Pope: Over time Providence can give meaning to our pain

The Pope travels to Cyprus and Greece tomorrow on "a visit to the sources of the apostolic faith" and to "a humanity wounded in the flesh of so many migrants." "To love in fact is not to demand that the other or life correspond to our imagination." "Rather, it means choosing in full freedom to take responsibility for life as it is offered to us. This is why Joseph gives us an important lesson, he chooses Mary with open eyes."

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Pope Francis asked for prayers ahead of tommow's journey first to Cyprus and then Greece, "a visit to the sources of the apostolic faith" and to "a wounded humanity in the flesh of so many migrants" at the end of the general audience  continuing the new cycle of catechesis on St. Joseph, with a special dedication to young couples.

Eeight thousand people gathered in the Paul VI hall, to hear the Pope speak of Joseph's decision not to repudiate Mary, even though she was pregnant. An event, which made Francis say that "jparticularly in front of some circumstances in life that initially appear dramatic, a Providence is hidden that takes shape over time and illuminates the meaning even of the pain that has touched us."

As for Joseph, "the fact that 'before they went to live together, Mary found herself pregnant,' - he said - exposed the Virgin to the charge of adultery. And this guilt, according to the ancient Law, was to be punished by stoning (cf. Deut. 22:20-21)."  "The Gospel says that Joseph was “just” precisely because he was subject to the law as any pious Israelite. But within him, his love for Mary and his trust in her suggested a way he could remain in observance of the law and save the honour of his bride. He decided to repudiate her in secret, without making noise, without subjecting her to public humiliation. He chose the path of confidentiality, without a trial or retaliation. How holy Joseph was! We, as soon as we have a bit of gossip, something scandalous about someone else, we go around talking about it right away! Silent, Joseph. Silent.." A behavior, Francis commented, different from the "gossip" that often accompanies news.

But "the evangelist Matthew immediately adds, "WBut the evangelist Matthew adds immediately: “But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins’ ” (1:20.21). God’s voice intervenes in Joseph’s discernment. In a dream, He reveals a greater meaning than his own justice. How important it is for each one of us to cultivate a just life and, at the same time, to always feel the need for God’s help to broaden our horizons and to consider the circumstances of life from an always different, larger perspective."

"However, I would like us to pause to reflect on a detail of this story recounted in the Gospel that is often overlooked. Mary and Joseph were engaged to each other. They had probably cultivated dreams and expectations regarding their life and their future. Out of the blue, God seems to have inserted himself into their lives and, even if at first it was difficult for them, both of them opened their hearts wide to the reality that was placed before them.".

"Very often," he added, "our lives are not as we imagine them to be. "Especially in relationships of love, of affection, we struggle to move from the logic of falling in love to that of mature love." "The first phase is always marked by a certain enchantment, which makes us live immersed in an imaginary that often does not correspond to the reality of the facts."  "But just when falling in love with its expectations seems to end, there true love can begin." "To love in fact is not to demand that the other person or life correspond to our imagination," Francis' warning: "Rather, it means choosing in full freedom to take responsibility for life as it is offered to us. This is why Joseph gives us an important lesson, he chooses Mary with open eyes."

"Christian engaged couples are called to witness to a love like this that has the courage to move from the logic of falling in love to that of mature love. This is a demanding choice that instead of imprisoning life, can fortify love so that it endures when faced with the trials of time. A couple’s love progresses in life and matures each day. The love during engagement is a bit – allow me to use the word – a bit romantic. You have all experienced this, but then mature love begins, love lived every day, from work, from the children that come… And sometimes that romanticism disappears a bit, right? But is that not love? Yes, but mature love. “But you know, Father, sometimes we fight...” This has been happening since the time of Adam and Eve until today, eh! That spouses fight is our daily bread, eh! “But we shouldn’t fight?” Yes, yes, you must. It happens. I am not saying you should, but it happens. “And, Father, sometimes we raise our voices…” It happens. “And there are even times when plates fly”. It happens. But what can be done so that this does not damage the life of the marriage? Listen to me well: never finish the day end without making peace. “We fought. My God, I said bad words. I said awful things. But now, to finish the day, I must make peace”. You know why? Because the cold war the next day is very dangerous. Don’t let war begin the next day. For this reason, make peace before going to bed. “But, Father, you know, I don’t know how to express myself to make peace after such an awful situation that we experienced”. It’s very easy. Do this (the Pope caresses his cheek) and peace is already made. Remember this always. Remember always: never finish the day without making peace. And this will help you in your married life. To them and to all the married couples who are here. This movement from falling in love to mature love is a demanding choice, but we must choose that path.."

After the speech, Francis recalling that today is World AIDS Day said that "it is an important occasion to remember so many people affected by this virus, for many of whom access to essential care is not available," with the hope of "a renewed commitment in solidarity for fair and effective health care treatments."

Another appeal, then, for the elderly. "Do not neglect them, and if you can have them in your family, do not send them out," he asked in greetings to the Italian-speaking faithful. "The elderly are our roots, do not neglect them," he continued.

And finally, his wishes for the Advent season, which "invites us to prepare for Christmas, fearlessly welcoming Jesus Christ who comes among us." "If we open wide to him the door of life, everything acquires a new light and the family, work, pain, health, friendship, become as many occasions to discover his consoling presence, presence of Emmanuel that means God with us and to witness this His presence to others," assured the Pope: "Let us prepare in this way, widening our hearts for Christmas."