Pope Francis says "I invite you to accompany me in the prophecy for peace - Christ, the Lord of peace!" to Communion and Liberation - FULL TEXT + Video

St. Peter's Square
Saturday, October 15, 2022
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning and welcome!
You have come in many, from Italy and from various countries. Your movement does not lose its ability to rally and mobilize. I thank you for having wished to show your communion with the Apostolic See and your affection for the Pope. I thank the President of the Fraternity, prof. Davide Prosperi, as well as Hassina and Rose, who shared their experiences. I greet the Cardinal Prefect, Cardinal Farrell and the Cardinals and Bishops present.

We are gathered to commemorate the centenary of the birth of Mons. Luigi Giussani. And we do it with gratitude in the soul, as we have heard from Rose and Hassina. I express my personal gratitude for the good he has done me, as a priest, to meditate on some books by Fr Giussani - as a young priest -; and I also do it as universal Pastor for all that he has been able to sow and radiate everywhere for the good of the Church. And how could those who were his friends, his children and his disciples fail to remember him with moving gratitude? Thanks to his priestly paternity passionate in communicating Christ, they have grown in faith as a gift that gives meaning, human breadth and hope to life. Fr Giussani was a father and teacher, he was a servant of all the anxieties and human situations that he was encountering in his educational and missionary passion. The Church recognizes his pedagogical and theological genius, deployed from a charism that was given to him by the Holy Spirit for "common utility". It is not mere nostalgia that leads us to celebrate this centenary, but it is the grateful memory of his presence: not only in our biographies and in our hearts, but in the communion of saints, from where he intercedes for all of him.
I know, dear friends, brothers and sisters, that transition periods are not easy at all, when the founding father is no longer physically present. Many Catholic foundations have experienced this throughout history. We must thank Father Julian CarrĂ³n for his service in leading the movement during this period and for having kept the helm of communion with the pontificate firm. However, there was no lack of serious problems, divisions, and certainly also an impoverishment in the presence of an ecclesial movement as important as Communion and Liberation, from which the Church, and myself, hopes for more, much more. Times of crisis are times of recapitulation of your extraordinary history of charity, culture and mission; they are times of critical discernment of what has limited the fruitful potential of Fr Giussani's charism; they are times of missionary renewal and relaunch in the light of the current ecclesial moment, as well as of the needs, sufferings and hopes of contemporary humanity. The crisis makes us grow. It should not be reduced to conflict, which cancels. The crisis makes us grow.
Certainly Fr Giussani is praying for unity in all the articulations of your movement; safe. You know well that unity does not mean uniformity. Do not be afraid of the different sensitivities and confrontation in the path of the movement. It cannot be otherwise in a movement in which all the adherents are called to live personally and share the charism received co-responsibly. Everyone lives it originally and also in community. Yes, this is important: that unity is stronger than the dispersive forces or the dragging on of old oppositions. A unity with those and those who lead the movement, unity with the Pastors, unity in carefully following the indications of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, and unity with the Pope, who is the servant of communion in truth and in charity.
Do not waste your precious time in chatter, diffidence and opposition. Please! Don't waste your time!
Now I would like to recall some aspects of Fr Giussani's rich personality: his charisma, his vocation as an educator, his love for the Church.
1. Fr Giussani, a charismatic man. He was certainly a man of great personal charisma, capable of attracting thousands of young people and touching their hearts. We can ask ourselves: where did his charisma come from? He came from something he had experienced firsthand: as a boy, only fifteen, he had been struck by the discovery of the mystery of Christ. He had intuited - not only with his mind but with his heart - that Christ is the unifying center of all reality, he is the answer to all human questions, he is the fulfillment of every desire for happiness, for good, for love, for eternity. present in the human heart. The amazement and fascination of this first encounter with Christ have never abandoned him. As the then Cardinal Ratzinger said at his funeral: "Fr Giussani always kept the gaze of his life and his heart fixed on Christ. In this way he understood that Christianity is not an intellectual system, a package of dogmas, a moralism, but that Christianity is an encounter; a love story; it is an event ». Here lies the root of his charisma. Fr Giussani attracted, convinced, converted hearts because he passed on to others what he carried within him after that fundamental experience of him: the passion for man and the passion for Christ as the fulfillment of man. Many young people followed him because young people have a great flair. What he said came from his experience and from his heart, therefore it inspired trust, sympathy and interest.

The President said that you are committed to ensuring that the charism given to Fr Giussani for the good of the whole Church always produces new fruits. This is the wise custody of the gift transmitted to you, a custody that is not only conservative of the past but which, enlivened by the Holy Spirit, knows how to recognize and welcome the new shoots of this tree which is your movement, which lives in the good soil of the ecclesial communion.
In this regard, you may ask yourself: how can we respond to the needs of change of the present time by safeguarding the charism? First of all, it is important to remember that it is not the charism that must change: it must always be welcomed anew and made to bear fruit today. Charisms grow as the truths of dogma and morals grow: they grow in fullness. It is the ways of living it that can constitute an obstacle or even a betrayal to the end for which the charism was aroused by the Holy Spirit. Recognizing and correcting misleading ways, where necessary, is only possible with a humble attitude and under the wise guidance of the Church. And this attitude of humility I would summarize with two verbs: to remember, that is to bring back to the heart, to remember the encounter with the Mystery that has led us up to here; and generate, looking ahead with confidence, listening to the groans that the Spirit expresses anew today. "The humble man, the humble woman also cares about the future, not just the past, because he knows how to look ahead, he knows how to look at the buds, with a memory full of gratitude. The humble generates, the humble invites and pushes towards what is unknown. Instead the proud repeats, stiffens […], goes back and closes in his repetition, feels sure of what he knows and fears, always fears the new because he cannot control it, he feels destabilized by it… why? Because he has lost his memory "[1]. Look at the memory of the founder.
Dear friends, have at heart the precious gift of your charism and the Fraternity that guards it, because it can make many lives "flourish", as Hassina and Rose have testified to us. The potential of your charism is still largely to be discovered, there is still much to be discovered; I therefore invite you to flee from any withdrawal in yourselves, from fear - fear will never lead you to a good harbor - and from spiritual weariness, which leads you to spiritual laziness. I encourage you to find suitable ways and languages ​​so that the charism that Fr. Giussani handed over to you reaches new people and new environments, so that it can speak to the world of today, which has changed since the beginning of your movement. There are many men and women who have not yet had that encounter with the Lord who changed and made your life beautiful!
2. Second aspect: Fr Giussani the educator. From the early years of his priestly ministry, faced with the confusion and religious ignorance of many young people, Fr Giussani felt the urgency to communicate to them the encounter with the person of Jesus that he himself had experienced. Don Luigi had a unique ability to trigger the sincere search for the meaning of life in the hearts of young people, to awaken their desire for truth. As a true apostle, when he saw that this thirst had been kindled in the boys, he was not afraid to present the Christian faith to them. But without ever imposing anything. His approach has generated many free personalities, who have adhered to Christianity with conviction and passion; not out of habit, not out of conformity, but in a personal and creative way. Fr Giussani had a great sensitivity in respecting the character of each one, respecting his history, his temperament, his gifts. He didn't want people all the same and he didn't want everyone to imitate him, that everyone was original, as God made it. And in fact those young people, growing up, have become, each according to their own inclination, significant presences in various fields, both in journalism, in schools, in the economy, in charitable works and in social promotion.
This, friends, is a great spiritual inheritance that Fr Giussani left you. I urge you to nurture in yourselves his passion for education, his love for young people, his love for freedom and the personal responsibility of each one in front of his own destiny, his respect for the unrepeatable uniqueness of every man and every woman. .
3. And third: Giussani son of the Church. Fr Giussani was a priest who loved the Church so much. Even in times of bewilderment and strong opposition to the institutions, he always firmly maintained his fidelity to the Church, for which he had a great affection - love! -, almost a tenderness, and at the same time a great reverence, because he believed that it is the continuation of Christ in history. He said: "You have encountered this company: this is the way in which the mystery of Jesus […] knocked on your house" [2]. He used this beautiful expression: "company". The movement groups were for him a "company" of people who had encountered Christ. And, ultimately, the Church itself is the "company" of the baptized who holds everything together, from which everything draws life, and which keeps us on the right path.
Fr Giussani taught to have respect and filial love for the Church and, with great balance, he always knew how to keep together the charism and authority, which are complementary, both necessary. You often sing the song "La strada" in your meetings. Giussani, precisely using the metaphor of the road, said: "Authority ensures the right path, charisma makes the road beautiful" [3]. Without authority you risk going astray, going in the wrong direction. But without the charism the journey risks becoming boring, no longer attractive to the people of that particular historical moment.
Even among you, some are charged with a task of authority and government, to serve all the others and point the right way. This consists, concretely, in guiding and representing the movement, in promoting its development, in carrying out specific apostolic projects, in ensuring fidelity to the charism, in protecting the members of the movement, in promoting their Christian journey and their formation. human and spiritual. But alongside the service of authority it is fundamental that the charism remains alive in all the members of the Fraternity, so that the Christian life always retains the charm of the first encounter. Never forget that first Galilee of calling, of that first Galilee of encounter. Always return there, to that first Galilee that each of us has experienced. This will give us strength to always go in obedience in the Church. This is what "makes the road beautiful". Thus the ecclesial movements contribute, with their charisms, to show the attractive and novelty character of Christianity; and it is up to the authority of the Church to indicate wisely and prudently on which path the movements must walk, in order to remain faithful to themselves and to the mission that God has entrusted to them. In the words of Fr Giussani we can affirm that "this continuous exchange between institution and charism is an inalienable requirement of the incarnation. In no way can this relationship between grace and freedom be thought of as a dialectical alternative, as if the institution is not the charism and that the charism does not need the institution. A charism must be institutionalized. And an institution must maintain the charismatic dimension. They are ultimately the only reality of the Church. Could we perhaps think of the human organism without the skeleton that supports it? Thus it is unthinkable that the Church lives without an institution "[4].
You know that the discovery of a charism always passes through the encounter with concrete people. These people are witnesses who allow us to approach a greater reality, which is the Christian community, the Church. It is in the Church that the encounter with Christ remains alive. The Church is the place where all the charisms are preserved, nourished and deepened. We think, in the Acts of the Apostles, of the episode of Philip and the eunuch, an official of the queen of Ethiopia. Philip was decisive for his conversion, he was the mediator of the encounter with Christ for that man in search of the truth. Well, how does this episode end? Philip baptizes the eunuch and the text says: "When they came up from the water, the Spirit of the Lord raptured Philip and the eunuch saw him no more" (Acts 8:39). "He never saw him again"! After leading him to Christ, Philip disappears from the eunuch's life! But the joy of the encounter with Christ remains - that joy of the encounter always remains! -in fact, the story adds: "And full of joy, he continued his way". We are all called to this: to be mediators for others in the encounter with Christ, and then let them walk their way, without binding them to us.
And, to conclude, I would like to ask you for concrete help for today, for this time. I invite you to accompany me in the prophecy for peace - Christ, the Lord of peace! The increasingly violent and warlike world really scares me, I really mean it: it scares me -; in the prophecy that indicates the presence of God in the poor, in those who are abandoned and vulnerable, condemned or set aside in the social construction; in the prophecy that announces the presence of God in every nation and culture, meeting the aspirations of love and truth, justice and happiness that belong to the human heart and that beat in the life of peoples. May this holy prophetic and missionary restlessness burn in your hearts. Don't stand still.
Dear friends, always love the Church. Love and preserve the unity of your "company". Do not let your Fraternity be wounded by divisions and oppositions, which play the game of the evil one; it's his job: to divide, always. Even difficult times can be times of grace, and they can be times of rebirth. Communion and Liberation was born precisely in a time of crisis which was 1968. And later Fr. Giussani was not frightened by the moments of passage and growth of the Fraternity, but he faced them with evangelical courage, entrusting himself to Christ and in communion with the mother Church.
Let us thank the Lord together today for Fr Giussani's gift. Let us invoke the Holy Spirit and the intercession of the Virgin Mary, so that all of you may continue, united and joyful, on the path that he has shown you with freedom, creativity and courage. I cordially bless you. And please, I ask you to pray for me. Thank you.
[1] Address to the College of Cardinals and the Roman Curia, December 23, 2021.
[2] L. Giussani, A method from temperament. The books of the Christian spirit: quasi Tischreden, 6, Milan 2002, p. 7.
[3] Id., An event in the life of man, Milan 2020, p. 249.
[4] Id., Supplement to Litterae Communionis-LC, n. 11/1985.