By Francesca Merlo
An important part of the programme for Pope Francis’ visit to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families, was the meeting he himself requested in order to listen to engaged and married couples. During the question and answer encounter at Dublin’s Saint Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, the Pope told those present that “our world needs a revolution of love”. “Let that revolution begin with you and your families”, he said.
A family tree without roots
Pope Francis stressed the importance of this love, saying that we must return to and take care of our family roots. “No family can grow if it forgets its roots”, he said. These roots transmit the generational experiences that teach us life and love. “Children will not grow in love if they do not learn how to converse with their grandparents”, Pope Francis said.
Keepers of collective memory
The Pope went on to thank an elderly couple who were there at Saint Mary’s to present their testimony after recently celebrating their Golden Wedding anniversary. Pope Francis said the witness of their struggles and the stories of their experiences are valuable to all young couples, and to anyone engaged in the long journey that is marriage. The Pope described them as “keepers of our collective memory” and said their faith-filled witness “is a precious resource for young couples, who look to the future with excitement and hope and, perhaps, a touch of trepidation!”.
Parents as teachers
Pope Francis went on to address the questions of two more couples, one of which regarded transmitting the faith to their children. It is in the “domestic church”, he replied, that “children learn the meaning of fidelity, integrity and sacrifice”. “The faith is passed on around the family table, in ordinary conversation, in the language that persevering love alone knows how to speak”.
Addressing parents directly, the Pope said “Your children will learn how to share the goods of the earth with everyone, if they see how their parents take care of others, who are poorer or less fortunate than themselves”. Parents, he concluded, will always be their children’s “first teachers in the faith”.
God’s dream of love
Another question concerned how to show that marriage is a vocation and not just a simple institution. “Nowadays we are not used to anything that really lasts for the whole of our lives”, the Pope replied. “The sacrament of matrimony”, he added, “shares in the mystery of God’s eternal love”.
Going off script, Pope Francis added that “temporary love is, in fact, infatuation or puppy love. Love is definitive”, he added: “an ‘I’ and a ‘you’”.
Finally, Pope Francis described love as “God’s dream for us and for the whole human family”, one that He asks us to make our own. “Please, never forget this”, said the Pope, “and never stop dreaming!”.