The Importance Of Family
The following is taken from The 7th Annual Meeting with Families with Pope Benedict XVI (June 2, 2012) in Milan. The following is a question asked by a 7-year-old Vietnamese girl about the Pope's experience with his family. I share this with you and ask for your prayers for the healing and support of families.
1 CAT TIEN (Vietnamese girl): Hello Papa. I am Cat Tien and I come from Vietnam.
I am seven years old and I wish to present my family to you. This is my Dad, Dan, and my mother is called Tao, and this is my little brother Binh.
I would very much like to know something about your own family and when you were very young like me.
HOLY FATHER: Thank you, my dear, and warm thanks also to your parents. You have asked me about my family memories. They are so many, and I can only speak of a few. The most important moment for our family was always Sunday, but Sunday really began on Saturday afternoon. My father would read out the Sunday readings from a book that was very popular in Germany at that time, which also included explanations of the texts. That is how we began our Sunday, entering into the Liturgy in an atmosphere of joy. The next day we would go to Mass. My home is very close to Salzburg and so we had plenty of music – Mozart, Schubert, Haydn – and when the Kyrie began it was as if Heaven was opening up. Then once we were back home, naturally our Sunday meal together was important. We sang a lot together. My brother is a fine musician; he was already composing pieces for all of us as a boy, and the whole family would sing them. My father would play the zither and sing. These were unforgettable moments. Naturally we would go on journeys and walks together. We lived near a forest and it was so enjoyable to walk and have adventures and play there. In a word, we were one in heart and soul, enjoying so many experiences together, even though times were hard, as this was during the war: first we had the dictatorship and then poverty. But the mutual love that we shared, our joy, even in simple things, was so strong that it enabled us to endure and overcome these things. I think it is very important to understand that even little things were a source of joy because they were an expression of warm-heartedness. And so we grew up convinced that it was good to be human, because we saw God’s goodness reflected in our parents and our brothers and sisters. And indeed when I try to imagine what Heaven will be like, I think it must be like the time when I was a small boy. In this environment of trust, joy and love, we were happy, and I think that Heaven must be rather like those early years. So in a way, I am hoping to return “home” when I leave for “the other part of the world”.