In Closing World Meeting of Families, Pope Gives Simple Tips for Showing Love

Says Holiness and Happiness Are in the Little Things

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Holiness is as simple as having a warm supper awaiting those who are coming home at night, or a hug bestowed after a hard day’s work. This was part of Pope Francis’ message this afternoon as he celebrated the closing Mass of the World Meeting of Families.

“Like happiness, holiness is always tied to little gestures,” he said, drawing from Christ’s affirmation that even a cup of cold water given in his name would not go unrewarded.

“These little gestures are those we learn at home, in the family; they get lost amid all the other things we do, yet they do make each day different,” the Pope said. “They are the quiet things done by mothers and grandmothers, by fathers and grandfathers, by children, by siblings. They are little signs of tenderness, affection and compassion. Like the warm supper we look forward to at night, the early lunch awaiting someone who gets up early to go to work. Homely gestures. Like a blessing before we go to bed, or a hug after we return from a hard day’s work. Love is shown by little things, by attention to small daily signs which make us feel at home. Faith grows when it is lived and shaped by love. That is why our families, our homes, are true domestic churches. They are the right place for faith to become life, and life to grow in faith.”

The Holy Father said these things are “little miracles” and Jesus asks us to go through our every day life “encouraging all these little signs of love as signs of his own living and active presence in our world.”

The Pontiff continued: “Pointedly, yet affectionately, Jesus tells us: ‘If you, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’ (Lk 11:13). How much wisdom there is in these few words! It is true that, as far as goodness and purity of heart are concerned, we human beings don’t have much to show! But Jesus knows that, where children are concerned, we are capable of boundless generosity. So he reassures us: if only we have faith, the Father will give us his Spirit.”

A measure

Pope Francis went off-the-cuff to offer a piece of practical advice in determining how our families are doing in responding to God’s call.

“I leave you a question for each one to answer to himself, since I said the word impatient,” he said: “In my house, do we yell? Or do we speak with love and tenderness? This is a good way to measure our love.”

Pope Francis added that any family that teaches its children to welcome every gesture aimed at overcoming evil — regardless of that family’s religion or place of origin — “will encounter our gratitude and our appreciation.”

“May God grant to all of us to be prophets of the joy of the Gospel, of the Gospel of the family, of the love of families. To be prophets, as the Lord’s disciples, and grant us the grace to be worthy of this purity of heart which is not scandalized by the Gospel,” he concluded.

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Kathleen Naab

United States

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