Pope Francis says "Peace is the responsibility of one and all...if we commit ourselves to sowing peace with our daily actions...The world also needs us consecrated as artisans of peace!"

Synod Hall
Saturday, November 26, 2022

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning and welcome!
I am happy to welcome all of you, members of the Union of Superiors General, with the Archbishop Secretary of the Dicastery of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. I thank Father Arturo Sosa for the kind words.
In your Assembly, on the basis of the Encyclical Fratelli tutti, you addressed the theme Called to be artisans of peace. It is an urgent appeal that concerns us all, especially consecrated persons: to be artisans of peace, of that peace which the Lord has given us and which makes us all feel like brothers and sisters: «Peace I leave with you, I give you mine peace. Not as the world gives, do I give it to you" (Jn 14:27).
What is the peace that Jesus gives us, and how does it differ from that which the world gives? In these times, hearing the word "peace" we think above all of a non-war or end-of-war situation, a state of tranquility and well-being. This - we know - does not fully correspond to the meaning of the Hebrew word shalom, which, in the biblical context, has a richer meaning.
The peace of Jesus is first of all a gift from him, the fruit of charity, it is never a conquest of man; and, starting from this gift, it is the harmonious whole of relationships with God, with oneself, with others and with creation. Peace is also the experience of God's mercy, forgiveness and benevolence, which in turn enables us to exercise mercy, forgiveness, rejecting all forms of violence and oppression. This is why God's peace as a gift is inseparable from being builders and witnesses of peace; as Fratelli tutti says, "artisans of peace willing to initiate processes of healing and renewed encounter with ingenuity and audacity" (n. 225).
As Saint Paul reminds us, Jesus broke down the dividing wall of enmity between men, reconciling them to God (cf. Eph 2:14-16). This reconciliation defines the ways of being "peacemakers" (Mt 5:9), because this - as we said - is not simply the absence of war or even a balance between opposing forces (see Gaudium et spes, 78).
 Instead, it is based on the recognition of the dignity of the human person and requires an order to which justice, mercy and truth concur inseparably (cf. Fratelli tutti, 227).
"Making peace" is, therefore, an artisanal work, to be done with passion, patience, experience, tenacity, because it is a process that lasts over time (cf. ibid., 226). Peace is not an industrial product but a handcrafted work. It is not created mechanically, it requires the wise intervention of man. It is not built in series, with only technological development, but requires human development. For this reason peace processes cannot be delegated to diplomats or the military: peace is the responsibility of one and all.
"Blessed are the peacemakers" (Mt 5:9). Blessed are we consecrated persons if we commit ourselves to sowing peace with our daily actions, with attitudes and gestures of service, fraternity, dialogue, mercy; and if in prayer we incessantly invoke from Jesus Christ "our peace" (Eph 2:14) the gift of peace. Thus consecrated life can become a prophecy of this gift, if consecrated persons learn to be artisans of it, starting with their own communities, building bridges and not walls inside the community and outside it. When everyone contributes by doing his duty with charity, there is peace in the community. The world also needs us consecrated as artisans of peace!
This reflection on peace, brothers and sisters, leads me to consider another characteristic aspect of consecrated life: synodality, this process into which we are all called to enter as members of God's holy people. As consecrated persons, then, we are held in particular way to participate in it, since consecrated life is synodal by its nature. It also has many structures that can favor synodality: I am thinking of the chapters – general, provincial or regional, and local –, of fraternal and canonical visits, of assemblies, of commissions, and of other structures proper to individual institutes.
I thank those who have offered and are offering their contribution to this journey, at the various levels and in the various spheres of participation. Thank you for making your voice heard as consecrated people. But, as we well know, it is not enough to have synodal structures: it is necessary to "revisit" them, asking first of all: how are these structures prepared and used?
In this context, the way in which the service of authority is exercised must be examined and perhaps also revised. In fact, it is necessary to be vigilant against the danger that it could degenerate into authoritarian, sometimes despotic forms, with abuses of conscience or spirituality which are also propitious terrain for sexual abuse, because the person and his rights are no longer respected. And furthermore there is the risk that authority is exercised as a privilege, for those who hold it or for those who support it, therefore also as a form of complicity between the parties, so that everyone does what they want, thus paradoxically favoring a kind of anarchy , which causes so much damage to the community. 
I hope that the service of authority will always be exercised in a synodal style, respecting proper law and the mediations it provides, to avoid both authoritarianism and privileges, and "letting things go"; fostering a climate of listening, respect for each other, dialogue, participation and sharing. Consecrated persons, with their witness, can contribute much to the Church in this process of synodality that we are experiencing. Provided you are the first to experience it: to walk together, to listen to each other, to value the variety of gifts, to be welcoming communities. In this perspective, the paths of assessment of suitability and aptitude also fall, so that a generational renewal at the helm of the institutes can take place in the best way. Without improvisations.
 In fact, understanding current problems, often unpublished and complex, requires adequate training, otherwise you don't know where to go and you "navigate by sight". Furthermore, a reorganization or reconfiguration of the institute must always be done with a view to safeguarding communion, so as not to reduce everything to merging of circumscriptions, which can then prove not easily manageable or cause for conflict. In this regard, it is important that the superiors be careful to avoid that some people are not well occupied, because this, in addition to harming the subjects, generates tensions in the community. Dear brothers and sisters, thank you for this meeting! I wish you to carry on your service serenely and fruitfully, and to be artisans of peace. Our Lady accompany you. I bless you all from my heart. And I ask you please to pray for me.
FULL TEXT Source: Vatican.va