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Pope: Christians are a light in the darkness of violence and war

Pope Francis describes the Fraternity of Romana as bringing light by its Gospel-inspired action to carry forward “the dream of a fraternal and united world”.

By Francesca Merlo

Today’s world, marked by violence and conflict needs fraternity, peace, and friendship, said Pope Francis during his audience with around 500 members of the Fraternity of Romena in Italy and the Nain Group in the Paul VI Hall.

In his address, the Holy Father highlighted three experiences that allow the light of the Gospel to filter through and risk the darkness of life: hospitality, care, and fraternity. In fact, he said, this is the experience lived by those who arrive tired and oppressed, amidst the beauty of nature and the charm of silence, to spend a few days at the ancient Romanesque parish church where the Fraternity of Romena is based, “a space of beauty, simplicity and listening”, said the Pope.


Speaking first of hospitality, the Holy Father noted that “Romena was born with this spirit, as a place where anyone can feel at home; everyone can arrive with what oppresses them, with the desire to rest in body and spirit and to breathe in the fragrance of the Gospel”. Never lose this spirit, the Pope stressed, inviting those present to “always work to cultivate this style of openness and welcome, to continue to be an oasis of freedom, expressing God’s infinite and gratuitous love for every creature”.


The Holy Father then went on to speak of care. We immediately think of Jesus’ compassion when we hear this word, the Pope noted. “The Son of God exercised and incarnated that tenderness of the Father who cares for us and, especially, for our wounds of body and spirit”. Romena also reminds us, the Pope said, that “to be a Christian means to care for the wounded and those in pain, to turn on small lights where all seems to be lost”.

Social friendship 

Finally, Pope Francis spoke of fraternity. He noted, “This is the heart of your way of life”, explaining that Romena’s prophecy is to carry forward the dream of a fraternal world in solidarity; to be sowers of peace and social friendship. “This expression, ‘social friendship’, is very beautiful”, said the Pope. “But it is not easy to carry it forward”, he added, noting that one of the worst things to go against this friendship is “gossip”, which “harms and destroys”. “Bite your tongue!” said the Pope, “because when one feels like chatting and bites his tongue, the tongue swells up and he can no longer gossip”.

Life is too short

Finally, the Pope stressed that today’s world, still marked by violence and conflict, is in great need of “this brotherhood, this social friendship” and it is for this reason that he asked each member present to “continue to practice fraternal hospitality, to offer a place where people can rest their heads and where everyone can feel loved by God and part of a universal fraternity, the one that the Father wanted to inaugurate in Jesus and that Jesus asks us to build together with Him and with the Holy Spirit”. Life, the Pope concluded, “is too short to be selfish”.  

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