On the path to unity

Itaici, 27th April 1998

During the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, we offer this prayer made spontaneously by Chiara Lubich at an Ecumenical Day organised by the Brazilian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, at Itaici on the 27th April 1998.

“Jesus, I believe and I am sure that you are here in our midst, so I turn to you, living and risen here amongst us - Catholic bishops, lay men and lay women, like me, and leaders of other Churches.
Jesus, you are of course amongst us because we love one another, in you.  We are united in your name; we are here to take a step forward in unity among the churches.
Of course we realise that many centuries have passed, shocking and terrible centuries that truly pierced your heart and the heart of your mother, who is the mother of unity.

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“…We entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2.Cor.5,20)

Chiara Lubich’s commentary on the Word of Life for January 1997

This is Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthians following his great announcement, which is the heart of the whole Gospel: God has reconciled the world to Himself through Christ (cf. 2 Cor. 5:19).
God has given us the greatest proof of His love in the death of His Son on the cross. Through the cross of Christ, He has reconciled us to Himself.
This fundamental truth of our faith has much to say to our times. It’s the revelation that all humanity is waiting for. Yes, God is near, He loves everyone and He loves each person immensely. Our world needs to hear this, but we can say it to others if first we continue saying it to ourselves, to the point of realizing that we are enveloped by His love, even when everything would make us think the opposite.

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Christmas means God loves us

Christmas 1975

What does “Christmas” mean in the deepest most all-embracing sense of the word?  The “mysterious  extraordinary message that God loves us, one by one and all together”. A thought from Chiara Lubich.

Christmas, Christmas
how often have we celebrated you
with pure joy and unmatched ardour!
but  you find our hearts so frozen by the coldness of this world,
that you cannot touch them as you would
with your mysterious extraordinary message:
GOD LOVES US
one by one and all together.

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The discovery of God as Love

Rocca di Papa, 18 April 2002

From an interview with Chiara Lubich by British journalist Sandra Hoggett (Face to Face Interviews Day 1, Charisma Productions) (Rocca di Papa, 18 April 2002)

Sandra: Can you tell me when you first felt this immense love for God?

Chiara:  I have always had a strong faith.  I was born into it and I grew up with God’s love.  But as for so many people, God was somewhere out there, beyond the stars, faraway.  The real thunderbolt came when I was 23 years old and the charism began to stir within me.  I was teaching in a small orphanage.  A visiting priest had perhaps seen me praying in church. Anyway he called me out of the class and he said: “Could you give an hour of your time to help me in ministry?”  He was a priest and I had such faith in God and in the Church that I said: “You can have the whole day, not just an hour”.  He was surprised by this.  He told me to kneel down and he blessed me saying: “God loves you immensely”. And I believed it.  It was as if God was speaking to me through him. 

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The fraternity which makes us Church

17 April 1978

From Claudio Sorge’s interview with Chiara Lubich for the “Eighth Day” TV programme broadcast on Rai Uno. 

Christian love – and here lies the fathomless mystery and hidden power which, when engaged, can work miracles – is different from any other kind of love in the world, no matter how noble or beautiful. Christian love has a divine origin, the very love of God shared with humankind, which when grafted onto people, makes them children of God.
This is the requirement for and cause of a unique reality: human fraternity on a higher plane, supernatural brotherhood and sisterhood.

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The Incarnation continues

Budapest, 16 September 2006

From a talk prepared by Chiara Lubich for the Volunteerfest 2006

What hope for today’s world, with so many apparently insurmountable challenges? Jesus continues his “incarnation” in history; in every age He continues His constructive work through men and women who commit themselves to be like Him, to be another Jesus in every cultural and social environment.

(...) Sometimes it’s thought the Gospel can only bring about the Kingdom of God in a strictly religious sense and cannot actually solve human problems. But this is not the case. 
It is not, of course, the historical Jesus or Jesus as Head of the Mystical Body who solves these problems. This is done by Jesus-in-us, Jesus-in-me, Jesus-in-you. It is Jesus in a person, in an individual person – when His grace lives in him or her – who builds a bridge, who opens up a way forward.

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Prepare the way of the Lord...

Rocca di Papa, October 25, 1982

Commetary on the Word of Life: «Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.» (LK 3:4)

Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. (Lk 3:4)

During this season of Advent we are invited to live a new Word of Life. The evangelist Luke takes it from the book of Isaiah, the prophet of consolation. For the first Christians it was a reference to John the Baptist, who came before Jesus.
In the time leading up to Christmas, the Church presents us with the figure of the Forerunner, John the Baptist, and invites us to rejoice, because he is like the herald of the King who is about to come.
The time is near when God will fulfil his promises, forgive sins and grant salvation.

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Look at people as God will see them

July 24, 1949

At the end of the Jubilee Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis, the following text by Chiara Lubich is very appropriate, taken from the writings known as “Paradise 1949”.

Those who are in the Father by God’s pure mercy, having come through a long course of sinning, are equal before God to the innocent who are there on the strength of loving.
Indeed, in the very moment when, recognizing themselves as sinners, they rejoiced in being like him made sin (loving God more than their own soul and this is pure love), they filled the entire void made by sin.

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You are tabernacles of the living God

14th October 1946 

The Word of Life for November “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13) invites us to be in trustful conversation with God. The following text is taken from a letter Chiara Lubich wrote during the “early times” to two religious Sisters in Rovereto.

There, in the centre of your heart, Sister Josefina, is where God lives! 
There, in the centre of your heart, Sister Fidente, is where God lives! 
Place your hand over your heart. 
You are tabernacles of the living God. 

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Interview with Chiara by Josè Maria Poirier

 

Rocca di Papa, 19 February 1998

Journalist: Chiara, my first question is on interreligious dialogue, the dialogue the Focolare Movement proposes and has with people from different faith traditions and religions.
Chiara: There is the fact that Jesus by coming down on earth redeemed the whole of humanity: every person. He also established the Church, but His redemption had an effect on everyone. So everyone could have the possibility of being saved, if they live according to their right conscience. Knowing this, we approach people of other faiths conscious of the possibility that tomorrow may find them in Heaven and perhaps not us!

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Living for love – ecumenical insights

Berlin (Memorial Church), 19 November 1998

Chiara visited Germany in 1998, from 1st November to 13 December, spending time at Aachen, Münster, Augsburg and then in Berlin at the invitation of the Evangelical Church community. In her address, part of which is published below, Chiara points to the law of love as the master key to unity among Christians and to dialogue with all people of faith.

The plain fact is that if we Christians now, at the dawn of the third millennium, take a good look back at our 2000 years of history and particularly at the last millennium, we cannot fail to be saddened by what we see: a painful succession of misunderstandings, arguments and conflicts. These have caused many rips and tears in the “seamless robe of Christ”, which is His Church. And whose fault is this? Without doubt, countless historical, cultural, geo-political, social factors have played their part .... But could it also be due to a weakening among Christians of their characteristic unifying bond of love? I think so.

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