Custodian of the Sacred Convent of Assisi, Italy
distinguished representatives of the Christian Churches and World religions,
brothers and sisters,
Dialogue and prayer are the cornerstones of this meeting, organized with the desire to promote gentle, free, reconciled coexistence among nations. We strived to offer to the entire world a message of mercy and peace shared by religions and people of goodwill. Have succeeded? History will judge, in terms of development or decline of humanity.
However, we can attempt a "prophetic" analysis starting from the experience of our little brother Francis, who met the Sultan Malik al-Kamil in Damietta in 1219.
Dialogue. Humble in demeanor, humbler in feelings, even more humble in his own respect ... (2 Cel 140: FF 724): this is the man, as described by Celano, travelling to Damietta. Humility makes possible to transmit and to perceive the Infinite, the Absolute, the Lord before whom we are all nothing, to blow a breath of equal dignity. The humble are respected, appreciated, they increase each other’s value.
Prayer. It is again the first biographer of Francis who writes that he was not so much a man who prayed, but he himself became prayer (2 Cel 95: FF 682). The one who is continually nourished by his spiritual life has the heart to welcome the others, the different ones, because he recognizes them so similar to himself, in the mysterious depths of life, to identify with them.
At this point, it is just simple prophecy. The world will experience a phase of development if those who here do not search for glory, do not regards themselves as better than others and do not consider their own religion, their own group or their own culture as superior to the others'. The one who stands before me has always something more than I have, something I do not possess. Without humility, the comparison between us, today and tomorrow, is a mere compromise to maintain power one on the other.
Finally, those who came here, are people, more or less consciously, ready to die for peace. Our friends who provide security for all of us are ready to die for peace, for sure. Thank you! The ones who are here in service with different tasks, as well as the guests and those who came voluntarily are ready to die for peace. Thank you all!
What is the gap between being ready, to actually die for peace? I believe that without prayer we cannot take this step. The one who is drinking at the source of the spirit sees his fear of death disappear from his heart and knows how to give up to his own reasons, to be open to forgiveness, to do good to those who hurt him, to submit to everyone for the sake of love.
The prophetic value of the meeting that ends today depends on what each of us will do tomorrow.
May the Lord give you peace.