Going out to the peripheries and making contact with today’s humanity. This was the commitment of 211 delegates who attended an annual gathering at the headquarters of the Focolare Movement in Rocca di Papa, Italy, during the period 26 September – 19 October 2013.
During a live Internet broadcast which linked more than 10,000 connection points all over the world, Focolare president Maria Voce greeted everyone with in a personal message, inviting members of the Movement to focus their energies on the “peripheries of the world”, not only those linked to material poverty, but also those places that are poor of God. This is a process that the Focolare had begun for some time now and which marked the origins of the charism in Trent, Italy, and the life of founder Chiara Lubich.
Today again the Focolare Movement feels the imperative to focus less on itself and more on the least, aiming towards communion. “We feel urged on by Jesus,” Maria Voce reiterated as she spoke to the Focolare members all over the world, “ who continues to suffer in today’s world, that world which at times assails us with its doubts and desperation, but which longs to encounter the One who alone can give meaning to its existence”.
But in order to reach out to the world we need “to go outside our comfort zone and immerse humankind in the flame of evangelical love.” This love is what transforms us all into the one family of God’s children in relationships that are real and true, and where each one is ready to give one’s life for the other, a love that becomes reciprocal. This is the point of the spirituality of unity that all the members of the Movement will deepen during the year.
Representatives of Focolare communities in war-torn countries were also present at the meeting. In these environments so greatly tested by armed conflict and division, the evangelical proposal of mutual love as the way to peace becomes a prophecy for a future of reconciliation. “We would meet not to defend ourselves, but to forgive those who hurt us, to encourage one another to love more,” affirmed the representatives of the Focolare in Syria. Strong words were accompanied by personal experiences of daily life, in spite of the darkness of the “Syrian night,” always striving to carry on in the hope that “only good can win over evil.”
The delegates concluded their gathering with the wish to return home “with an open heart to spread the experience of communion”. In the hope that “the Gospel lived by many will bring a new advancement of the Kingdom of God in the world”.