Pompeii, April 30, 1996
On the occasion of the conferral of the honorary citizenship of Pompeii to Chiara Lubich, she gave an outline of Mary’s influence in Her Work (the Focolare Movement), showing Mary’s universal motherhood.
Chiara: Your Excellencies, Mr. Mayor, Ladies and Gentlemen, Brothers and Sisters,
Thank you very much for the honour you have given me of being a “citizen of Pompeii”.
It is a heartfelt thank you, because being a citizen of Pompeii gives me the very sweet impression, which is a reality, of becoming part of the city of Mary.
For me, it is a great gift because, as stated in the motivations for this honour, Mary certainly has a central place in my life (and I add: in what I represent). Consequently, the Marian nature of this honorary citizenship is significant.
Allow me to illustrate it with a few words.
First of all, because after God, Mary is everything for me, and for us.
Because of a special charism, in fact, which we can describe as a “Marian” one, (which came to us fifty years ago, giving rise and then development to the Focolare Movement), we had a profound and, in a certain sense, a new understanding of the Holy Virgin, of the Mother of God. She is at the centre of our thoughts, of our life, of our affections and also of our studies.
We seek to honour her not only in her extraordinary privileges ..., but we also strive, with the help of God, to imitate Her in the different stages of her life, according to our condition and age. We imitate her as a little girl, whose life was directed towards God, or as a young woman, as someone engaged, or married, as a virgin, or a widow. We entrust ourselves to Her and hope that what St. Louis de Montfort and Maximilian Kolbe said may come true for us too: that there may be a special presence of Mary in our soul, so that all that we do may, in some way, be Her work.
The Focolare Movement, which I belong to, which we belong to - and this is the second motivation for the honorary citizenship - is nothing other than Her Work, the Work of Mary. In fact, our Movement has been approved by the Church with this name: “Work of Mary”.
Yes, Mary is our model, the model for our communities, for the whole Work of Mary, which is a little like a Marian reality, spread throughout the world. There Her wonderful virtues continue to shine forth and Her motherly actions reach out to the benefit of men and women today and first of all to the needy.
This is why - and now we come to another motivation for the citizenship - whoever belongs to this Movement can be described (without any merit of our own, but only because of the grace of God) as a “woman or man of peace”.
What kind of peace? That peace which is truer, more effective, more lasting and more fruitful: the peace which is Jesus Himself, the King, the Prince of peace.
It is actually about Jesus, generating his spiritual presence into the world, as [Pope] Paul VI would say. “Where two or three are united in His name..., which means in His love, Christ is in our midst” (cf Mt. 18:20).
Jesus is what the Movement wants to bring into the world, everywhere in the world, like Mary.
Jesus is the person I want to live on a daily basis, amongst us and with many others, so that His peace, true peace, may be ensured for as many people as possible.
Thank you for the privilege you have granted me, and may Mary bless all of you, especially those who decided to give me this honour.
May Mary take us all under her mantle and may she continue to work miracles of peace, goodness, conversions and action, both in the religious and civil fields, in this city of ours.