I couldn’t find the transcription from the beautiful speech Pope Francis gave at the World Meeting of Families tonight, so I typed it up myself from the words spoken in English by the translator. Here it is in its entirety:
Thank you to those who were willing to give their testimonies. Thank you to those who gladden us with your heart, with the beauty which is the path that leads to God. Beauty leads us to God. And a true witness takes us to God. Because God also is truth. Beauty and truth. And a witness given in order to serve is thoroughly good. It makes us good persons. Because God is goodness. He takes us to God. All that is good, all that is true, all that is beautiful leads us to God. Because God is good. God is beautiful. God is truth. Thank you all, those who’ve offered their witness and for the presence of all of you. That is also a great witness. A real witness that it’s worth being a family, that a society is strong and solid if its edified on beauty, goodness and truth.
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 to answer the question. So I said, now, what I’m going to say to you, Before creating the world, God loved. Because God is love. And so much love–Father, Son and Holy Spirit–it was so overflowing. I don’t know think this is very logical but you’ll understand: He was so big–it was so big, this love–that God 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. He created man and woman and he gave them everything. He gave them the world. That they may grow, multiply, cultivate the land. Multiply and grow. All that love He that he made in creation, He gave it and shared it and bestowed it on a family.
And let’s go back further, all the love that God has in Himself, all the beauty and truth He has in Himself, he gives to the family. But the family is really family when it is able to open its arms and receive all that love.
Of course, its not quiet 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. Now, the beauty and truth of God…and destruction and war. And between them, 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 bright 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? To a country? No, He sent Him to a family. He sent him amid a family. In a family.
And he could do this because it was a family that had a truly open heart. Doors of their heart opened.
Let’s think of Mary. She couldn’t believe it. How can this happen? But when the angel explained it. She agreed. St. Joseph–he finds himself in this surprising situation that he does’t understand. And he accepts. He obeys. And in obedience–love of this woman, love of this man–there is family in which Jesus is born. God plans so that our hearts will be opened. He likes to bring His love to open hearts. It comes out from Him. You know what He loves most? To knock on the doors of families. And find the families who love each other. Families who bring up their children to grow and move forward. To create, to develop in society, truth, goodness and beauty.
We are celebrating the feast of the family. Families have a citizenship which is divine. The identity card 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, of course, Father, you speak because you’re not married. Families have the difficulties. Families, we quarrel! Sometimes plates can fly. And children bring headaches. I won’t speak about mothers-in-law…
But in families there is always, always, always light. Because the love of God, the Son of God, opened also part of us. But just as there are problems in families, there is the light of the Resurrection afterwards. Because the Son of God created that path. Forgive me, for I have to say that 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 child. And I ask them, “Did you sleep?” And they say, “I couldn’t sleep because they were crying all night.” In the family, there are indeed difficulties. But those difficulties are overcome with love. Hatred is not capable of dealing with difficulties and overcoming any difficulties. Division of hearts cannot overcome any difficulty. Only love is able to overcome. Love is about celebration. Love is joy. Love is moving forward.
I don’t speak too much because it would be late, but I would like just to offer two points about the family. Take special care…somethings we really do have to take care of: children and grandparents. Children, whether young or older, they are the future and 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. It promises the future The people that doesn’t know how to look after their children, and the is a people that knows not how to look after 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 inimical relationships. Husbands and wives quarrel. It can end up badly, separated. Never let a day end without making peace. In a family, you can’t finish the day off not being at peace.
May God bless you. May God give you hope. God give you the strength to move forward. Let us look after the family. Let us protect the family because it is in the family that the future is at play.