Vatican City (AsiaNews) – "Rest is a precious gift that God made to the human family", "God's invention" a time "to contemplate and enjoy a job well done" . It breaks "our obsession with economic profit and technological efficiency" and the "bad virus" of consumption and waste. These are just some of the points emphasised by Pope Francis today during the general audience, beginning a new chapter in his cycle of catechesis on the family, dedicated to "three dimensions ... that mark the rhythm of family life: Rest, work, prayer ".
Speaking to the thousands of pilgrims gathered in the Paul VI Hall, the pontiff first explained why "celebration is God's invention”, quoting the book of Genesis (2,2-3) where God rests and contemplates his work of creation. "God himself - he said - teaches us the importance of devoting time to contemplating and enjoying a job well done”.
"So - he added – rest does not mean lazily sitting on a chair, or the thrill of silly escapism. Celebration is first of all a loving gaze and grateful on a job well done. It is time to watch our children, or grandchildren, who are growing up, and think, how beautiful! It is time to look at our home, friends, guests, the communities around us, and think: how great! God has done this. He continually does so because God creates forever, even now”.
We must learn to "integrate" our "rest" also "in the workplace": celebrating "a birthday, a wedding, a new birth, as well as a departure or a new arrival ... it is important. It is important to celebrate. These are moments of familiarity that break the cycle of mecchanic production: They do us good! ".
Celebration and rest from work is a sacred thing "because it resembles the man and woman who are made in God's image, who is not a slave to labor, but the Lord, and therefore we must never be slaves to work but 'masters' of our work". Francis said that this is a "commandment that applies to everyone" and instead "there are millions of men and women and even children subject to slave labor! This is contrary to God and the dignity of the human person”.
"The time for rest - he continued - especially the Sunday, is meant for us so that we can enjoy what is not produced and does not wear out, what we cannot buy or sell”. It breaks "our obsession with economic profit and technological efficiency".
The Pope also condemned "the ideology of profit and consumption" that reduces celebrations "into a 'business' to make and spend money. But is that why we work? The greed of consumerism, which leads to waste, is a bad virus that, among other things, leaves us even more tired than before".
Francis also spoke of "the Sunday Eucharist," which "brings all the grace of Jesus Christ to our celebrations: his presence, his love, his sacrifice, make us his community, his being with us ... And so every reality receives its full meaning: work, family, the joys and hardships of each day, even suffering and death; everything is transfigured by the grace of Christ”.
"The family - he concluded - has an extraordinary expertise to understand, guide and support the real time and value of rest and celebration, and in particular on Sunday .... The same family life, seen through the eyes of faith, helps us to understand what our efforts cost us. It has the appearance of a masterpiece of simplicity, beautiful precisely because it is not artificial, not fake, but able to embed itself into all aspects of real life. It appears to be something that is indeed 'good', as God said after the creation of man and woman (cf. Gen 1:31). So, rest and celebration is a precious gift that God made to the human family: Let us try not to ruin it".