Castel Gandolfo, December 28, 1997

(From a talk given by Chiara Lubich to Focolare members on the Word of Life...)

If people were to ask: what is your 'uniform' like, without hesitating we would give just one answer arising from the charism that God gave Chiara: mutual love, without limits.

In that talk Chiara shared her own experience. She was in Switzerland when she encountered the beauty and visibility of different charisms in the life of the Church. She asked herself how the charism of unity could best be seen. It was only when she met her first companion, Natalia Dallapiccola, that she was able to reply: I understood, it is the mutual love of the Gospel: "By this all will know that you are my disciples"...

“As I was walking through the streets of Einsiedeln, in Switzerland, I saw many people from different religious Orders going by. It was lovely to see the different types of habit worn by the various groups of Sisters and priests, against the background of such a beautiful natural setting. I realised then that the founders of those Orders were really inspired in deciding on a particular way of clothing their followers.

“(Among all these), I was particularly impressed by the Little Sisters of Charles de Foucauld. They rode by on their bicycles and their happy faces were framed by their simple headscarves. Their expressive faces reminded me of their founder, Charles de Foucauld who, people said, proclaimed the Gospel with his whole life.

“In fact, those Sisters seemed to say to all who saw them: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are those who mourn, blessed...’.

“Those are not the beatitudes the world wants, but they are the scandal of the Gospel.

“Then I too felt a great desire to give a visible witness.

“(But) ... there was no answer to this.

“At a certain point I met one of my companions, it must have been Natalia, and I said to her: ‘You know ..., I saw how those Sisters witnessed to the Gospel just by the uniform they were wearing and not with words..., and I really wanted us to be able to do that somehow. How can people get to know God through us? And since there was Jesus in the midst, I understood. ‘Oh yes”, I said, because there was Jesus in the midst. “Yes! “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’

Mutual love was our uniform. 

“Dying to ourselves in mutual charity is our characteristic way of witnessing to the Gospel.”



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