Pope Francis’s challenge

Two weeks after the Pope's visit to the international little town of Loppiano, Maria Voce, the Focolare President, invited everyone in the Movement to respond to his appeal by bringing the culture of 'we' into society.

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“Two weeks ago we were with the Pope in Loppiano. Two weeks have gone by and we ask ourselves, “Did it really happen?”

It really did! Not only did it happen, but now we have something to do. So now I am asking myself, “Have we fully understood what actually happened?”

Maybe we are discovering it little by little, as we study his wonderful talk. The Pope launched a challenge, saying we are at the beginning of our journey, at the start of Loppiano, at the start of everything, we might say. This being “at the beginning” means that we must look ahead, that we must do something to move forward. And the Pope told us what to do: we must transform society – he said some very strong things – we must not only be satisfied with fostering relationships between individuals, in families, between different groups and peoples, but even more so we must work together to overcome the challenge of our society which is going wrong and needs the Gospel … it (society) is in dire need of seeds of Gospel life that will flower and transform it.

We really feel we are at the beginning, and we truly are at the beginning, but we cannot stop, precisely because in saying this (that we are at the beginning) the Pope gave us this challenge and said, “You can do it”. He also told us how to do it, because he said, “… by handing on to others the spirituality of ‘we’, this ‘culture of ‘we’”, which can foster a global alliance, a universal alliance, a new civilization, a civilization born from this ‘we’. He also said that the charism is a powerful support and encouragement for us.

The charism is a gift of God and we should not be boastful for having received it, but with the humility of which he (the Pope) reminded us, we must be aware of the charism and do all we can to hand it on to society around us.

This is a long and arduous journey, but the Pope said, “We need women and men who are capable of doing this”. So, do we want to respond to the Pope’s appeal? I think we do, with our whole selves, discovering, wherever we are, how to transform society around us.

I think we are taking up this commitment today and it will last our whole lives.