Speech at the Ceremony of the Conferral of the “European Human Rights Prize 1998”

Strasbourg, 22 September 1998

On occasion of the UN World Day of Social Justice, we offer an excerpt of Chiara’s talk to the Council of Europe. 

Mrs. Leni Fischer, President of the Parliamentary Assembly, Mr. Giorgos Papandreou, Director of the Committee of Ministers, Mr. Daniel Tarschys, Secretary General, Your Excellencies, Ladies, Gentlemen, Friends,

I would like to begin by expressing my gratitude to the Council of Europe for conferring the prestigious 1998 European Human Rights Prize also to me.

The Parliamentary Assembly and the Committee of Ministers, with a joint decision, wished to give this recognition to me in order to award, I believe, the Focolare Movement, whose foundress I am, and whose ideal has inspired the action of millions of women and men of every age, language, profession, nation and race, members of various religions and the most diverse convictions, thus acknowledging the Movement’s concrete contribution “towards the promotion and defense of human rights.”

In fact, the first article of “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights” (this year marks its 50th anniversary), affirms: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They ... should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” 

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There is no part of life that is not worthy of being lived

Florence, 17 May 1986

An important talk in which Chiara does not speak with competence but from her experience that in accepting suffering one draws closer to God. This is a strong message for those who personally live an illness or for those who are alongside ill or elderly people.

If at the basis of laws or social projects we place a mentality lacking in respect for the suffering, the disabled and the elderly, then little by little we create a false society. We give importance only to a few values like physical well-being, strength, exaggerated productivity and power, while we distort the purpose for which a nation lives; that is, for the good of the human person and society.
Health, as we know, is a precious gift which should be protected.
Thus we should do all we can so that our bodies and everyone else's, too, receive nourishment and rest, and are not exposed to sicknesses, accidents or an exaggerated amount of sports.
The body is also important for a Christian.

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Conferral of the Honorary Doctorate in Philosophy to Chiara at La Salle University

Mexico City, 6 June 1997

A foretaste of a new world in Jesus Forsaken and the Eucharist

In Hebrew-Christian revelation the world is seen as the creation of God, of a personal God, and therefore destined to have a lasting relationship with him.
Thus, the world has a value in and of itself as well as its own autonomy, which becomes effective in the history of that personal subject which is the human being who has been endowed with the gift of dialoguing directly with God and with other human beings. What is more, the world finds its eschatological fulfillment in the person of the Word incarnate and risen, the only You of the Father, who recapitulates all in himself.

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Holiness as a gift

From Chiara Lubich's diary
Rocca di Papa, 10 may 1991

An extraordinary communicator, Chiara Lubich never kept for herself the spiritual enlightenments, the inspirations of the Holy Spirit, the ever new confirmation of the relevance of the Word of God. Her life was an open book that everyone can read.
With regard to holiness, Chiara did not keep to herself her inner experiences, efforts and intentions but she communicated them, as if to form a “system of spiritual pulleys that will hold up the world.” In her journey towards holiness she aimed at what is essential, what is in full accordance with the New Testament (“Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” Mt 5:48. “For this is the will of God, your sanctification,” 1 Thess 4:3) and anticipating what the Second Vatican Council will define as the universal call to holiness (cf. LG 39-42).
Her charism places emphasis on love as the way of perfection, a love that is gift. It’s this aspect of gift and “gift for others” that stands out from the very personal Diary notes written in 1991 that we offer here, chosen among many others.

I’m leaving for Brazil and the idea that dominates within me is: “I must become holy.”  
Yes, because I have a few things to work out before the “Departure” and the “Encounter,” that however will come about when God wants: the Statutes, which are practically done already; the regulations, which I’m about to conclude; the special graces of Paradise 1949 that we are working on.
But I must leave one more thing to the focolarini: my holiness. It’s necessary so that they may have a model that is worth much more than many writings.

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The Contribution of the Charism of Unity to Ecumenism

Castel Gandolfo, 4 April 1997

An ecumenism of the people originated by mutual love ...

Veronica: I’m an Anglican focolarina from Great Britain.

Dearest Chiara, ... could you speak to us of the contribution that we can give to the full unification of the Churches?

Chiara: She asks about our specific contribution to the unification of the Churches. Our contribution should be seen in the framework of the whole field of ecumenism.

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To Be Peacemakers

Frascati, 2 May 1982

Peace in the world also depends on me…

Jesus says: "Blessed are the peacemakers" (Mt. 5:9). Today with all these tensions between East and West, tensions between races, in certain countries between rich and poor, wars and terrorism and one thing and another, we have to be people who bring peace. Where should we begin? With, ourselves, with ourselves.

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The Family

Christmas 1973

Christmas is a celebration of the family.
But where was the most extraordinary family born, but in a cave in Bethlehem? It is there, with the birth of a baby, that it started. It is there that, for the first time, in the hearts of Mary and Joseph love was released for a third member: the God made man.  

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The Essential For Today

Rome, 1970

When Pope Paul VI gave his commentary on the Creed, he made two affirmations that found a special echo in our hearts and gave ancient truths a new resonance. He defined God as: ‘He is Who is and he is Love.’1 .
Among the characteristics of Christ he recalled that ‘He has given us his new com¬mandment, to love one another as he has loved us.’2 .
Before the Council, although these truths had always existed, it was clear to the people above all that God is he who is, and that Jesus has saved us.

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Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none ...

Rome, (Città Nuova) 25 November 1988

Commentary of the Word of Life:

Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise(Lk 3:11).

These words are taken from the preaching of John the Baptist. The evangelist Luke recounts that publicans were among the crowds that went to the River Jordan to be baptized.
Because of their profession as tax collectors for the Roman authorities, they were considered public sinners. There were also soldiers among the crowds.

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Her Conversation with Patriarch Athenagoras - Interview by the Vatican Radio

Rocca di Papa, 18 July 1967

Presenter: "... Any day now, His Holiness, the great Roman Pope, will go on a pilgrimage in this old city.
"We take this great opportunity to bring the Churches even closer. We are nearing the goal of unity." These are the words expressed in these days by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Athenagoras, referring to the upcoming visit of Pope Paul VI to Istanbul and Ephesus.

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Only You Exist. This is the Only Truth

Rome. (written before 1963)

Living everything “within”, living and dying, makes sense…

Those who love You sincerely, Lord, often feel Your presence in the silence of their room or in the depths of their heart, and this sensation moves them to the very core of their being.

They thank You for being so near to them – indeed, for being everything to them: for being the One who gives meaning to their living and their dying.

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