Today Francis continued his series of catecheses on the family by speaking about mothers: Women’s “daily struggle” to juggle work and family is often taken for granted. The Pope also thanked the Golden Circus: “Humanity greatly needs beauty”
Yesterday Francis continued his series of catecheses on the family by speaking about mothers: Women’s “daily struggle” to juggle work and family is often taken for granted. The Pope also thanked the Golden Circus: “Humanity greatly needs beauty”
In the first General Audience of 2015 Pope Francis mentioned San Salvador’s Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero who was killed by death squads in 1980. Today the Pope resumed his series of catecheses on the family speaking about mothers. He did so ahead of the Ordinary Synod next October. At the end of the Audience the Pope thanked the Circus, which put on a brief performance for him and stressed that today’s humanity “greatly needs beauty”.
“Every human person owes their life to a mother,” the Pope said. But “for all our symbolic glorification of mothers – all the poetry and poetic things that are said about mothers – their important contribution to the life of society, their daily sacrifices and their aspirations are not always properly appreciated,” he added. In fact, “the availability of mothers to sacrifice themselves for their children is often used to ‘save’ on social spending”. Even in the Christian community mothers do not always receive their dues or are not appreciated enough.” “Often mothers are not listened to. We should better understand their daily struggle to be efficient at work as well as attentive and loving in the family. We should better understand their aspirations in order to express the best and truest results of their emancipation. A mother with children always has problems; she is always working. I remember at home, we were five. If one did one thing, another thought about doing something else. Our poor mother went from one to the other; yet she was happy. She gave us so much.” “Mothers,” the Pope stressed, “are the strongest antidote to the spread of selfish individualism. [. . .] Individual means ‘what cannot be split. Mothers split themselves, from child bearing and giving the child to the world to raising him or her.”
“Mothers hate war the most for it kills their children. I thought so many times about mothers, when they received a letter that says, ‘. . . your son fell in defence of the country . . .’ Poor women, how much do mothers suffer! They bear witness to the beauty of life”. [The Salvadoran] Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero spoke of the “martyrdom of mothers.” During the homily he pronounced on 15 May 1977 at the funeral of Fr. Alfonso Navarro Oviedo, a priest killed by death squads, the prelate referred back to the Second Vatican Council saying that “We must all be prepared to die for our faith, even if the Lord does not do us this honour … Giving one’s life does not just mean dying; giving one’s life, being martyrs also means giving life gradually, in silence, in prayer, in the honest fulfilment of one’s duty, in the silence of everyday life” as a mother does, “who, without fear, with the simplicity of motherly martyrdom conceives a child in her womb, gives birth, nurses, raises and cares for him or her with affection. This is giving life. This is martyrdom.” The Pope made no mention of Romero’s beatification process which was “unblocked” after Francis was elected Pope.
A society without mothers, the Pope said, “would be an inhumane society, since mothers always know how to show, even in the worst moments, tenderness, dedication, and moral strength.” “Without mothers, not only there would be no new believers, but faith would lose much of its simple and profound warmth.” The Pope ended his catechesis with a word of gratitude: The Church “is our mother! We are not orphans; we have a mother! Our Lady, Mother Church and our mother. We are not orphans; we are children of the Church; we are children of Our Lady; and we are children of our mothers.” “Dear mothers, thank you; thank you for what you are in the family and for what you give to the Church and the world. To you, beloved Church, thank you, thank you for being a mother. To you Mary, Mother of God, thank you for making us see Jesus. Equally, we salute all the mothers present here with an applause.”
At the end of the Audience, which was held in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope, amongst other things, remembered the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp, greeting German and Polish pilgrims. He also gave some words of encouragement to newlywed couples (“I call them the courageous ones because getting married takes courage, they are great”). The Pope then spontaneously sent out a special thanks to the performers of Liana Orfei’s Golden Circus who put on a brief performance to mark the start of the year: “circus performers are creators of beauty and this is good for the soul. We are in great need of beauty!” In our daily lives we speak with our hands, we speak with our minds, we think. We also speak through the heart. All three languages come together to create the harmony of the person. That is where beauty lies. The people who performed today for us,” Francis said, “are creators of harmony, creators of beauty, who teach us the higher road of beauty. God is certainly true; God is certainly good; God knows certainly how to do things; he created the world; but above all God is beautiful! God’s beauty. Very often, we forget about beauty, do we not? Humanity thinks, feels, does, but today it greatly needs beauty.”