Excerpts from Chiara Lubich’s message
“A great objective unites us: our love for peace. We are convinced that, in spite of the fact that there are still conflicts and threats of war, there are many positive signs in the world which tell us that it is possible to live in peace. But you might ask me: “What can we, boys and girls of various religions, do to bring about peace? What is the quickest, surest way to reach it?”
Those who are familiar with the religions we practice say that there is a sentence present in almost all the faiths of the world. It is called the “Golden Rule.” It says: “Do not do to others what you would not have them do to you” (Lk 6:31). Practically speaking, it asks us to respect others. And in order to have respect we need to love them.
However, the love we should put into practice is a special kind of love. It has specific qualities. For example, it asks us to love everyone without making distinctions between the pleasant and the unpleasant, the good-looking and the ugly, the adult and the child, the person who comes from my country and the foreigner, the white and the black, the Asian, American, African and Japanese, the Christian, the Muslim, and the Buddhist. Everyone should be loved in the same way.
This love asks that we be the first to love, without waiting for the other person to smile or to do something nice for us. We should not wait to be loved; we should take the first step.
Also, we should love others as we love ourselves, sharing their sufferings, their successes, their joys…. Just think what would happen if nations too put this simple rule into practice: people would love the other countries as they love their own and there would be no more wars.
We are talking about a concrete love, a love that is not only a matter of words but of facts. If a boy at school is having problems with his studies, loving him in a concrete way would mean helping him, perhaps studying with him.
It is a solid love that reaches out even to one’s enemies, to pray for them, to overcome hurt with forgiveness.
Then, when this love is lived together by two or more persons, by two or more boys or girls, there is mutual love. And this is the secret, the sure way for building peace and unity, for bringing brotherhood all over the world.
This love, which gives much joy to those who put it into practice, also requires commitment, effort, courage, training…. It is not possible to build peace without sacrifice.
Be courageous then, my dear boys and girls! Very much depends on you. Train yourselves today in loving, for now and for the future which belongs to you.
The greatest thing I could wish for you is that you find happiness by beginning at once to live this love in your families, at school, in your neighbourhoods, and to bring it to everyone. May many other boys and girls and adults, too, touched by your love, say to you: “I want to live the way you do.”
If we live like this, one day peace and unity will be a reality.”