than those that have not known love and compassion.
I prefer a man and a woman, with wrinkly faces because of the fights of everyday life that after 50 years they continue to love each other and there you have them and the son that learned the lesson, and has now been married for 25 years. Those are the families, when I asked Aniceto and his wife who had more patience during those more than 50 years, they said both. Because in the family, to be able to accomplish what they have done, you have to have patience, love and know how to forgive one another.
But Father, a perfect family never argues. That’s a lie. It is ok from time to time to argue and let a plate fly overhead, that’s ok. Do not be afraid of that. The only advice that I can give is to not allow a day to end without asking for forgiveness because if the day ends in war, you will wake up to a cold war and a cold war is very dangerous for a family because it is undermining from below. Wrinkles from matrimonial fidelity. Thank you for the your testimony of more than 50 years, thank you. And speaking about wrinkles – to change the subject – I remember the testimony of a great actress, a movie star, a Latina. When she was already 60 something, she began to have some wrinkles on her face and they told her that she should get a little work done to be able to continue to work. Her answer was very clear: these wrinkles costed me a lot of work! A lot of effort! A lot of pain and a full life! No way do I want to touch them, they are the footprints of my history. She continued to be a great actress!
In marriage, the same thing happens. Marriage has to renew itself every day. Like I said, I prefer families with wrinkles and wounds, with scars but that keeps moving forward. Because these wounds, these scars, these wrinkles are the fruits of fidelity, of a love that is not always easy. Love is not always easy, no, but it is the most beautiful that a man and a woman can have, true love, for life.
I have been asked to pray for you and I want to start right now, with you. You dear Mexicans have something special, you have an advantage. You have the Mother: the Guadalupana wanted to visit these lands, that gives us a certainty of having her intercession so that this dream called a family is not lost in insecurity and loneliness. She is Our Mother and is always available to defend our families and to defend our future. She is always available to strengthen our hearts and give us to her Son. Because of this, I invite you to take her hand and say to her: Hail Mary Full of Grace…
Let us not forget about Saint Joseph, a little quiet, a worker who was always in front, always caring for the family. Thank you. May God bless you and in this familiar celebration, let the marriages present, in silence, renew their matrimonial vows and the engaged ask for the grace of a faithful family, full of love.
I prefer a family with tired faces from generous giving, to faces with makeup that know nothing of tenderness and compassion. I have been asked to pray for you and I want to do so now, with you. You Mexicans have something extra; you run ahead with an advantage. You have a Mother, la Guadalupana.
She wanted to visit this land and this gives us the certainty of her intercession so that our dream, which we call the family, may not be lost through uncertainty or solitude. She is always ready to defend our families, our future; she is always ready to put her heart into it by giving us her Son. For this reason, I invite you to join our hands and say together: “Hail Mary…”.