There's No Place Like Home, Says Benedict XVI

Notes Educative Role of Family Is Irreplaceable

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 19, 2009 ( There’s no place like home when it comes to learning life lessons such as peace, work, concord and respect, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope affirmed this Sunday in a talk he gave via video link to crowds gathered at the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. The group had just concluded the closing Mass of the 6th World Meeting of Families, which began in the Mexican capital last Wednesday.

The Pontiff sent as legate to the event his secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who presided over the closing Mass.

Benedict XVI assured the group that he had participated actively in the Family Meeting, particularly through his prayer, but also though guidelines and follow up of the preparations.

In his message Sunday, he encouraged families to stay close to God in prayer.

“How beautiful it is,” the Pope said, “to gather as a family to allow God to speak to the hearts of the members through his living and effective Word. In prayer, especially with the praying of the rosary, as was done yesterday, the family contemplates the mysteries of the life of Jesus, interiorizes the values that it meditates and feels called to incarnate them in their lives.”

The Holy Father called the family an “indispensable base for society and for peoples, as well as an irreplaceable good for children, worthy of coming into life as a fruit of love, of the parents’ total and generous surrender.”

Jesus’ teaching

He said it was Jesus himself who revealed the importance of families, in “honoring the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph.”

The family, the Pontiff continued, which “occupies a primary place in the education of the person […] is a true school of humanity and perennial values. No one has given being to himself. We have received life from others, which is developed and matured with the truths and values that we learn in relation and communion with the rest. In this sense, the family founded on the indissoluble matrimony between a man and a woman expresses this relational, filial and communitarian dimension, and is the realm where man can be born with dignity, grow and develop in an integral way.”

The Bishop of Rome said that the family’s educative task is made difficult today by a “deceptive concept” of freedom, which exalts whims and impulses “to the point of leaving each one locked within the prison of his own ‘I.'”

“The true liberty of the human being comes from having been created in the image and likeness of God, and therefore should be exercised with responsibility, always opting for the true good so that it becomes love, gift of self,” he said.

And it is here that the family has such a big role to play, Benedict XVI explained.

“For this,” he said, “more than theories, the intimacy and love characteristic of the familial community are needed. It is in the home where one learns to truly live, to value life and health, liberty and peace, justice and truth, work, concord and respect.”

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