Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Please", "thank you" and "sorry", are words that "open up the road to a good family life”. They are words that stem from a "good education", but that can hide "a formalism of good manners that can become a mask that hides the aridity of a soul ", from which it not even religion is protected, where you are likely to" slip into a formal compliance with spiritual worldliness ".
Pope Francis dedicated his catechesis for the general audience today to these three words “please", "thank you" and "sorry". The Pope described them as "simple, but not so easy to put into practice” , "as the gateway to a series of reflections on family life, its real life, with its rhythms and its events" and in which " the style of good relations is firmly rooted in a love of good and respecting the other".
After touring among the 40 thousand people present in St Peter's Square in his white jeep, The Pope spoke of the fact that the three words "contain a great strength: the strength to safeguard the home, through many difficulties and trials; rather if they are lacking, gradually cracks appear that may even make it collapse".
"We normally understand them as good manners” - he said. “Okay, a well-educated person asks for permission, says thanks or apologizes when wrong. Okay, manners are very important. A great bishop, St. Francis de Sales used to say that ‘good manners are halfway to holiness'. However, be careful, down through history we have seen how a formalism of good manners can become a mask that hides an aridity of the soul and a neglect of others. It is said: Good manners hide bad habits'. Not even religion is immune from this risk, of slipping into a formal compliance with spiritual worldliness. The devil tempts Jesus in a show of good manners – he is a real gentleman, a knight - and cites Scripture, speaks like a theologian. His style seems correct, but his intention is to divert from the truth of God's love. Instead, we mean good manners in real terms, where the style of good relations is firmly rooted in a love of good and respect of the other. The family lives off this finesse of loving”.
"The first word - the Pope said - is 'please'. When we take the effort to kindly ask for something that maybe we think is our due, we are really safeguarding the convivial spirit of married and family life. The ability to enter the life of the other, even when it is part of our lives, requires the delicacy of a non-invasive approach, which renews confidence and respect. Confidence, in short, does not authorize us to take everything for granted. And, the more intimate and profound love is, the more it demands respect for freedom and the ability to wait for the other to open the door of his or her heart. In this regard, we recall the Jesus words in Revelation which we have just heard: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and dine with him, and he with me "(3:20).The Lord asks permission to enter! Do not forget "and "before you do something in the family: ‘Please, can I do it? Would you like me to do this? '. That language that is polite but full of love. And that does so much good for families”.
"The second word is 'thanks'. Sometimes it occurs to me that we are becoming a society of bad manners and bad words, as if they were a sign of emancipation. Often, they are all we even publicly. Kindness and the ability to thank are seen as a sign of weakness, sometimes they even arouse suspicion. This trend should be opposed in the womb of the same family. We must be uncompromising on teaching gratitude, recognition: human dignity and social justice both to pass here. If family life neglects this style, then even social life will lose it. Gratitude, then, for a believer, is the very heart of faith: a Christian who does not know how to give thank s is one who has forgotten the language of God. Listen well: a Christian who does not know how to thank is one who has forgotten the language of God . This is bad! Recall Jesus’ question, when He healed ten lepers and only one of them came back to thank Him. I once heard of an elderly person, very wise, very good, simple, but with the wisdom of compassion, of life ... Gratitude is a plant that grows only in the land of noble souls. The nobility of the soul, that God's grace in the soul urges us to say: 'With gratitude'. It is the flower of a noble soul. This is a good thing ".
"The third word is 'sorry'. It is a difficult word, certainly, yet so necessary. When it is lacking, small cracks widen - even unintentionally - to become deep trenches. It is not by chance that in the prayer Jesus taught us, the Our Father, which summarizes all the key questions for our lives, we find this expression: "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us". Recognition of having erred, and willingness to give back what has been taken away - respect, honesty, love – makes us worthy of forgiveness. This stops infection. If we are unable to apologize, it means that we are unable to forgive. In a home where apologies are lacking lacks air, and the waters become stagnant. So many wounds of suffering, so many tears in families begin with the loss of this precious word: 'I'm sorry'. People often argue in a marriage ... ‘dishes may even fly’ eh !, but I give my advice: never end a day without making peace. Listen well: A wife and husband have a fight? Children argue with their parents? It is a bad argument? This is not good. But it is not the problem: the problem is that this feeling is present the next day. So if you have quarreled never end the day without re-establishing peace in the family. And how do I make peace? Get down on my knees? No! Only a small gesture, a little thing. And bring family harmony back, eh! Just a caress! Without words. But never end the day in the family without making peace. Do you understand this? It is not easy, eh! But you have to do it. And with that life will be more beautiful".
"These three key words of the family are simple words, and perhaps at first make us smile. But when we forget them, there's nothing to laugh about, right? Our manners, perhaps, we neglect them too much. May the Lord help us to put them back to the right place, in our hearts, in our homes, and even in our civil society. "