“Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.” (Mt. 10:40)[more]
“Youth of the world, unite!”
This was the appeal Chiara Lubich made in 1967, addressing the young adults and children who were part of the Movement at that time; she invited them to “Get together the biggest number possible of youth around the world and begin a large scale revolution with the cry ‘Let’s unite!’. She clarified that this was to be “A revolution of love”, and its goal was to fulfill Jesus’ prayer: “That all may be one”. From the response of thousands of young people throughout the world to this invitation the Gen Movement was born, the “new generation” of the Focolare Movement.
In 1968 its identity was made clearer through a symbolic gesture: the Gen were presented with a statuette which showed them handing on a flag from the first to the second generation, on this model was the inscription: “That all may be one” (jn 17,21) and “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” (Mt 27,46). The first quote set out the program for the movement and the second gave the secret that would make it happen.
The Gen gather together according to different ages.
The Gen 2 are young adults ages 18 and up. They are scattered throughout the world and are from every culture, social strata, religion or have no religious affiliation at all: they represent the second generation of the Focolare Movement and share its charism completely.
They have discovered that living the Gospel demands a real revolution in their lives, a revolution which is able to change the world. They are committed to living this revolution with courage and determination. They know that their strength and perseverance come from the presence of Jesus, who promised “Where two or three are united in my name, I am there in the midst of them.” (Mt 18,20).
They meet occasionally in little groups known as “Gen 2 units”, where they try and keep that presence of Christ alive among them; and at the same time share the experiences they have had when trying to live the Word of God. They give each other help and encouragement.
The Gen 2 are the main animators of the Youth for a United World movement which is active in society promoting universal brotherhood.
The Gen 3 are the third generation of the Focolare Movement, their ages range from 9 to 17. Their presence within the Movement was highlighted particularly in 1970 when Chiara noticed that their lively characteristic was very different from the older age group, so she suggested a specific style of formation for them, distinct from the others.
A large number of youngsters got involved in really living for unity, with radical conviction – typical of their age group. They weren’t discouraged by difficulties or the negative world around them. The Gen 3 live to bring unity to every part of their life: in their home and family, in school, with their friends…
Chiara herself outlined the Gen 3 program:
“The Gen 3 aim very high (…) They recognize that the ones who have had the greatest impact in the world are the saints; they drew crowds, have brought many people to God, they have changed the world socially (…) [the Gen 3] Want to be – and don’t be surprised – a generation of Saints.”
Around the Gen 3 there are many other boys and girls who want to share the same style of life without such a level of commitment and they are known as the Young for Unity. Together they work on common themes called ‘pathways’ carrying out initiatives on a local and international level to help build a united world.
Gen 4 and Gen 5
These age groups are especially sensitive to love, learning to live it out practically through the example of others living the spirituality of unity; they discover that this love, when it is mutual, brings the presence of Jesus which they learn to recognize and with whom they have a simple, straightforward relationship.
Through their international congresses they come into contact with children and adults from other countries and religions, and they experience from an early age that they are all children of the same Father, and so are open to the whole of humanity.
Each morning they start the day by rolling the “cube of love” (an idea Chiara gave them). Each face on the cube shows a point of the art of loving: love everyone, be the first to love, ‘make yourself one with the other’, see Jesus in the other, love your enemy and love each other. The phrase that comes up when the cube is thrown is the one that they try to put into practice during the day, and then they share their joys and experiences that they have found when trying to love people all day.
They spread the idea of this “cube of love” within their school, with friends and relatives. The cube is now used in many classes, and in some cases whole schools as well as within parish groups and as part of education projects.
In a special way love encourages these children to live the culture of giving in lots of ways: by giving a smile, a helping hand, friendship, sharing a snack, giving consolation, joy, helping the poor, giving forgiveness…. They make the discovery “When we love we are happy, and if we love always, we will always be happy!”
“You have already been cleansed by the word I have spoken to you.” (Jn 15:3)[more]
“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” (Jn 20:29)[more]