Below is a ZENIT translation of Pope Francis' address to the employees of the Holy See and of Vatican City State, with their respective families, for the exchange of Christmas greetings, yhis morning in the Vatican:
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Dear Brothers and Sisters, welcome!
Christmas, now close, offers us a beautiful occasion to meet with one another and to exchange greetings.
First of all, I wish to thank you for your work, for the commitment you have to do things well always, even when there is no recognition. So often one does something well and it is not acknowledged. I would like to thank particularly those among you who for the many years have been doing the same type of work — work that is often hidden; and who seek to do things as they should be done. We know that this is normal, it is simply to do one’s duty, but we also know that it’s not easy for us human beings; we are not machines – thank God! – and sometimes we are in need of an incentive, or of some change. I congratulate you who feel just pride in doing the normal everyday things to the best. Thank you! We go forward, in the different realms of work, collaborating together, with patience, seeking to help one another.
And while I thank you, I also want to ask forgiveness for the scandals that have happened in the Vatican. However, I would like my attitude and yours, especially in these days, to be above all that of prayer, to pray for the persons involved in these scandals, so that the one who has done wrong repents and is able to rediscover the right way.
There is something else I want to say to you, perhaps the most important thing: I encourage you to take care of your marriage and your children. To take care and not neglect them: to play with your children. Marriage is like a plant. It’s not like a closet, which one puts there in the room, and it’s enough to dust it every now and then. A plant is alive, it is taken care of every day: one sees how it’s doing, gives it water, and so on. Marriage is a living reality: a couple’s life is never taken for granted, in any phase of the course of the family. We remind ourselves that the most precious gift for the children is not things but the love of the parents. And I do not intend only the love of parents for the children, but in fact the love of parents between them, namely, the conjugal relation. This does you, and also your children, so much good! Don’t neglect the family!
Hence, first of all cultivate the “plant” of marriage, which you spouses are, and at the same time take care of the relation with your children, also here, focusing more on the human relation than on things. Speak to your children, listen to them, ask them what they think. This dialogue between parents and children does so much good! It makes the children grow in maturity. We focus on mercy, on daily relations, between husband and wife, between parents and children, between brothers and sisters, and we take care of the grandparents. Grandparents are so important in the family. Grandparents have memory; they have wisdom. Do not leave grandparents to one side! They are very important. A young lady was telling me that she has a seven-year-old son, and that the grandmother, in her nineties, lives with her, but that she is not altogether well, and she was advised to put her in a rest home. And this wise lady, who hasn’t studied at a university, answered the one who was advising her to put the grandmother in a home of rest: “No! I want my son to grow beside his grandmother!” She knew the good that grandparents do to grandchildren. Take care of peace in the family: we all know there is quarrelling in the family. When there is no quarrelling in a marriage, it seems abnormal. What is important is that the day not end without making peace. The Jubilee is to be lived also in the domestic Church, not only in great events! What’s more, the Lord loves one who practices mercy in ordinary circumstances. I wish you this: that you experience the joy of mercy, beginning in your family. Thank you for your work, forgive the scandals and go forward. Go forward in this community and bring my greeting and good wishes to your dear ones, to the elderly and to the sick. And, please, continue to pray for me. Thank you again and happy Christmas!
The Jubilee is to be lived also in the domestic Church, not only in great events! What’s more, the Lord loves one who practices mercy in ordinary circumstances. I wish you this: that you experience the joy of mercy, beginning in your family.
Thank you for your work, forgive the scandals and go forward. Go forward in this community and bring my greeting and good wishes to your dear ones, to the elderly and to the sick. And, please, continue to pray for me. Thank you again and happy Christmas![Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]