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Friday, September 26, 2014

Pope Francis receives in audience the Focolare Movement

Vatican City, 26 September 2014 (VIS) – Contemplate, go forth, and educate: these were the three directions Pope Francis gave this morning to the Focolare Movement, whose general assembly takes place in Rome this week.

The Work of Mary, better known as the Focolare Movement, was born within the bosom of the Catholic Church “from a small seed that, over the years, has grown into a tree that now extends its branches in all the expressions of the Christian family and also among members of different religions, and among many who cultivate justice and solidarity alongside the search for truth”.

Pope Francis referred with great affection and admiration to Chiara Lubich, founder and firs president of the Focolare Movement, commenting that, “faithful to the charism from which it was born and by which it is nurtured, the Focolare Movement now finds itself faced with the same task that awaits the Church as a whole: offering, with responsibility and creativity, its special contribution to this new season of evangelisation”. He gave three directions on how to achieve this: contemplate, go forth, and educate.

To contemplate, it is necessary to “enlarge one's inner capacity to accommodate Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit, to make contemplation the indispensable condition for a supportive presence and effective action that is truly free and pure”. To contemplate means living in the company of brothers and sisters, breaking the bread of communion and fraternity with them, together crossing the threshold that leads to the Father, since contemplation that excludes others is a deception. It is narcissism”.

The next step is to “go forth like Jesus from the bosom of the Father to proclaim the word of love to all, unto His sacrifice on the Cross. We must learn from Him, from Jesus, the 'drive to go forth and give, to go out from ourselves, to keep pressing forward in our sowing of the good seed'. We must not linger, but rather, with God's help, must aim high and broaden our horizons! And to do this, we must go forth with courage 'unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach'. He awaits us in the suffering and in the cries of our brothers, in the wounds of society and in the questions posed by the culture of our times. It pains the heart when we see a Church, faced with a humanity with many wounds – moral, existential, of war – making philosophical, theological and spiritual Byzantisms, while lacking a spirituality of action. It is necessary to go forth, because the Church is like a field hospital. In this type of hospital, the first thing you do is tend to the injured, rather than analysing their cholesterol levels; you do that later”.

Finally, the third direction: educate. “It is necessary, as the Gospel demands, to form new men and women, and to do this there must be a school in humanity that measures up to the humanity of Jesus. … Without adequate education of the new generations, it is illusory to imagine the realisation of a serious and lasting project in the service of a new humanity”.

“Chiara Lubich, in her time, coined an expression that remains relevant in our times”, concluded the Holy Father. “Today, she said, we need to form 'world-people', men and women with the soul, the heart and the mind of Jesus and therefore capable of recognising and interpreting the needs, worries and hopes that reside in the heart of every person”.

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