By Bishop Michael Kennedy, Australian Catholic Bishop Delegate for Marriage
“Waste time with families” was the fatherly advice Pope Francis gave to bishops, and by extension to all priests, on the final day of the World Meeting of Families held recently in Philadelphia. For many years “wasting time with God” has been my own approach to God and time with him in prayer so I was delighted to hear the Holy Father say we must approach families and the time we spend with them in the same way.
When in the presence of those we love we are happy just to be with them; we don’t have to be doing anything in particular, we simply ‘hang out’ and spend time with each other. From this “quantity time” as opposed to “quality time” there emerges a deepening of relationships, mutual understanding and appreciation, and growth in love. It also provides the opportunity to accompany and support each other through difficulties. We know from experience that simply “being there” for somebody is often all that’s needed. “Wasting time with families” is not just good advice for bishops and priests; it’s good advice for everybody.