Pontiff: Family Reveals Nature of God

Says It Manifests Gratuitous Love

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 1, 2009 (Zenit.org).- On the feast of the Holy Family, Benedict XVI said that families reveal what God himself is: love.

The Pope affirmed this during the address he gave before praying the midday Angelus last Sunday in St. Peter’s Square.

«Jesus,» the Holy Father noted, «wanted to be born and grow up in a human family; he wanted the Virgin Mary to be his mom and Joseph to fulfill the role of father. They raised and educated him with immense love.»

He said that Jesus’ family «truly merits the title of ‘holy,’ since it is entirely focused on the desire of fulfilling the will of God, incarnated in the adorable presence of Jesus.»

Alike and different

The Pontiff went on to suggest that the Holy Family is both alike and different than other families.

«In one sense it is a family like all others, and as such, it is a model of conjugal love, collaboration, sacrifice, confidence in divine providence, a spirit of work and solidarity,» he said. «At the same time, though, the family of Nazareth is unique, different from all others, because of its singular vocation, linked to the mission of the Son of God.

«Precisely because of its unique character, it presents to every family, and in the first place to Christian families, the horizon of God, the sweet and demanding priority of his will, the perspective of heaven, to which we are destined.»

Benedict XVI continued: «The family is certainly a grace from God, which reveals what he, himself, is: love. A love that is entirely gratuitous, that sustains fidelity without limits, even in the moments of difficulty or dejection. […]

«Dear families, do not allow the love, openness to life, and the incomparable bonds that unite your homes to be spoiled. Ask this constantly of the Lord, pray together, so that your resolutions are enlightened by faith and extolled by divine grace in the path toward sanctity.»

He assured that «the Pope is at your side, praying especially to the Lord for those in each family who have greatest need of health, work, consolation and company.»

And the Holy Father urged the faithful to pray for the upcoming World Meeting of Families, scheduled for Jan. 14-18 in Mexico City.

«Let us pray starting now for this important ecclesial event,» he said, «and entrust to the Lord every family, especially those most tried by the difficulties of life and the wounds of misunderstanding and division.»

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