How important is culture to marriage


Friday February 14, 2014



1st question: The fear of "forever"

Holy Father, today many believe that it is far too difficult an endeavor to promise oneself eternal fidelity; many feel that the challenge of living together forever is beautiful and fascinating, but too demanding, almost impossible. We would like to ask for your words so that they may give us light!

Thanks for the testimony and the question. And one thing straight ahead: of course, the questions were sent to me beforehand ... So I could think and come up with a more thorough answer. It is important to ask yourself whether it is possible to love one another "forever". This is a question we need to ask ourselves: is it possible to love one another "forever"? Many people today are afraid of making definitive decisions. A young man once said to his bishop: "I want to be a priest, but only for ten years". He was afraid of a definitive decision. But that's a common fear, it's part of our culture.

Making life choices seems impossible. Nowadays everything is fast moving, nothing lasts long ... And this mentality makes many couples preparing for marriage say, "We'll stay together as long as love lasts," but then what? That's it, goodbye, see you ... And that is the end of the marriage. But what do we actually mean by "love"? Just a feeling, a psychophysical state? Of course, if that is it, then nothing solid can be built on it. But if love is a relationship then it is a reality that is growing, and then we can say, for example, that it is built up like a house. And you build a house together, not alone! Building here means promoting and supporting growth. Dear newlyweds, you are preparing to grow together, to build this house to live together forever. You don't want to build it on the sands of feelings that come and go, but on the rock of true love, the love that comes from God. The family emerges from this project of love that wants to grow like a house that wants to be a place of affection, help, hope and support. And just as God's love is permanent and forever, so we also want the love that lays the foundation for the family to be permanent and forever. But please: we must on no account allow ourselves to be captured by the "culture of the provisional"! This culture that presses us all today, this culture of the provisional. That will not do!

So how can one cure this fear of "forever"? It is healed day by day by entrusting oneself to the Lord Jesus in a life that has become a daily spiritual path, made of steps - small steps, steps of mutual growth - of commitment to become women and men who are ripe in faith. Because, dear fiancé, this "forever" is not just a question of duration! A marriage is not only successful if it lasts - the quality is what counts! To stay together forever and to love one another forever: this is the challenge that Christian couples face. Then the wonderful multiplication of bread comes to mind: the Lord can increase love for you too, giving it fresh and good every day! He has an inexhaustible supply! He gives you the love that is the foundation of your connection and renews, strengthens it every day. And it makes them even bigger when the family grows, when they have children. On this path, prayer is also important, necessary, and always. He prays for her, she for him, and the two of them together. Ask Jesus to increase your love. in the Our Father let us pray: "Give us this day our daily bread". Married couples can also learn to pray like this: "Lord, give us today our daily love" - ​​because the daily love of the married couple is the bread, the true bread of the soul, that which gives them the necessary support to go on. And the prayer: Shall we try to say it together? "Lord, give us today our daily love" All together! [The betrothed: "Lord, give us this day our daily love"]. Once again! [The betrothed: "Lord, give us this day our daily love"]. This is the prayer of the engaged and the married couple. Teach us to love one another, to want what is good for one another! The more you trust in Him, the more your love will be "forever"; able to renew and overcome any difficulty. That is what I wanted to tell you in response to your question. Thanks!

2nd question: Living together: the "style" of married life

Holy Father, it is beautiful to live together every day; it gives joy, gives support. But it's also a challenge. We believe that you have to learn to love one another. There is a "style" of living as a couple, an everyday spirituality that we would like to learn. Can you help us, Holy Father?

Living together is an art, a path that requires patience, but which is also beautiful and fascinating. It does not stop when you have conquered each other ... On the contrary: then it only begins! This path that you must walk every day has rules that can be summed up in the three words you said, words that I have recommended to families many times: You're welcome - or »may I", as you said - thanks, and sorry. "You're welcome - may I?“That is the polite request to be allowed to enter another person's life with respect and attention.

We have to learn to ask: May I do this? Do you want us to pretend That we should take this initiative, raise our children like this? Do you want us to go out tonight? In short, asking for permission means knowing how to politely enter into other people's lives. So don't forget: know how to politely enter into the lives of others. But that is anything but easy! And sometimes instead you resort to methods that are as clumsy as certain mountain boots! But true love is not imposed with severity and aggressiveness! In the Fioretti St. Francis says: "Know that politeness is one of the attributes of God ... and politeness is the sister of love, which extinguishes hatred and preserves affection" (chap. 37). Yes, courtesy sustains love. And today we need a lot more courtesy in our families, in our world, which is often so full of violence and arrogance. And that can start at home.

»thanks«. As easy as it seems to pronounce this word - we know that it is not ... It is so important! We teach it to our children, but then we forget it ourselves! Gratitude is an important feeling! An old woman once said to me in Buenos Aires: "Gratitude is a flower that grows on noble soil." The nobility of the soul is necessary for this flower to grow. Do you remember the Gospel of Luke? Jesus heals ten lepers, but only one turns back to thank Jesus. And the Lord asks: Where are the other nine? This also applies to us: if we know how to thanks accept? In your relationship - and in future married life - it is important to keep alive the awareness that the other person is a gift from God, and thank you for the gifts of God! And in this inner attitude you have to say thank you to each other for everything. thanks is not just a friendly word used to be polite when dealing with strangers. We need to know how to say thank you if we are to get on well together in married life.

The third: "sorry«. In life we ​​make many mistakes and are subject to many errors. It happens to all of us. But maybe there is someone who has never made a mistake? If so, then he should raise his hand: someone who has never made a mistake? We do them all! All! Maybe there isn't a single day that we don't make a mistake. The Bible says that the righteous sin seven times a day. And so we make mistakes ... Hence the need to use this simple word: "Sorry." In general, each of us is quick to accuse the other and justify ourselves. It all started with our forefather Adam when God asked him: "Adam, did you eat this fruit?" No! She gave me that one! ”Accuse the other so as not to have to say“ Sorry ”or“ Excuse me ”. It's an old story! An instinct that is at the origin of many disasters. Let's learn to admit our mistakes and apologize. "Sorry if I made a loud voice today"; "Sorry I went by without saying hello"; "Sorry I'm late"; "That I was so silent this week"; "That I talked too much but never listened"; "Sorry, I forgot"; "Sorry, I was angry and took it out on you" ... We can say "Sorry" so many times a day!

This is also how a Christian family grows. We all know that there is no perfect family any more than there is a perfect husband or wife. Not to mention the perfect mother-in-law ... But what there is, we are sinners. Jesus, who knows us well, teaches us a secret: never let a day end without asking each other for forgiveness, without peace having returned to your home, your family. It is normal for married couples to argue; there is always something, we argued ... Perhaps you got annoyed, and one or the other plate may have broken - but I ask you never to forget one thing: don't let a day go to the end without each other have tolerated! Never, never, never! This is a secret, a secret to keep love and make peace. No big words are needed ... Sometimes a simple gesture is enough ... and peace is restored. Never end the day without making peace, otherwise what you carry with you will be cold and hard the day after - and then it will be even harder to make peace. Always remember: never let a day end without making peace! If we learn to apologize and forgive one another, then the marriage will last, go on. When old married couples who have already celebrated their golden wedding come to the audiences or mass here in Santa Marta, I always ask them: "So who has endured whom?" How nice that is! Then they look at each other, and then they look at me, and then they say: "He me, and I him!" That is nice! What a beautiful testimony!

3rd question: The style of the wedding reception

Holy Father, we are making a lot of wedding preparations these months. Can you give us some advice for our wedding reception?

Make it a real festival - because marriage is a festival - a Christian festival, not a secular festival! The Gospel according to John refers us to the deepest reason for the joy of this day: Do you remember the miracle of the wedding at Cana? At some point the wine runs out and the party seems to be over. Just imagine that the guests have to drink tea for the rest of the festival! No, that doesn't work! No festival without wine! At that moment, on Mary's advice, Jesus revealed himself for the first time and gave a sign: he turned water into wine and thus saved the wedding feast. What happened in Cana two thousand years ago actually happens at every wedding feast: what fulfills your marriage and will make it deeply true is the presence of the Lord revealing Himself and giving His grace. It is his presence that gives "good wine"; He is the secret of perfect joy - that joy that really warms the heart. It is the presence of Jesus at this festival. May it be a nice festival, but with Jesus! Not with the spirit of the world, no! When the Lord is there you can feel it. At the same time, it is also important that your marriage is simple and that what is really important come to light. Some are more concerned about the outward signs: the wedding dinner, the photos, the dresses, the flower arrangements ... These are important things for a party - but only if they are able to point to the real reason for your joy: the Blessings that the Lord gives to your love. See that the outward signs of your feast - like the wine of Cana - reveal the presence of the Lord and remind you and all of what is the source and cause of your joy.

But you said something that I want to pick up because I don't want it to be ignored. Marriage is also daily work, I could say: a craft work, a goldsmith's work; because the husband's job is to make the wife more of a woman and the wife to make her husband more of a man. You must also grow in humanity, as a man and as a woman. And that is something that you make up among yourself. That means growing together. It doesn't fly to you! The Lord blesses it, but it comes from our hands, from our behavior, from the way you live, the way you love each other. Let each other grow! Always do everything to ensure that the other grows. Work on it. Well, and so I can imagine how one day people would address you on the street in the village and say: “What a beautiful, strong woman! ... "" No wonder with the husband! "And they will say to you too:" Look at him! … ”“ No wonder with the wife! ”And that is exactly it! That's what it's about: that we let ourselves grow together, one for the other. And the children then had this legacy of having a father and a mother who grew together by helping each other become more man and more woman!