Francis visits the International Citadel of the Focolare Movement in Loppiano, "an illustration of the Church's mission today, as the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council traced it". "The foundation of perseverance is the love of God poured into our hearts with the gift of the Spirit, a love that precedes us and enables us to live with tenacity, serenity, positivity, fantasy ... and even with a little humor, even in the most difficult moments. It is the attitude that comes closest to the grace of God ".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Building a "new city" inspired by the Gospel. "In the changing era we are experiencing, in fact, we need to engage not only for the encounter between people, cultures and nations and for an alliance between civilizations, but to meet together the epochal challenge of building a shared culture of encounter and a global civilization of alliance". It is the model on which the "Citadels" of the Focolare Movement were created, starting from Loppiano, a town in Tuscany, where Pope Francis went, after his visit to Nomadelfia.
In a morning dedicated to two communities that seek to live according to the Gospel, the Pope also recommended "community discernment" to know and follow the Holy Spirit. "By gathering in assembly around the risen Jesus, the Lord and Teacher, to listen to what the Spirit tells us today as a Christian community (see Revelation 2,7) and to discover together, in this atmosphere, the call that God makes us hear in the historical situation in which we find ourselves living the Gospel ".
Welcomed by Maria Voce, president of the Focolare Movement, and by Fr Jesús Morán, co-president of the Movement, Francis went to the Shrine of 'Maria Theotokos' and then in the churchyard of the Sanctuary (in the photo) he met some thousands of people.
Responding to three questions, the Pope spoke of the Citadel as "an illustration of the Church's mission today, as the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council traced it".
Firstly, he recommended "two key words of the journey of the Christian community: parrhesia and hypomoné. Parrhesia, in the New Testament, describes the style of life of the disciples of Jesus: courage and sincerity in bearing witness to the truth and at the same time trusting in God and in His mercy. Parrhesia expresses the fundamental quality of Christian life: to have a heart turned to God, to believe in His love (cf. 1 Jn 4:16), because His love drives away all false fear, every temptation to hide in a quiet life, in respectability or even in a subtle hypocrisy. No". "Prayer must also be [said]with parrhesia", he added, bringing the examples of Abraham and Moses who "had the courage to speak before God".
"We must ask the Holy Spirit for openness - always united with respect and tenderness - in witnessing to the great and beautiful works that God accomplishes in us and in our midst. And even in relationships within the community one must always be sincere, frank, not fearful or lazy. Do not stand aside to sow discord and murmur, but strive to live as sincere and courageous disciples in love and truth".
"And then the other word: hypomoné, which we can translate as to stay under, staying and learning to inhabit the demanding situations that life presents to us. With this term the Apostle Paul expresses perseverance and firmness in carrying forward the choice of God and new life in Christ. It is a matter of keeping firm in this choice, even at the cost of difficulty and opposition, knowing that this perseverance, this firmness and this patience produce hope. And hope does not disappoint, says Paul (cf. Rom 5: 3-5). It never disappoints. For the Apostle the foundation of perseverance is the love of God poured into our hearts with the gift of the Spirit, a love that precedes us and enables us to live with tenacity, serenity, positivity, fantasy ... and also with a little humor, even in the most difficult moments. It is the attitude that comes closest to the grace of God ".
Referring then to the existing educational centers in Loppiano, among which the Sophia University Institute stands out, he said: "It is a great wealth to be able to dispose of all these formation centers in Loppiano. I suggest that you give them new impetus, opening them to wider horizons and projecting them into the frontiers. In particular, it is essential to fine-tune the formation project that connects the individual paths that most concretely affect children, young people, families and people of the various vocations. The basis and key of everything is the 'formative pact', which is at the base of each of these paths and which has in its proximity and dialogue its privileged method. We must then educate ourselves to exercise the three languages together: the head, the heart and the hands. It is necessary to learn to think well, to feel well and to work well. Yes, even work, because - as Fr Pasquale Foresi, who played a central role in the realization of Loppiano's design, wrote - "work is not only a means to live, but is something inherent in our being a human person, and therefore also a means to know reality, to understand life: it is a tool for real and effective human formation".