Pope to Focolare Movement: ‘The world needs artisans of peace’
Pope Francis marks the 80th anniversary of the Focolare Movement expressing appreciation for its commitment to unity, love, and peace, inspired by the life of its founder, Servant of God Chiara Lubich.
Pope Francis on Thursday welcomed representatives of the Focolare Movement whom he received in audience in the Vatican, and immediately recalled the moment when the movement's founder, Chiara Lubich, amidst the ordinary tasks of life during the turbulent times of World War II, made a radical act of dedication to God.
On December 7, 1943, in Trento, Italy, the Pope said Chiara's "yes" mirrored that of the Virgin Mary, and gave birth to the Focolare Movement, also known as the Work of Mary.
"From an inspiration she received within a context of everyday life – while shopping for groceries for her family – arose a radical act of donation to God," he said, and he expressed gratitude for the work of the Focolare Movement that celebrates its 80th anniversary.
Spread the message of unity
The Holy Father upheld the Focolare Movement's significant role in spreading the message of unity for the past eight decades.
Recalling that the movement's mission is to live the Gospel through a single, simple word: unity, he said that unity also implies harmony and he encouraged members to continue fostering mutual respect and familial warmth within their communities.
"In these eighty years, you have echoed this message among the youth, communities, families, consecrated individuals, priests, bishops, and in various social environments," he said.
Living the charism
The Pope then reminded Focolare members of Chiara Lubich's words, urging them to sow unity by bringing the Gospel message to others.
"Please sow unity by bringing the Gospel, never losing sight of the work of incarnation that God continues to want to accomplish in and around us through His Spirit," he appealed.
Artisans of fraternity and peace
Addressing the urgent need for peace in today's broken world, the Pope emphasized the ongoing relevance of the Focolare Movement's commitment to peace, and called on them to be witnesses and builders of the peace of Christ on the cross.
Never neglecting to express his concern for the persisting global conflicts and the devastating impact of war on lives he said "Today, unfortunately, the world is still torn by many conflicts and continues to need artisans of fraternity and peace among individuals and nations."
In his message that also resonated with the readings of the just begun season of Advent, Pope Francis invited Focolare members to remain vigilant against the trap of spiritual worldliness.
He warned against inconsistency and highlighted the importance of coherence between words and actions, noting that inconsistency is the worst witness.
"The trap of spiritual worldliness always lies in wait. It is necessary, therefore, that you also know how to react with determination, coherence, and realism,” he said.
The work of Mary
Concluding his discourse, the Pope recalled the Focolare Movement is known as “the Work of Mary”, and he invoked the Blessed Virgin as a source of comfort and strength for the movement.
Blessing all of its members, he encouraged them to continue their journey with confidence, serving as apostles of unity in the service of the Church and humanity:
"Dear brothers and sisters, as we have already recalled, you are the Work of Mary: She has accompanied you in these eighty years, and you know well that She will never stop doing so."