Staying firmly on the ship


Chiara Lubich explains the role of the Focolare Movement in the dialogue leading towards unity. It is as though we are on a ship that is sailing under the power of the Holy Spirit.

Dearest all,

Once during an audience with the Holy Father, I asked him this question: “How do you see our Movement?” He answered: “I see it as an ecumenical Movement.”

It’s true: ours is an ecumenical Movement. Its aim, in fact, is the accomplishment of Jesus’ Testament: “May they all be one” (Jn. 17:21).

The charism that brought it to life and animates it is the charism of unity.

Thus ours is not a Movement born from the will of a man or woman, but from the will of the Holy Spirit, the distributor of charisms. …

Certainly, we too are part of the great phenomenon of ecumenism that has developed in Christianity in recent years.

But in order to do what?

To make a contribution. What contribution? Is it something big or small, is it decisive, basic or indirect?

We don’t know. However, one thing is certain: God does know. …

Among the questions addressed to me, often there are those on ecumenism. I am asked how things are going in this field in the world generally, and in our Movement. I’m asked what prospects are in view; how much longer will we have to wait and what must we do to achieve unity sooner.

What must we do – this is what they want to know.

God has placed us in this Movement which is like a ship sailing on the waters of time towards a port unknown to us.

We are not the ones propelling the ship. It is the Holy Spirit who, with a divine breeze shows us the different stages to be reached along our journey.

First He manifested the spirit we must have … and the horizons we had to look to and work for: a stronger unity in the Catholic Church, unity with other Christians, and so on. …

It’s our duty to stay on the ship, in the place designated to us by Providence, securely anchored to our posts so that the ocean waves of the world do not swallow us up. We must stay still and be fully engaged in doing whatever God, from all eternity, has thought of for us. In this way, the ship will not roll, but will sail ahead safely towards a future we do not know about but in which we believe, one that  is infinitely beautiful and hugely useful for the spreading of the Kingdom of unity on earth.

We must stay put, even though we might not ever see that hour … because – after us – others will take our place. Then, one day, together with them we will thank God for having allowed us to take part, here on earth, in the building of a Work that is His, and because it is His, it is extremely beneficial to universal ecumenism.

So then? … We must follow God, quickly, the ship is sailing on. We stand firm, holding on to the present moment. …

Chiara Lubich

(Taken from a telephone conference call, Rocca di Papa 28th September 1995)

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