06/03/2012, 00.00
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Pope: Family, work, celebration, three gifts of God to build a society with a human face, in a world

by Bernardo Cervellera
Benedict XVI celebrates mass at the end of the VII World Meeting of Families. Man and woman, made 'in the image of God "are fruitful in generating children, but also in transforming the world through work, profit does not dominate, and celebration that is meeting, sharing, relationships with nature and celebration with God . Next World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia (USA).

Bresso (AsiaNews) - "Family, work, celebration: three of God's gifts, three dimensions of our lives that must be brought into a harmonious balance " of " work schedules with family demands, professional life with motherhood, work with celebration", because it "is important for building up a society with a human face", which "always gives priority to the logic of being over that of having: the first builds up, the second ends up destroying." Benedict XVI summed up the message of the VII World Meeting of Families, which concludes today with Mass in the airfield in the esplanade of Bresso (North Park). The esplanade - defined by the archbishop of Milan, Cardinal. Angelo Scola, "an open-air church" - gathered at least 400,000 faithful, along with hundreds of bishops and priests, in addition to 6 thousand representatives who attended the Meeting from May 30 until today. The rally, organized by the Pontifical Council for the Family, had as its theme "The Family: Work and Celebration".

In his homily, the pope reflected on the identity of the first family, that is the image of God, the Holy Trinity: "been given the task of building church communities that are more and more like families, able to reflect the beauty of the Trinity and to evangelize not only by word, but I would say by "radiation", in the strength of living love. It is not only the Church that is called to be the image of One God in Three Persons, but also the family, based on marriage between man and woman".

This identity of the family has fruitful consequences for families  themselves and for society: " Dear married couples - continued the pope -, Dear married couples, in living out your marriage you are not giving each other any particular thing or activity, but your whole lives. And your love is fruitful first and foremost for yourselves, because you desire and accomplish one another's good, you experience the joy of receiving and giving. It is also fruitful in your generous and responsible procreation of children, in your attentive care for them, and in their vigilant and wise education. And lastly, it is fruitful for society, because family life is the first and irreplaceable school of social virtues, such as respect for persons, gratuitousness, trust, responsibility, solidarity, cooperation. Dear married couples, watch over your children and, in a world dominated by technology, transmit to them, with serenity and trust, reasons for living, the strength of faith, pointing them towards high goals and supporting them in their fragility".

Being families also means "maintaining a constant relationship with God and participating in the life of the Church, by cultivating dialogue, respecting the other's point of view, by being ready for service and patient with the failings of others, by being able to forgive and to seek forgiveness, by overcoming with intelligence and humility any conflicts that may arise, by agreeing on principles of upbringing, and by being open to other families, attentive towards the poor, and responsible within civil society. "

Benedict XVI did not forget the divorced and separated, those "who, even though they agree with the Church's teachings on the family, have had painful experiences of breakdown and separation"."I want you to know - he added - that the Pope and the Church support you in your struggle. I encourage you to remain united to your communities, and I earnestly hope that your dioceses are developing suitable initiatives to welcome and accompany you."

Being man and woman "in the image of God" means cooperating with God to "change the world through work, science and technology". " In modern economic theories - says the Pope - there is often a utilitarian concept of work, production and the market. Yet God's plan, as well as experience, show that the one-sided logic of sheer utility and maximum profit are not conducive to harmonious development, to the good of the family or to building a more just society, because it brings in its wake ferocious competition, strong inequalities, degradation of the environment, the race for consumer goods, family tensions. Indeed, the utilitarian mentality tends to take its toll on personal and family relationships, reducing them to a fragile convergence of individual interests and undermining the solidity of the social fabric".

Similarly, " man, as the image of God, is also called to rest and to celebrate."

"For us Christians - said Benedict XVI - the feast day is Sunday, the Lord's day, the weekly Easter. It is the day of the Church, the assembly convened by the Lord around the table of the word and of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, just as we are doing today, in order to feed on him, to enter into his love and to live by his love. It is the day of man and his values: conviviality, friendship, solidarity, culture, closeness to nature, play, sport. It is the day of the family, on which to experience together a sense of celebration, encounter, sharing, not least through taking part in Mass. Dear families, despite the relentless rhythms of the modern world, do not lose a sense of the Lord's Day! It is like an oasis in which to pause, so as to taste the joy of encounter and to quench our thirst for God. "

He concluded: " Family, work, celebration: three of God's gifts, three dimensions of our lives that must be brought into a harmonious balance. Harmonizing work schedules with family demands, professional life with motherhood, work with celebration, is important for building up a society with a human face. In this regard, always give priority to the logic of being over that of having: the first builds up, the second ends up destroying". 

At the end of Mass, before praying the Angelus, Benedict XVI thanked all the organizers of Milan, and announced that the next World Meeting of Families will take place in Philadelphia (USA). "I am pleased to announce - he said - that the next World Meeting of Families will take place in 2015, in Philadelphia, United States of America. I greet the Archbishop of Philadelphia, Archbishop Charles Chaput, and thank him right now for having offered to host the event. "

And in his greetings in Italian he concluded: "Dear families in Milan, Lombardy, Italy and the whole world, I greet you all with affection and thank you for your participation. I encourage you to always be in solidarity with the families who are experiencing greater difficulties, I think of the economic and social crisis, I think of the recent earthquake in Emilia. May the Virgin Mary always accompany and support you. "


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