Pope Francis says "This message is the heart of the Gospel...every person, even and above all the smallest and most fragile, is loved by God and has a place in the Church..." FULL TEXT
ADDRESS OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE "FOI ET LUMIÈRE INTERNATIONAL" MOVEMENT
Sala Clementina - Saturday, 2 October 2021
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
I welcome you and thank Mr. Raúl Izquierdo García for his introductory words. You celebrate your Jubilee: this is a beautiful occasion of grace, to recognize the gifts that the Lord has granted you in these years of journey and to express your gratitude to him. And at the same time this Jubilee also becomes an opportunity to look to the future, to the task that the Holy Spirit still entrusts to you and to the fruits that the Church still expects from Foi et Lumière , for the vocation and mission she received from the Lord.
Fifty years have passed since that pilgrimage to Lourdes, in Easter 1971, to which people with mental disabilities, their families and many friends were invited. From that moment, under the loving gaze of Mary, the experience of Foi et Lumière began : the Holy Spirit suggested the birth of something that no one had foreseen, that is your communities, in which you celebrate joy, reconciliation and mutual communion. Thus the light and strength of the risen Lord have given hope to many people who felt excluded and rejected, sometimes even in the Church.
From that moment the Holy Spirit accompanied the journey of your Movement and many communities of "Faith and Light" were born in many countries of the five continents, carrying a message of love and acceptance. This message is the heart of the Gospel! It reminds us that every person, even and above all the smallest and most fragile, is loved by God and has a place in the Church and in the world. It is the "gospel of littleness", as Saint Paul reminds us when he writes to the Corinthians: «Consider your call, brothers: there are not many wise men among you, nor many powerful, nor many noble. But what is foolish for the world, God has chosen to confuse the wise; what is weak for the world, God has chosen to confuse the strong; what is ignoble and despised for the world, what is nothing,1 Cor 1: 26-29).
The presence of Foi et Lumière was and is a prophecy, because often the most fragile people are discarded, considered useless. And your prophecy today is even more important, to combat the throwaway culture and to remind everyone that diversity is an asset and must never become a reason for exclusion and discrimination.
We can see these fifty years of Foi et Lumière 's life as a great pilgrimage, as an ideal continuation of the first pilgrimage. And it is also an ecumenical journey, because in your communities people of different Christian confessions meet: Catholics, Protestants, Anglicans, Orthodox ... A sign of communion, a concrete seed of unity. It is precisely the most fragile people who become a source of reconciliation, because they call us all to a path of conversion.
The stretch of road you have traveled is long and full of fruit, but still today in the Church and in the world there are many who in smallness and fragility are forgotten and excluded. Therefore I encourage you to carry forward your welcoming presence with the power of the Holy Spirit; may your communities always be places of encounter, human promotion and celebration for all those who still feel marginalized and abandoned. For families who live the experience of the birth of a child with a disability, may you be a sign of hope, so that no one closes in on himself, in sadness and despair.
Within Christian communities, I invite you to have the evangelical style of leaven: do not isolate yourself and withdraw, but participate in the life of the Church in the parishes and neighborhoods, bring your experience and bear witness to God's choice for the least, the little ones, the excluded. May the spirit of communion and friendship which is part of your charism always make you instruments of reconciliation and peace, especially where there are conflicts and divisions.
The emblem that represents your experience, your "logo", is a boat on a rough sea, while the sun rises from the clouds after the storm. During this pandemic I have repeatedly reminded, thinking of the evangelical episode of the disciples in the storm, that we are all in the same boat; and therefore I confirm you in your commitment: to be, in the storms that people and families experience, a small boat on which everyone can find a place, in the certainty that on that same boat is the Lord Jesus. The sun of faith and of hope, which rises from the clouds of our fears and our insecurities, always accompany you on the path that still awaits you. The Lord bless you and Our Lady keep you. And please don't forget to pray for me. Thanks!