Brig, 11 August 1989
Each year, on the feast of St. Clare of Assisi, Chiara Lubich used to speak about a subject related to the life or spirituality of this great saint whose name she adopted. Here she emphasized St Clare’s “faithfulness to the charism God gave her”, inviting everyone to imitate her in living the charism of unity.
… Last year we left one another thinking about this feast day, about St. Clare and her spirituality. Having looked over the previous years and all the thoughts that St. Clare and her spirituality have given us over the years, we said: “Well, we are leaving and we want to be faithful to our charism as she was faithful to hers. Hers was poverty, ours is unity.”
So, this is what I would like: for us to go home with this faithfulness. And the focolarini here have made themselves one: [we can’t want] more than that...
Unity. I would like us to pursue unity on three fronts this year.
First of all unity with God. I spoke about this at the conference call yesterday, which I think all of you heard. I don’t want to add anything more except to emphasise what I already said, not to multiply things unnecessarily. Just one of these things is enough to make us saints. So union with God, which means union with his will, to burn up our own will, to be a burning flame, to be flame, because apart from anything else we are part of the Focolare Movement and if a focolare, a hearth, does not have fire in it, I ask myself what is it doing? So let’s go ahead on this track of union with God.
Then something a bit.... that might seem a bit …. In order to go ahead, we must make unity – and we discovered this looking over these years of ideal life - also with those who represent God for us. Why am I saying this? Because I know that this is in danger. Today people want to hear about Christianity, even about Jesus and yes about the Gospel; but [not about] the Church, the bishops, the Pope.... There are even people, even consecrated people, who don’t want to hear about the Pope, who want..., to challenge the Pope.
At the moment I am reading quite a lot, or rather I am reading a few very nice and well-chosen thoughts on the Holy Spirit, and I found a lovely definition of a person who has the Holy Spirit. So you can look into your soul immediately and see if you are like this. A Father of the Church says: “A person who has the Holy Spirit is someone who knows how to recognise the divine in others”.
This has always been one of our Movement’s characteristics right from the start. When a representative of the Church – the Pope, his representative, or a bishop, came to see us at our meetings, in the Mariapolises, we were all happy. But there was a reason for this. It was because we were able to grasp in his words, in what he was saying, in his attitude, in his love, something that we did not find in others. From the time we were young we said: “Not even the best theologians are saying these things, or saying them like this.”
Why was this? Because, thank God, we had this charism within us which is a gift of the Holy Spirit and we knew how to discern the divine in others. This was an enormous help in making unity with these people who represented the Church.
Because here is the problem, here is the mistake people make today: believing that Jesus said “love one another” and that he did not say certain other things which then formed the skeleton of the Church, which support the Church, the hierarchy of the Church. Instead, out of that same mouth came these things too: “You are Peter and upon this rock...” he said. And he... - as Paul VI said – he gave life to the hierarchy, his own words gave rise to the hierarchy.
So, first of all: unity with God, burning up our own will. Secondly: full unity with those who represent God for us, going against the current and challenging all those who don’t want to know about this, because we know that we are in the truth.
Of course, this has consequences within the Movement too. There are people responsible within the Movement. The words of Jesus “Who hears you, hears me” are about them too, in some way, because our Statutes and your Regulations, of the religious, the sisters and so on are approved by the Church, so there is a will of the Church, the will of those who represent God for us. Those people responsible should be obeyed. So within our Movement too we must be an army arrayed in the deepest unity.
The third thing: unity amongst us. Why this? Because if we are united as I hope we are now the Risen Lord is in our midst. But do you realise that the Risen Lord is something wonderful? You may believe that it is just a word, a type of presence; you may believe that it is a spot of Holy Spirit. But, you know, the Risen Lord is in Heaven at the right hand of the Father and like the Father he is filled with the Holy Spirit, in that he is risen, he is the fullness, he is all spiritualised. And he is here in our midst. He said this: “I will be with you all days until the end of the world”. So where is he? Ah – we know where – in many places: he is in the Eucharist, in his Word, in the Church’s representatives, in the poor, in every person. He is also in our midst. So our charism emphasises this presence in a particular way: his presence amongst us, the Risen Lord, who is full of the Holy Spirit.
At Montet I gave the focolarini an example which might seem a little strange, because examples are never exact: “You know when you touch an electric current you get a shock. So, if you establish the presence of Jesus in the midst, you get the Holy Spirit”. That is how it is because he is all Holy Spirit, he in our midst.
Because look, in the Church the Spirit of God is something alive, not something so so..., From time to time the Holy Spirit, according to the needs of humanity, inspires certain words from the Gospel, and produces spiritualities that are very suited to the times. Now, in times like ours, when there is communion, fellowship, community, he has emphasised this presence. We are not going to ignore the others, far from it, we nourish ourselves on the Eucharist precisely so as to make Jesus in the midst present, but so that Jesus is present in our midst.
Okay, you will say, but this presence is ours too.... But we are an expression of the Church; we are an expression of the Church today, a child of the church who is shouting “Unity among peoples, unity among peoples, unity among peoples”. Why is this? Because this cry is already in the Church, it is deep within her, and today she is bringing it out through this little child who is us.
So, unity with God, unity with the Church, unity amongst us so that the Risen Lord shines out in our midst.
So thank you for everything. Goodbye to everyone.