Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Engagement is a "journey", "time to get to know each other and share a project," it is not a marriage, as the modern mentality of "everything at once" suggests and people who want “everything at once, also give up on everything – and at once – at the first problem".
This was the message at the heart of Pope Francis’ general audience this Wednesday in St Peter's Square, in which he stressed the "wise" teaching of the Church, which "maintains the distinction between being engaged and being married" and the pre-marriage courses often offer the opportunity to couples to really get to know each other, "couples who have been together a long time, maybe even in private, sometimes living together, but who do not really know each other".
Speaking to the 30 thousand people present in St Peter's Square, among which he toured at length in his white jeep, the Pope said that "engagement - you hear it in the word - has to do with trust, confidence, reliability. Confidence with the vocation that God gives, because marriage is the first discovery of a call from God. It is certainly a good thing that today's young people can choose to marry on the basis of a mutual love. But the freedom of the bond requires a conscious harmony with the decision, not just a simple understanding of attraction or feeling, a moment, a short time ... It requires a journey. "
In engagement "man 'learns' about the woman, learning from this woman, his fiancée and the woman 'learns' about the man, learning from this man, her fiancé. Do not underestimate the importance of this learning: it is quite a commitment, and love itself requires it, so that it is not just a carefree happiness, an enchanting emotion... ". "The covenant of love between man and woman, is an alliance for life, that is not improvised, not made overnight." "There is no express marriage: we need to work on love, you have to journey. The alliance of the love of man and woman is learned and refined. I dare say, it is an alliance of craftsmanship. Making of two lives, one life, it is also a miracle, a miracle of freedom and of the heart, given in faith". “We should dwell more on this point, because our ' sentimental coordinates ' are a bit 'confused. Those who claim to want everything immediately, then back down on everything - and immediately – at the first difficulty (or at the first opportunity). There is no hope for trust and loyalty of the gift of self, if the habit of consuming love as if it were a kind of 'supplement' to our physical and mental wellbeing prevails. This is not love! Engagement focuses on the desire to safeguard together something that will never be bought or sold, betrayed or abandoned, however tempting the offer may be".
"The Church, in its wisdom, keeps the distinction between being engaged and being married, it is not the same, particularly in view of the delicacy and depth of this test. We must be careful not to lightly despise this wise teaching, which is also nourished by the experience of happy experiences of conjugal love. The strong symbols of the body hold the keys of the soul: we cannot treat the bonds of flesh lightly, without opening a lasting wound in the spirit. Of course, the culture and the society of today have become rather indifferent to the delicacy and seriousness of this passage. On the other hand, it cannot be said to be generous with young people who are really serious about wanting to make a home and give birth to children! Indeed, often they pose a thousand mental and practical obstacles in their way. Engagement is a way of life that has to mature like fruit, it is a way of maturing in love, until it becomes marriage. "
"Pre-marriage courses are an expression of special preparation. We see so many couples who may come to the course a little 'reluctantly' and yet "after they are happy and grateful, because in fact they found a chance - often the only one! - To reflect on their experience in a non-trivial manner. Yes, many couples have been together a long time, maybe even in private, sometimes living together, but who do not really know each other. It seems strange, but experience shows that it is so. The period of engagement must be re-evaluated as the time of mutual understanding and sharing of a project. The path of preparation for marriage should be set in this perspective, making use of simple but intense testimony of Christian spouses. And by focusing on the essentials even here: the Bible, to discover together, in a conscious way; prayer, in its liturgical dimension, but also in the 'home', to live in the family and "fraternity with the poor, and the needy, that provoke us to sobriety and sharing." And a couple who prepares with a good engagement "leads to a beautiful wedding celebration, a celebration in a different way, not worldly, but in a Christian way."
"The period of engagement - concluded the Pope, who then invited those present to pray a Hail Mary for all young engaged couples- can truly become a time of initiation to the surprise of the spiritual gifts with which the Lord, through the Church, enriches the 'horizon of the new family that prepares to live in His blessing. "