General Audience: The Beauty of Family Bonds

Francis used a text from the Book of Ruth to show how loving family bonds produce wonders.

Newsroom (27/04/2022 8:45 PM Gaudium Press) Pope Francis continued his catechesis on old age to the General Audience, based this time on a text from the Book of Ruth. When Ruth’s husband died, her mother-in-law Naomi – a widow whose children had died – encouraged her to return to her family and find a new husband; however, Ruth refused to abandon her. The story does not end there but has several twists and turns in which new family unions are established.

“Today, we will continue to reflect on the elderly, on grandparents, on old age – the word seems ugly, but no, the elderly are great, they are beautiful! And today, we will let ourselves be inspired by the splendid book of Ruth, a jewel of the Bible. The parable of Ruth sheds light on the beauty of family bonds: generated by the relationship of a couple, but which go beyond it, said the Pope.

The multiple aspects of fundamental affections

The parable of Ruth illuminates the beauty of family bonds that begin in the relationship between two spouses but that go beyond that bond and establish “bonds of love capable of being equally strong, in which the perfection of that polyhedron of fundamental affections that make up the family grammar of love shines. This grammar brings vital lymph and generative wisdom to the set of relationships that build up the community,” Francis noted.

After saying that Naomi seems more resigned than happy with her daughter-in-law’s offer, the Pontiff recalled that “in certain cases, the tendency of the elderly to pessimism needs to be countered by the affectionate pressure of the young.” Moreover, the Pope pointed out that Naomi, who was full of bitterness and even said that her name was bitterness, in her old age, will know the joy of having a part in the generation of a new birth. Look how many “miracles” accompany the conversion of this elderly woman! She converts to the commitment of making herself available, with love, for the future of a generation wounded by loss and at risk of abandonment.”

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“And all this because the young Ruth is obstinate in her fidelity to a bond exposed to ethnic and religious prejudice,” the Pontiff highlighted. 

“If the young open themselves to gratitude for what they have received, and the elderly take the initiative of relaunching their future, nothing can stop the flourishing of God’s blessings among peoples,” the Pope concluded.

With information from Vatican News.

Compiled by Gustavo Kralj

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