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Audience: Marriage, the heart of God’s loving plan for humanity


(Vatican Radio) Married couples should never let the sun set on an argument; instead they must make peace by remembering to always say 'please,' 'thank you,' and 'sorry.' This was Pope Francis’ advice to husbands and wives Wednesday as he concluded his general audience catechesis on the Sacrament of Marriage. Emer McCarthy reports: RealAudioMP3

As has become tradition, the Pope toured among the cheering crowds in his open topped jeep, alighting to greet a group of children who were vigorously waving flags and banners in greeting. In his general comments in Italian, Pope Francis said: “When a man and a woman celebrate the sacrament of marriage, God, so to speak, is ‘mirrored’ in them, He marks them with His features and the indelible character of His love.”

Even God “is a communion of the three persons of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who live forever and are forever in perfect unity. And this is the mystery of marriage: God makes one existence of the two spouses — the Bible says ‘one flesh’ — in the image of His love, in a communion which draws its origin and its strength from God.”

The Pope then asked those husbands and wives present if they are aware of this “great gift” that the Lord has given them: “The real ‘wedding gift’ is this: Your marriage is a reflection of the Holy Trinity, and with the grace of Christ, you are a living and credible icon God and His love.”

“The plan that is inherent in the Sacrament of Marriage is truly wonderful! It takes place in the simplicity and also the fragility of the human condition. We know the many trials and difficulties that the lives of a married couple encounter... The important thing is to keep alive the link with God, which is the basis of the marital bond.”

Joking, the Pope added: “You don’t need to call the United Nations to your home to make peace: a small gesture is enough, a caress, and tomorrow is a new day.”

“The family that prays together stays together" (Servant of God Patrick Peyton). How much we need to go to pray in our families! At the beginning and at the end of the day, before meals, at such times and in the most delicate passages of life... We can rediscover the Rosary, which helps us feel the presence of Mary, Queen of the family and model, along with her husband Joseph, for every family... At the centre, then, can only be the celebration of the Eucharist, lived together, on Sunday: there, from the table of the Word and the Body of Christ, the bride and groom draw the strength to love each other, help each other, and forgive each other in everyday life. In this regard, a special thought should be reserved for married couples who find themselves in difficulty, so that God can help them with His love and fill them with His mercy. Dear friends, we thank the Lord for the many families who continue to animate our Christian communities, providing a precious service and a strong testimony of faith.”

Below please find the English language summary of the Holy Father’s catechesis:

Speaker: Dear Brothers and Sisters: Today we conclude our catechesis on the sacraments with the sacrament of Matrimony, which brings us to the very heart of God’s loving plan for the human family. The Triune God created us — men and women — in his image and calls us to mirror the mystery of his love. Married couples carry out this vocation in a full and definitive communion of life. As “one flesh” they become living icons of God’s love in our world, building up the Church in unity and fidelity. Christian marriage also reflects the mystery of Christ’s own faithful and sacrificial love for His body, the Church. Christian spouses thus receive a special consecration and a special mission. While a noble vocation, marriage is not an easy one: it must constantly be strengthened by a living relationship with the Lord through prayer: mornings and evenings, at meals, in the recitation of the Rosary, and above all through the Sunday Eucharist. Today let us pray for all families, especially those experiencing difficulties, so that by God’s mercy they can always be joyful models of faith, love and generous service in our communities.

Speaker: I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims present at today’s Audience, including those from England, Wales, Denmark, Norway, Malta, Japan, Canada and the United States. I am pleased to welcome the Catholic Health Care Federation from the United States and the priests of the Institute for Continuing Theological Formation at the Pontifical North American College. Upon all of you, and upon your families, I invoke joy and peace in Christ our Lord.