We are publishing some excerpts from this “Word of Life” which Chiara Lubich wrote in January 2004. At that time there were 30 conflicts in the world.  More than 20 years have passed and unfortunately wars have increased.  “Everything is lost with war”, Pope Francis often reminds us. Today, peace is an urgent necessity and must be built with dialogue, with international agreements, but starting with everyday life. We are all called to be peacemakers.

Violence, hatred, and bitter disputes are often present even in those countries that live “in peace”. Every people, every person feels a deep yearning for peace, for harmony, for unity. Yet, despite our efforts and goodwill, after millennia of history we are still incapable of achieving a stable and lasting peace. Jesus came to bring us peace, a peace – he tells us – that is not like the peace “the world gives”, because it is not only the absence of war, fighting, divisions and trauma. “His” peace is also this, but it is much more: it is the fullness of life and joy, it is the integral salvation of the person, it is freedom, it is fraternity in loving all peoples. And what did Jesus do to give us “his” peace? He paid for it himself. It was while he was promising us peace that he was betrayed by one of his friends, delivered into the hands of his enemies, condemned to a cruel and humiliating death. He put himself in between the opposing parties, took on the burden of all the hatred and division, broke down the walls that separated nations. By dying on the cross, after experiencing the abandonment by the Father out of love for us, he reunited human beings with God and among themselves, thus bringing about one universal family on earth. Building peace demands of us the same powerful love, a love capable of loving even those who don’t return our love, a love able to forgive, to see beyond the label “enemy”, to love the other person’s country as our own.

Peace begins with the relationship I am able to establish with each of my neighbours. “Evil originates in the human heart,” wrote Igino Giordani. And he added, “To remove the danger of war we need to remove the spirit of aggression, exploitation and egoism that are the cause of wars. We need to reconstruct a conscience”. … The world will change if we change. Of course we have to work, each of us doing whatever we can to resolve conflicts and to make laws that foster peaceful co-existence within communities and among nations. But above all, by underlining all that unites us, we will contribute to the creation of a mentality of peace and be able to work together for the good of humanity. We should bear witness to authentic values and spread attitudes of tolerance, respect, patience, forgiveness and understanding. As these increase, other approaches opposed to peace will gradually disappear. This was our experience during the Second World War, when there were just a few of us young women and we decided to live only to love. We were young and fearful, but as soon as we made the effort to live for each other, to help others, starting with those most in need, to serve them even if it meant risking our own lives, everything changed. A new strength was generated in our hearts and we saw society begin to change its appearance: a small Christian community came to life that became the seed of a “civilisation of love”. It is love that, in the end, wins out because love is stronger than anything else.

Chiara Lubich

(Chiara Lubich, Parole di Vita, Città Nuova, 2017, p. 709/12)

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