Pope Francis met with families from around the world Saturday to celebrate the World Day of Families, bringing with him the message that the sacraments are not to be viewed as 'decorations' or rites of passage. “The sacraments don’t just decorate life!” exclaimed the Holy Father. “They are to give us strength of life!”
While visitors were entertained by artists from around the world, the special visitors were reminded that this event was being held as a part of the Church's official calendar for the Year of Faith so that a focus could be given to families and the role of the Church in their lives. With regards to the Sacrament of Matrimony, answering one questioner the Pope said "certainly, it is difficult, this is why we want the grace of the sacrament."
“The Sacrament of Matrimony is not a pretty ceremony. Christian spouses marry in the Sacrament because they know they need it!” the Pope said, declaring as false what he called a "provisional" culture of today which has a fear of commitment. Francis said that “with trust in God’s faithfulness, everything can be faced responsibly and without fear.”
“Christian spouses are not naïve; they know life’s problems and temptations. But they are not afraid to be responsible before God and before society. They do not run away, they do not hide, they do not shirk the mission of forming a family and bringing children into the world.” The Holy Father said that in many parts of the world today that war, increasing poverty, and high rates of joblessness are all threats to traditional family life.
“‘Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden,’ Jesus says. Dear families, the Lord knows our struggles and the burdens we have in our lives. But he also knows our great desire to find joy and rest! Do you remember? Jesus said, ‘…that your joy may be complete.’ Jesus wants our joy to be complete!” declared the Pontiff. “Jesus always gives us that love: he is its endless source. He gives us, in a sacrament, his word and the bread of life, so that our joy may be full,” he said, referring to the Holy Eucharist.
In remarks that were not prepared, Pope Francis said that successful families would do well to familiarize themselves with three simple phrases, "excuse me," "thank you," and "I'm sorry." “How many times a day do you say thank you to your wife? To your husband? How many days have passed since you last said thank you? Don't finish a day without making peace," the Pope taught.