The Gospel text chosen for the month of November 2022 encourages us to practice mercy towards our brothers and sisters. In this passage from 15 October 1981, given during a worldwide telephone conference call, Chiara Lubich invited all listeners to revive this merciful love characteristic of the early days of the Focolare Movement. It is an appeal that today too can help us to grow in our personal journey of union with God and with the community.
What I want to focus on today is unity. Unity must triumph: unity with God, unity among all people. The way to achieve this is to love everyone with that merciful love which characterized the Focolare at its beginnings, when we decided that each morning and all through the day we would look upon every person we met at home, at school, at work, everywhere as a new person, brand new, deliberately not remembering any of his or her shortcomings or defects, but covering everything over with love. … to reach out to everyone we meet with complete “amnesty,” universal pardon, in our hearts; and then to “make ourselves one” with them in everything except sin and evil.
Why should we do this? To obtain the same wonderful results the Apostle Paul was seeking when he said: “For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might gain all the more. I have become all things to all people” (1 Cor. 9: 19,22). If we “make ourselves one” with our neighbour, as Paul recommends, which will be easier when we have this forgiving attitude, we will be able to pass our “Ideal” on to others. And once this has been accomplished, we can have Jesus present among us, the risen Jesus who promised to remain with us forever in his Church, and who allows us to almost see and hear him when he is in our midst.
This must be our principal work: to live in such a way that Jesus may live among us – Jesus, who is victorious over the world. For if we are one, as time goes on many will be one, and the world will someday be able to witness unity.
So, let’s create cells of unity everywhere, each a focolare – a hearth, burning with love: in our family, on our block, with our playmates, with the people at work or at school – with everyone we can. Let’s kindle fires of love everywhere
(Chiara Lubich, in Conversazioni [Conversations], a cura di Michel Vandeleene, Opere di Chiara Lubich, Città Nuova, 2019, pp. 63-64)