Pope to families: 'Never forget prayer, which keeps our faith alive'
By Deborah Castellano Lubov
"Let us not forget prayer, because prayer helps us to keep faith alive; the balm of faith is preserved by often turning our thoughts to the Lord: it can help us so much to look at the image of the crucifix, to stop our gaze there.. It is a beautiful way to pray."
Pope Francis gave this reminder when meeting with the Family of Pedro Maria Guirmaraes de Mello in the Vatican on Friday.
The Mello family is a Christian family of entrepreneurs and as such has over 100 years of history, dedicated to social responsibility, with very strong bonds with the Portuguese Catholic University. The family of 12 siblings employs over a thousand people, as they work to develop their businesses and their collaborators for a better world.
In his remarks, the Pope thanked them for their witness of their love for the Church and for their "pilgrimage to the tomb of St Peter."
"It is faith in Jesus that brought you here and brought you together. It is good to see a family united, and a family strengthened by the gift of faith."
Harmony in families
He expressed his joy to see the family and thinking of families like theirs.
"Seeing your family and thinking of families like yours," the Pope reflected, "I am reminded of Psalm 133: 'How good and how pleasant it is, when brothers dwell together as one! Like fine oil on the head, running down...'"
The oil, he noted, is a beautiful image of union, and of the happiness of being in communion.
"But the oil," he added, "is also an image of the faith that strengthens our bonds and, through the Holy Spirit, makes harmony in families possible - this is important - harmony also in the Church, in the world."
Never run out of 'oil of faith'
"I encourage you," the Pope continued, "never to let the oil of faith run out in your lamps."
In this way, he said, they collaborate with the grace of God that we experience in our encounter with Him.
"We experience the Lord's presence in many circumstances, but especially in the sacraments and meditation on His Word," he said.
Prayer keeps faith alive
Never forget prayer, the Pope insisted.
"Not only does it keep faith alive," he said, "the very act of turning our thoughts to the Lord" can do the faithful so much good.
Keeping our gaze fixed on the Crucifix, the Pope said, "is a beautiful way to pray."
Trust in Lord's goodness
"As a family and as individuals," he said, "I invite you to go forward on your journey of faith, trusting in the goodness of the Lord and in the protection of the Blessed Virgin, whom you venerate with so much love at Fatima. "
Pope Francis concluded by inviting them to join him in praying three Hail Marys and asking them to pray for him.