Pope Francis has reaffirmed the value of the period of engagement for a meaningful marriage. During this morning’s weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, the Pontiff continued his catechesis on marriage and the family, and stressed how important a preparation period is in order for couples to properly know each other.
The time of engagement, the Pope said, can truly become a time of experiencing the many spiritual gifts that enrich the family.
The Pope deviated from his prepared remarks to note how in the Bible, specifically in the Book of Jeremiah, God’s relationship with His people is referred to in terms of engagement.
“Marriage is first of all a discovery of a call from God,” Pope Francis stressed. In this discovery, he said, “The man ‘learns’ the woman, this woman,” he said, “and the woman ‘learns’ the man, this man.”
“Do not underestimate the importance of this learning: It is beautiful and love requires it so that it is not just a carefree happiness and enchanted emotion.”
For a lasting marriage, Francis said, time, prayer, and care is required. Couples even that live together or have intimate relations, he said, often do not really know each other.
The Pontiff was also quick to note how feelings and infatuations are not to be confused with love.
There is a certain harmony that exists in the decision to get married, the Pope said. It is not just attraction or feelings, he said, but “requires a journey.”
The covenant of love between man and woman, a covenant for life, is not improvised, it is not made overnight. There is no express marriage: you need to work on love, you need to walk [on this path],” Pope Francis said, speaking off the cuff.
“To make two lives one alone,” the Pope said, “is a miracle of freedom and of the heart, entrusted to the faith.”
Francis invited Christian married couples and fiancés to reflect together on their love, their future and the importance of faith and prayer in their lives together.
The Pope wished all the engaged couples in the Square a happy engagement and good marriage, and prayed that they prepare for their wedding day not in a worldly way, but with the joy and hope from their faith in Jesus.
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