09/19/2018, 09.02
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Pope: honors your parents and 'if you left them, make an effort, come home to them’

"Honoring the father and the mother means recognizing their importance also through concrete acts, which express dedication, affection and care". "The word 'happiness' in the Decalogue appears only related to the relationship with parents. This multi-thousand-year-old wisdom declares what the human sciences have only been able to elaborate for a little over a century: that the imprint of childhood marks the whole of life ".

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "To honor our parents with freedom of adult children and with merciful acceptance of their limits", and "'if you left them, make an effort, come home to them". The general audience today was dedicated to the Fourth Commandment, in which Pope Francis, continuing to illustrate the Decalogue, asked, off the cuff: "Please never insult parents, never, never. Make this internal decision, never insult your mother or father. Never".

"'Honor your father and your mother' - he emphasized by greeting the Polish faithful - is not an insensible intimation nor wishful thinking, but it is a commandment of God".

But, he said in his speech to the 30 thousand people present in St. Peter's Square, "What is this “honor”? The Hebrew term indicates the glory, the value, literally the “weight,” the consistency of a reality. It’s not a question of exterior ways but of truth. In the Scriptures, to honor God means to recognize His reality, to reckon with His presence. This is expressed also with rites, but above all it implies to give God the just place in one’s existence. Therefore, to honor the father and the mother means to recognize their importance also with concrete acts, which express dedication, affection and care”.

“However, it’s not only about this.The Fourth Word has a characteristic: it’s the Commandment that contains an outcome. It says, in fact: “Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you; that your days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with you, in the land which the Lord your God gives you” (Deuteronomy 5:16). To honor one’s parents leads to a long happy life. The word “happiness” in the Decalogue appears only in connection with the relationship with parents.This age-old wisdom states what the human sciences were able to elaborate only little more than a century ago: which is that the imprint of childhood marks a lifetime. It can often be easy to understand if someone has grown up in a healthy and balanced environment, but equally one can perceive if a person comes from experiences of abandonment or violence. Our childhood is somewhat like indelible ink; it’s expressed in tastes, in ways of being, even if some try to hide the wounds of their origins”.

“However, the Fourth Commandment says even more. It doesn’t speak of the parents’ goodness; it doesn’t require that fathers and mothers be perfect. It speaks of an act of children, regardless of the parents’ merits, and it says an extraordinary and liberating thing: even if not all parents are good and not all childhoods are serene, all children can be happy, because the attainment of a full and happy life depends on the just recognition of one who has brought us into the world. We think of how this Word can be constructive for so many young people that come from histories of pain, and for all those that have suffered in their youth. Many Saints — and very many Christians — lived, after a painful childhood, a luminous life because, thanks to Jesus Christ, they were reconciled with life”.

“Regardless of what history man comes from, by this Commandment he receives the direction that leads to Christ: in Him, in fact, the true Father is manifested, who offers us to be “born anew from on high” (Cf. John 3:3-8). The enigmas of our lives are illumined when we discover that God has always prepared us for a life as His children, where every act is a mission received from Him”.

“Our wounds begin to be potentialities when by grace we discover that the true enigma is no longer “why?” but “for whom?” has this happened to me. In view of what work has God forged me through my history? Here everything is reversed, everything becomes precious; everything becomes constructive”. 

“This wonderful life is offered to us, not imposed: to be born anew in Christ is a grace to receive freely (Cf. John 1:11-13), and it’s the treasure of our Baptism in which, by the work of the Holy Spirit, only one is our Father, that of Heaven (Cf. Matthew 23:9; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:6)”.


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