Pope Francis offers strong advice to Valentine's Day celebrants in St. Peter's Square
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Inviting engaged couples to mark Saint Valentine's Day with him, more than 10,000 couples from all over the world flocked to St. Peter's Square to celebrate the holiday with Pope Francis. It's estimated that 25,000 people from 28 countries were in attendance. In his address, Pope Francis encouraged couples to have the courage to make lasting choices, which can be challenging in today's "throw-away culture."
Inviting engaged couples to mark Saint Valentine's Day with him, more than 10,000 couples from all over the world flocked to St. Peter's Square to celebrate the holiday with Pope Francis.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "It's important to ask whether it's possible to love one another forever," Pope Francis said. "Today many believe that making lifetime definitive choices is impossible. That's what leads many who get married to think: 'We will stay together until it lasts.'"
Francis encouraged young couples to look beyond the here and now to build a future together. "A house must be built together, not alone! My dear couples, you are preparing to grow up together. Don't build your house on the sand of feelings that come and go. Build it on the rock of real love."
The pope reminded those gathered that Valentine's Day is named after a priest who was killed in the 3rd century for marrying Christian couples during the Roman Empire, when Christians were still persecuted.
It was an opportunity for Pope Francis to celebrate more than just the idea of Christian love; specifically, the institution of marriage. The pope warned the young couples of the many challenges that lay ahead - including dealing with mothers-in-law.
"We all know the perfect family does not exist. The perfect husband does not exist and the perfect wife does not exist," he said. Then, after pausing as if for comic effect, he added: "Let's not even talk about perfect mothers-in-law." The crowd roared with laughter.
Pope Francis also said that marriage must be built on the rock of love not the shifting sands of emotions, Pope Francis told ten thousand engaged couples today.
"It is important to ask ourselves if it is possible to love one another 'forever'. Today many people are afraid of making definitive decisions, that affect them for all their lives, because it seems impossible . and this mentality leads many who are preparing for marriage to say, 'We will stay together for as long as our love lasts.'
"But what do we mean by 'love'? A mere emotion, a psycho-physical state? Certainly, if it is just this, it cannot provide the foundation for building something solid. But if instead love is a relationship, then it is a growing reality, and we can also say, by way of example, that it is built in the same way that we build a house. And we build a house together, not alone! . You would not wish to build it on the shifting sands of emotions, but on the rock of true love, the love that comes from God.
"The family is born of this project of love that wishes to grow, as one builds a house that becomes the locus of affection, help, hope and support. Just as God's love is stable and lasts forever, we want the love on which a family is based to be stable and to last forever. We must not allow ourselves to be conquered by a 'throwaway culture'. This fear of 'forever' is cured by entrusting oneself day by day to the Lord Jesus in a life that becomes a daily spiritual path of common growth, step by step. Because 'forever' is not simply a question of duration! A marriage does not succeed just because it lasts; its quality is also important. To stay together and to know how to love each other for ever is the challenge Christian married couples face! ."
Following a question from one of the young couples Pope Francis said that "living together was an art." He said that couples who live together must remember three phrases: "thank you," "please" and "sorry."
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