Today the Pope received members of the New Families Movement, established forty years ago, who were participating in a gathering focused on "A House Built upon Rock: The Lived Gospel, an Answer to the Problems of Today's Family".
While highlighting that the movement forms a network of 800,000 families in 182 nations across five continents, the Holy Father recalled that its pastoral work is an outgrowth of "four pillars: spirituality, education, a social nature, and solidarity".
"Your commitment of silent and profound evangelization gives witness that only familial unity, a gift of the God who is Love, makes the family a true abode for love, a house that welcomes life and a school of Christian values for its children," he said.
The Pope also asked that, owing to their commitment, "pastoral strategies might be found that respond to the growing needs of today's family and the multiple challenges it has to face so that its particular mission in the Church and in society might not be lessened".
"According to the divine plan," he continued, "the family is a sacred and sanctifying place and the Church, always close to it, sustains it in its mission, above all today because there are many perils that threaten it from within and without. Divine assistance is needed that it not give in to discouragement and so every Christian family should look with confidence to the Holy Family, the original 'domestic Church'."
The Holy Father expressed to the families the certainty that "the humble and holy Family of Nazareth, the icon and model of every human family, will not cease in sustaining you from heaven. It is indispensable, however," he concluded, "that you have constant recourse to prayer, to listen to the Word of God, and to an intense sacramental life together with the effort to always live Christ's commandment of love and forgiveness. Love does not seek its own interest, does not brood over injury, but rejoices with the truth."