One soul and one heart (1958)
The Community is still in its infancy; as a Religious Family it has only recently been constituted, and the Lord inspires and moves us more and more, so that the will to live closer to Him may develop in us ever more clearly.
Let us seek not only to love one another, but to be one soul and one heart.
Our unity is the necessary condition of future devel-opment for the Community: if we are less perfectly united, growth and extension of the Community will break it up. Only a unity grounded in Christ, full, total, perfect, can be a guarantee for us the kind of growth which will not destroy our movement. These are the most important years for the future development of our Community. If we are truly united, we shall have nothing to fear from the buffets of misfortune, nor from (what is more dangerous) the favour of men, the too rapid growth and popularity of our family. We must therefore be most absolutely united, and must feel ourselves one; there must be no differences or oppo-sitions amongst us. Divine charity can bring about such unity, so that no external threat can ever cause division between our souls.
But we shall never achieve this unity if egotism remains amongst us. Such unity demands complete freedom from egotism, from the desire to preserve something of our selves inside the Community: a desire that is all the more dangerous in that it concerns spiritual goods: ideas, modes of thinking that prevent us from unifying totally. Each one of us is different, but we will live this unity precisely by contributing to the Community, providing we do so with humility. All gifts are complementary, and so everyone’s contribu-tion is harmless so long as our egotism does not impose our own point of view. According to our egotism, whatever we propose will become an obstacle to the perfect interior unity of the whole family. So we must not only love one another, but we must be one, and love each other in such a way as to keep nothing of ourselves when we give ourselves to the Community. The development of the Community depends on the unity we have established. Numbers and buildings are not important. What is important is that our unity be so unbreakable that nothing can shatter it, so strong that no future growth can weaken it. May it grow like a germ, remaining always the same, ever revealing what it had from the beginning in potential.
I believe that one of our absolute needs is that we should be one. Every religious Congregation has re-cognised its ideal in the primitive Church: one soul and one heart.
We shall never be so until we are one Christ. But if we manage to achieve this unity we need fear nothing: Christ who lives in us guarantees that the Community will live despite all the storms, that it will grow and will have a mission of salvation for many souls, that it will be the visible sign of the presence of God among men.
And we for all eternity shall have nothing to do but thank God and praise Him for having chosen us.
From Fr Barsotti’s circulars – Florence, June 2nd, 1958