Pope: Christ’s love sustains married couples' love and renews it when, humanly speaking, it becomes lost
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - " The love of Christ, which has blessed and sanctified the union of husband and wife, is able to sustain their love and to renew it when, humanly speaking, it becomes lost, wounded or worn out". This was the reassurance offered by Pope Francis today to 20 couples who celebrated the Sacrament of Marriage in St Peter's Basilica, at Mass presided over by the Pope. Some of the couples have lived together for some time and have children.
The ceremony, the first in the reign of Francis, was born
from her desire to celebrate marriages. His request was turned to all the
priests of the Diocese of Rome who have chosen a couple that would express her
yes in the basilica of St. Peter, with the blessing of the pope.
The Mass coincided with the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. In his homily, Francis, referring to the first reading (Num 21,4-9), spoke of "the people in the desert" as composed mainly of families. "This people reminds us of the Church as she makes her way across the desert of the contemporary world, the People of God composed, for the most part, of families. This makes us think of families, our families, walking along the paths of life with all their day to day experiences. It is impossible to quantify the strength and depth of humanity contained in a family: mutual help, educational support, relationships developing as family members mature, the sharing of joys and difficulties. Families are the first place in which we are formed as persons and, at the same time, the "bricks" for the building up of society".
At a certain point, "the people became impatient on the way... They are tempted to turn back and abandon the journey".
"Here - the pope noted - our thoughts turn to married couples who "become impatient on the way" of conjugal and family life. The hardship of the journey causes them to experience interior weariness; they lose the flavour of matrimony and they cease to draw water from the well of the Sacrament. Daily life becomes burdensome, even "nauseating". During such moments of disorientation - the Bible says - the poisonous serpents come and bite the people, and many die".
God provides the remedy: a bronze serpent on a pole,
"whoever looks at it is healed from deadly poison".
"What is the meaning of this symbol? God does not destroy the serpents, but rather offers an "antidote": by means of the bronze serpent fashioned by Moses, God transmits his healing strength, his mercy, which is more potent than the Tempter's poison".
"Jesus - he continued - As we have heard in the Gospel, Jesus
identifies himself with this symbol: out of love the Father "has given" his
only begotten Son so that men and women might have eternal life.... Whoever
entrusts himself to Jesus crucified receives the mercy of God and finds healing
from the deadly poison of sin".
"The cure which God offers the people - he explains - applies also, in a particular way, to spouses who "have become impatient on the way" and who succumb to the dangerous temptation of discouragement, infidelity, weakness, abandonment... To them too, God the Father gives his Son Jesus, not to condemn them, but to save them: if they entrust themselves to him, he will bring them healing by the merciful love which pours forth from the Cross, with the strength of his grace that renews and sets married couples and families once again on the right path.. "
"The love of Christ, which has blessed and sanctified the union of husband and wife - he concluded - is able to sustain their love and to renew it when, humanly speaking, it becomes lost, wounded or worn out. The love of Christ can restore to spouses the joy of journeying together. This is what marriage is all about: man and woman walking together, wherein the husband helps his wife to become ever more a woman, and wherein the woman has the task of helping her husband to become ever more a man. Here we see the reciprocity of differences. The path is not always a smooth one, free of disagreements, otherwise it would not be human. It is a demanding journey, at times difficult, and at times turbulent, but such is life! Marriage is a symbol of life, real life: it is not "fiction"! It is the Sacrament of the love of Christ and the Church, a love which finds its proof and guarantee in the Cross".
The Pope then gave a piece of added advise: "In marriage there are quarrels, that's life. But do not allow yourself to end the day without making peace".