Castel Gandolfo, December 31, 1998
Chiara Lubich answers a question of a seminarian.
… Considering today’s society, we often ask ourselves if we are sufficiently equipped to bring the Gospel to the men and women of our times.
How can we offer people the Christian message in such a way that it will really answer their questions and problems?
Chiara: Well, first of all, the questions that some of them will ask you are general questions, which we too know or our people who are close to them know, so they aren’t really difficult questions. In any case, the answer to everything is the Word of God! You cannot imagine what the Word of God is. It’s the answer to everything, the answer to everything. In fact, it is God who answers us through his Son.
What matters for us is that we re-evangelize ourselves by living the Words of Life month after month, that we re-evangelize ourselves, really and truly. Not every now and then, but being living Gospels, allowing the Word to take hold of us and enter every fibre of our being, to be nothing but the Word of God.... You are no longer John, Elio, Guido. You are the Word of God; you are the Word of God, because it has taken your soul so completely that you are nothing but that.
For example, someone might ask: “What are you doing, John?” He should answer: “I’m studying.” No. “I’m loving,” because he might be living the Word of Life to love God with all one’s heart, to love his will, and so: “What are you doing?” Perhaps he is studying: “What are you doing, John? Are you studying?” “No, I’m loving.” Then at breakfast: “What are you doing, John? Are you eating?” “No, I’m loving.” And then he might go to see someone: “What are you doing?” “No, I’m loving.” In other words, he is wholly Word of God, completely God’s Word.
By doing this, by living the Word, you have many very beautiful experiences, you see the effect you have on others, you see the inner changes it produces, you discover a new freedom... you should share these experiences with others. In sharing them, others are enriched, because they treasure them. Likewise, in hearing other people’s experiences, you are enriched because you treasure them.My advice is this... if I were a priest, if I were a pastor, I would write down all these beautiful experiences. I would keep a diary and fill it with meaningful experiences.
Then you need to preach: please dear gen seminarians, you at least must not preach! Because sermons send people to sleep... they are really... (Applause) I say preach in the meaning given to this word today: “Don’t preach at me!” Young people say to their parents: “Let me be. Don’t start preaching at me now!” This is what I mean. Don’t preach at people. You must do something else; you must be priests who communicate God.
So you have these beautiful experiences and, of course, it’s your duty as a priest to transmit the Christian message, the Gospel, the Epistle... you have to do this. But if you do it like that, yes, you will surely do some good if you speak with conviction; but if you add some of your experiences... "You know, a friend of mine..." and say how things went, perhaps, with that person who converted, or with another person.
Then the Gospel becomes more appetizing and clearer. People understand it better. This is my advice.