VATICAN CITY, JUNE 6, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says the future of humanity absolutely depends on the family, which he says is humanity's "principle patrimony," the "community of life and love which God Himself has willed for man and for woman."
The Pope offered his reflections on family life at today's general audience, as he reviewed his trip last weekend to Milan for the 7th World Meeting of Families.
"It is within the family that we experience for the first time that the human person is not created to live enclosed within himself, but in relationships with others; and it is in the family that the light of peace is first set aflame in our hearts so that it might illumine our world," he said.
The Holy Father recalled his address to the world of culture and education in Milan, which "allowed me to highlight the importance of legislation and the work of state institutions being ordered to the service and protection of the person in his various aspects, beginning with the right to life, the deliberate suppression of which can never be allowed, and the acknowledgement of the proper identity of the family, founded on marriage between one man and one woman."
He also noted his question-and-answer session with families, which he said enabled him to "give a sign of the open dialogue that exists between families and the Church, between the world and the Church."
Benedict XVI emphasized his call for a defense of family time, "threatened by a kind of “overbearance” of work commitments."
"Sunday," he said, "is the Lord’s day and man’s day, a day when everyone should be able to be free, free for family and free for God. In defending Sunday, we defend man’s freedom!"
The Pope also recalled his appeal for Church communities that are more and more family oriented, and "capable of reflecting the beauty of the Most Holy Trinity and of evangelizing not only with words, but by radiating the strength of love lived, for love is the only force that can transform the world."
"The 'triad' of family, work and celebration [are] three dimensions of our lives that must find a harmonious equilibrium in order to build a society with a human face," he stated.
The Bishop of Rome said the World Meeting of Families was an "an eloquent 'epiphany' of the family, which manifested itself in its variety of expressions but in the uniqueness of its essential identity: a communion of love, founded on marriage and called to be a sanctuary of life, a domestic Church, a cell of society."
"From Milan," he concluded, "a message of hope was sent out to all the world, substantiated by lived experience: it is possible and joyous, even if demanding, to live faithful love 'for ever' which is open to life; it is possible to participate as a family in the mission of the Church and in the building up of society."
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