Pope repeats three key-words for happy family life
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis at his Wednesday General Audience continued his catechesis on the family, focusing on life within the family. “Today’s catechesis is like the gateway to a series of reflections on the life of the family, its real life, with its different times and events.” On this gateway, he said, “are written three words, which I’ve already used many times: ‘May I?’, ‘Thank you,’ and ‘Pardon me.’” These three words, Pope Francis said, “open the path” to a happy family life. “They are simple words,” he said, “but not so simple to put into practice.” These three words, when they are based not simply on good manners, but on deep love and respect for others, have great power to strengthen family life.
“The three key-words for the family are simple words, and perhaps at first they may cause us to smile,” the Holy Father said. “But when we forget them, there’s nothing to laugh about, is there?” Too often, perhaps, they may be obscured. “May the Lord help us to put them back in their proper place, in our hearts, in our homes, and even in our civil coexistence.”
At the conclusion of the Audience, Pope Francis had special greetings especially for young people, the sick, and new spouses. He recalled that May 13 is the feast of Our Lady of Fatima. “Dear young people, learn and cultivate devotion to the Mother of God, with the daily recitation of the Rosary; dear [brothers and sisters] who are ill, feel the presence of Mary in the hour of the Cross; and you dear newly-married husbands and wives, pray to her that love and mutual respect will never be lacking in your homes.”
Below, please find the English-language summary of Pope Francis’ catechesis on the family during his weekly General Audience:
Dear Brothers and Sisters: Today I would like to continue our catechesis on the family by reflecting on three phrases: “May I?”, “Thank you”, and “Pardon me”. These simple phrases are not so easy to say or to put into practice. But when they are ignored, their absence can cause cracks in the foundation of the family, which can lead to its collapse. If these words are part of our daily lives, not just as a formal expression of good manners, but as a sign of deep love for one another, they strengthen a happy family life. “May I?” – even if we think we have the right to something, when we speak to our spouse or family member with kindness we create space for a true spirit of marital and familial common life. We renew trust and respect, revealing our love for others, and we allow them to open the door of their hearts to us. “Thank you” – our society has great need for gratitude, which makes us more sensitive to the dignity of the human person and the demands of social justice. Thankfulness is also the language of God, to whom above all we must express our gratitude. “Pardon me” – Without these words, hurt can develop in our relationships, and weaken our life as a family. But when we ask forgiveness, we show our desire to restore what was lost – respect, honesty, love – and healing between family members is made possible. “May I?”, “Thank you”, “Pardon me” – Let us ask the Lord to keep these three phrases in our hearts, our homes and our communities.