Pope Francis says "...war can be done without God, but peace can be done only with Him....never get tired of building the Arsenal of Peace!"

Clementine Hall
Saturday, January 7, 2023
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning and welcome!
Thank you, dear Ernesto, for your greeting. And thank you all for coming. I also greet the members of Sermig who were unable to come and participate remotely.

Today we have the opportunity to thank the Lord together for the Sermig, which is a kind of large tree grown from a small seed. Such are the realities of the Kingdom of God. The Lord sowed the little seed in Turin in the early 1960s. A very fruitful time, just think of the Pontificate of Saint John XXIII and the Second Vatican Council. In those years various experiences of service and community life germinated in the Church, starting from the Gospel. And where there has been continuity, thanks to some vocations that have received generous and faithful responses, these experiences have been structured and have grown trying to correspond to the signs of the times. Sermig, Youth Missionary Service, is one of these. He was born in Turin to a group of young people; but it would be better to say: by a group of young people together with the Lord Jesus. After all, he said it clearly to his disciples: "Apart from me you can do nothing" (Jn 15:5). From the fruits it is clearly seen that Sermig did not do mere activism, but space was left for him: prayed to him, adored by him, recognized by him in the little ones and the poor, welcomed by him in the marginalized. Always Him, looking at Him.
In the history of Sermig there are many events, many gestures that can be read as small and large signs of a living Gospel. But among all these there is one that, in this historical moment, stands out with extraordinary force. I am referring to the transformation of the Military Arsenal of Turin into the "Arsenal of Peace". This is a fact that speaks for itself. It is a message, unfortunately dramatically current, which must be repeated continuously.
Here too, we must be careful not to "go off the road". The Arsenale della Pace - like the other creations of Sermig, and in general all the works of the Christian communities - is a sign of the Gospel not so much for the numbers that quantify the operation. We must not stop at this. The Arsenal of Peace is the fruit of God's dream, we could say of the power of the Word of God. / nation will not lift up sword / against nation, / they will no longer learn the art of war" (2:4). Here is God's dream that the Holy Spirit carries forward in history through his faithful people. So it was for you too: through the faith and good will of Ernesto, his wife and the first group of Sermig it has become the dream of many young people. A dream that moved arms and legs, animated projects, actions and materialized in the conversion of an arsenal of weapons into an arsenal of peace.
And what is “manufactured” in the arsenal of peace? What is being built? The weapons of peace are handcrafted, which are encounter, dialogue, acceptance. And how are they made? Through experience: in the arsenal young people can concretely learn to meet, to dialogue, to welcome. This is the way, because the world changes to the extent that we change. While warlords force so many young people to fight their brothers and sisters, we need places where fraternity can be experienced. Here is the word: fraternity. In fact, Sermig is called the "fraternity of hope". But the reverse can also be said, that is, "the hope of fraternity". The dream that animates the hearts of Sermig's friends is the hope of a fraternal world. It is the "dream" that I wanted to re-launch in the Church and in the world through the Encyclical Fratelli tutti (cf. n. 8). You already share this dream, indeed, you are part of it, you help to give it flesh, to give it hands, eyes, legs, to give it life. For this I want to give thanks to God with you, because this is a work that cannot be done without God. Because war can be done without God, but peace can be done only with Him.
 Dear friends of Sermig, never get tired of building the Arsenal of Peace! Even if the work may seem finished, in reality it is an ongoing construction site. You know this well, and in fact in recent years you have given life to the Arsenale della Speranza in San Paolo in Brazil, the Arsenale dell'Incontro in Madaba in Jordan, the Arsenale dell'Armonia in Pecetto Torinese. But all these realities: peace, hope, encounter, harmony, are built only with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God. It is He who creates peace, hope, encounter, harmony. And construction sites go ahead if those who work there let the Spirit work within them. You will tell me: who does not believe?, and who is not a Christian? This may seem like a problem to us, but it certainly isn't for God. He, his Spirit, speaks to the heart of anyone who knows how to listen. Every man and woman of good will can work in the Arsenals of peace, hope, encounter and harmony. However, it takes someone whose heart is firmly rooted in the gospel. It takes a community of faith and prayer that keeps the fire burning for everyone. That fire which Jesus came to bring to the earth and which now burns forever (cf. Lk 12:49). And here we also see the sense of a community of people who fully embrace the vocation and mission of fraternity and carry it forward in a stable manner. Dear brothers and sisters, I thank you so much for this meeting, and above all for your witness and your commitment. Go on! Our Lady keep you and accompany you. I bless you from my heart, and I ask you please to pray for me. Thank you.
Source: Vatican.va with Screenshot