Pope Francis says "...the will of the Lord Jesus: that all Christians may be one, to the praise and glory of the Triune God and that the world may believe in Jesus Christ." FULL TEXT to Focolare




Hall of the Popes
Saturday, 25 September 2021



Dear brothers and sisters,

I greet you all with affection, and I thank you for having wanted this meeting, even if most of you participate from afar. But we are close, indeed, united in the one Body and the one Spirit!

I greet Cardinal Francis Xavier Kovithavanij, who was unable to come because of his illness: we pray for a prompt recovery! And I thank the Bishops who presented the experience of these meetings of yours, which began forty years ago. A path of friendship that has a strong root, a solid root. And on this I would like to reflect with you.

The Work of Mary, or Focolare Movement, has always cultivated, for the charism received from its founder Chiara Lubich, the meaning and service of unity: unity in the Church, unity among all believers, unity in the whole world, "a concentric circles". This makes us think of the definition that the Second Vatican Council gave of the Church: "the sacrament, that is, the sign and instrument of intimate union with God and of the unity of the whole human race" (Const. Lumen gentium, 1). In the midst of the lacerations and destructions of the war, the Spirit placed a seed of fraternity in the young heart of Chiara, a seed of communion. A seed that developed and grew from that group of friends in Trento, attracting men and women of every language and nation with the power of God's love, which creates unity without canceling differences, rather, enhancing and harmonizing them. . I am reminded of what he says of Basil [of Caesarea] of the Spirit: “ Ipse unitas est, ipse est harmonia ”.

The "kinship" - so to speak - that exists between this charism and the ministry of bishops is evident. We bishops are at the service of the people of God, so that they may be built in the unity of faith, hope and charity. In the heart of the bishop, the Holy Spirit impresses the will of the Lord Jesus: that all Christians may be one, to the praise and glory of the Triune God and that the world may believe in Jesus Christ (cf. Jn 17:21). Pope, bishops, we are not at the service of an external unity, of a "uniformity", no, but of the mystery of communion which is the Church in Christ and in the Holy Spirit , the Church as a living Body, as a people on a journey through history and at the same time beyond history. People sent into the world to bear witness to Christ, because he,Lumen gentium , Light of the Gentiles, may he draw everyone to himself with the meek and merciful force of his Paschal Mystery.

Dear brothers, this, we can say, is God's "dream". It is his plan to reconcile and harmonize everything and everyone in Christ (cf. Eph 1:10; Col 1:20). This is also the "dream" of fraternity , to which I dedicated the Encyclical Brothers All . Faced with the "shadows of a closed world", where many dreams of unity "are shattered", where "a project for all" is missing and globalization navigates "without a common route", where the scourge of the pandemic risks exacerbating inequalities , the Spirit calls us to “have the audacity - the parrhesia - to be one”, as the title of your meeting says. Dare to unity. Starting from the awareness that unity is a gift - it is the other part of the title.

The courage of unity is witnessed above all by the saints: a few days ago we celebrated St. Cornelius, Pope, and St. Cyprian, bishop. It is to the latter that we owe the stupendous definition of the Church as "a people gathered in the unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit" ( De Orat. Dom . 23: PL 4, 553). But let us also think of many witnesses of our times, pastors and laity, who had "the audacity of unity", paying a very high price in person. Because the unity that Jesus Christ has given us and gives us is not unanimous, it is not getting along at all costs. It obeys a fundamental criterion, which is respect for the person, respect for the face of the other, especially for the poor, for the little one, for the excluded.

Dear brothers and sisters, I thank you again for this meeting. Above all, I thank you for the commitment with which you carry out this path of friendship - I recommend: always open, never exclusive - to grow in the service of communion. Keep smiling, which is part of your charisma. I pray for you and your communities. The Lord bless you and Our Lady keep you. And please don't forget to pray for me.

Bless us all the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

FULL TEXT Source: Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation