Don’t let the time go by without love

29 November (probably 1945)

This is a letter addressed to Anna Melchiori to whom Chiara gave the name “Giovanna”,  from the name of the “disciple whom Jesus loved”. The various subjects touched upon in these few lines includemercy and the works of mercy.

Dearest Giovanna,

Saint Clare! On this feast day of All Franciscan Saints, may she give to  you all of her Seraphic Flame and burning love for our Abandoned Christ!

Keep Him ever before you as the example of extreme love.

He is Everything. He is the giver of unity.

Giovanna, pray more (which means to pray well, very well).

Let Jesus pray when, alive, he lives in your heart after Holy Communion.

Let Him once again pray his final prayer to the Father that you maybe made worthy to work for the Greatest Ideal: God.

Always get up and walk again.

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Who is Mary for the Focolare Movement?

Castel Gandolfo, December 8, 1996

Extract from a talk given by Chiara Lubich on the collective spirituality

To believe in the extraordinary grace of being able to imitate Mary. Chiara shares here the experience of light that the Holy Spirit gave her, conveying this conviction to us and suggesting we can honour her in this way.

As we briefly look over the history of the Focolare Movement with regard to Mary, we can see more clearly who Mary is for us, and how she can be considered as a cornerstone of our spirituality.

From the earliest days of the Focolare, although during that period of time it seemed that she was letting the Spirit highlight almost exclusively Jesus and his gospel, Mary appeared, although discreetly, in order to reveal to us at once her relationship with unity.

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To Take the Initiative

Rocca di Papa, 3rd January 1985

The following reflection by Chiara Lubich, given during a world wide conference call, can help us live the Word of Life for May. Her words on “mercy”, “loving without limits” and not being afraid to “go out towards others” are very relevant today.

The New Year begins with a splendid Word of Life:

But God loved us with so much love that he was generous with his mercy: when we were dead through our sins, he brought us to life with Christ (Eph. 2:4-5).

The commentary on this Word of Life, which you may have already read, underlines two characteristics of God’s love. One is that God in His love took the initiative to love us even though we were anything but lovable ("dead through our sins"). The second is that God's love did not only reach the point of forgiving our sins, but since His love is infinite, He brought us to share in His own life ("he brought us to life in Christ”).

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What You Are Searching For Exists!

A letter from June 1944

My little sister in the immense Love of God!

Listen, I beg you, listen to the voice of this little heart!
You have been blinded with me by the luminous blaze of an Ideal that is greater than all and sums up all: the infinite Love of God!

O, my little sister! He is the one, He is my God, your God, who has bound us together with a bond stronger than death, because it will never decay, one like the spirit, immense, infinite, delicate, strong, immortal like the Love of God!

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To Love and To Be Loved

Castel Gandolfo, 9 December 1995

From a talk to the focolarine.

The charism of unity has its root in the One and Triune God and in the mystery of the Word made flesh who, in the Passion, lives the abandonment. Chiara explains how we should enter the dynamism of Trinitarian love.

… The will of God is God, and God is love. His will, therefore, is love, and he wants us to love too. He wants us to love him with all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind, and to love every neighbor as ourselves (cf. Mt 22:37–39).

We, too, had to be love in life: little suns beside the Sun.

At that time, the word “love” usually indicated either the natural sentiment that links a man and a woman or eroticism. It was not normally used in religious terminology, where the preferred term was “charity,” but often with the limited meaning of almsgiving. The singular manifestation of God-Love that we had received, and our direct contact with the Word of God, re-focused our attention on the Christian meaning of love.

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To the weak I became weak

Rocca di Papa, February 1982

Chiara is really fond of these words of Paul because of her affinity with the expression “making ourselves one” that the Spirit suggested to her right at the beginning of her spiritual adventure. Here we have a comment she gave about it in February 1982.

Commentary of the Word of Life:

"To the weak I became weak. I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some" (1 Cor. 9:22).

In carrying out his extraordinary mission, the Apostle Paul conducted his life in a particular way: he strove to become all things to all people. In fact, he tried to understand everyone, enter into the mentality of each person: to be a Jew with the Jews, and with the non-Jews - those without a law revealed by God - to be as one without the law.

Paul followed the Jewish customs whenever this served to remove barriers or to reconcile souls; but when he worked in the Gre¬ek-Roman world, he adopted the culture and way of life of that world. He wrote: 

"To the weak I became weak. I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some" (1 Cor. 9:22).

He saw before him the unlimited horizon of freedom from sin, from death, from the law, from the reign of Satan, from the barriers imposed by nationality, class and sex, from every form of domination by others, from the taboos of food and customs, and so on.

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To Be an Easter People

Sierre, 24 March 1994

Holy Week is the climax of the liturgical year. This text invites us to celebrate and penetrate the central mysteries of our faith, also with our lives. 

Dearest all,

Easter will soon be here; the greatest feast of the year, and with it Holy Week which is abounding with the most precious mysteries of Jesus' life.

We are reminded of these especially on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and on Resurrection Sunday. For us, too, they represent central aspects of our spirituality: the mandate to live the new commandment, the institution of the priesthood and the Eucharist, the prayer for unity, the death of Jesus forsaken on the cross, Mary Desolate, the risen Lord.

We will celebrate these mysteries with the Church through the holy liturgy, but because ours is a "way of life"  we prepare ourselves in order to honour them also with our life.

But how can we relive, at least a little, these mysteries which are so very numerous and profound? We know that one of these would be enough to open our souls to meditation and to urge us on to contemplation. One would be enough to sanctify us. 

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The Family and Mary

21 April 1984

The family: a lofty and recurring topic in the thought and life of Chiara Lubich. This writing of 1984 places the family in its design, in its being a domestic church in God’s plan, “a welcoming dwelling place for all the lost children.” Therefore let’s look at Mary, so as to live with her help and example “the luminous and fascinating plan of God on the family in all its expressions.” 

On the occasion of the Holy Year of Jubilee for the families, John Paul II consecrated and entrusted the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It was also the day of the Annunciation. The coincidence of events is certainly not by chance. In fact, there are deep relationships between Mary and the family, at least for the fact that both are great experts in love.

Mary got to know the family in her heart, already simply on the natural level, in her various aspects as daughter, fiancée, wife, mother though always a virgin, and widow. The family is the kingdom of love. Filial, matrimonial, maternal, paternal and fraternal love is born, grows and develops in the family. 

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The Penance That Heaven Asks of Us

Mollens, 25 August 1988

A new charism in the Church like the one God generously gave to Chiara Lubich does not overrule the previous Christian practices, but rereads them in the light of God’s gift, of its own evangelical perspective. 

I had an opportunity to do some reading on great saints the Church honours, and also to watch some films about them.

One of the strongest impressions I took away was the harsh, very harsh life of penance that some of them lived; they often wore the most uncomfortable hairshirts, practiced continual fasts, painful vigils, interminable silences, sleeping on the bare ground or on boards. It was also on the strength of these penances that these saints became what they were. 

Naturally I asked myself: What about us? What do we do? Don’t we too want to become saints?

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That Word

Rocca di Papa, 20 November 1979

The Word of life for the month of March 2015 that is proposed for the whole Focolare Movement says: “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Mk 8:34). This is a phrase that Chiara Lubich recalled throughout her life and it was a source of light for her and for many others in the world. This writing is how she explained it to the young people in 1979.

Dearest Gen,

Perhaps you would like just the right word; a word that says everything, that sums up the truth, that gives you the recipe for a real life.

This is what I am meditating on too in these days.

Alright, gen, I have convinced myself that there is no safer way to reach the perfect life than the way of suffering embraced out of love. 

This is the way all Saints thought of it, throughout the centuries. 

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Castel Gandolfo, 5 December 2001

(From a conversation of Chiara Lubich to the women focolarine)

Here we offer proof of Chiara’s love for Wisdom (Sophia): with passion she quotes the words of Fr. Raimondo Spiazzi, a well-known theologian, that witness the uniqueness and preciousness of the sapiential penetration of reality. 

We quote the following section from a book of 1964 that we liked very much. It was written by the theologian Father Raimondo Spiazzi: “The gift of wisdom puts the soul in contact with eternal realities. ... It scrutinizes the depths of God and discerns his radiant beauty. The soul beholds that which it cannot repeat, and without ever being quenched it drinks from this exhaustible source with an ever-growing desire, as a deer longs for streams of water.

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