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.
I had known God’s presence before there in the tabernacle but somehow also distant. Now He seemed very close to me and I understood how everything is guided by Him. The whole of history and also the history of each one of us. I understood that He is Love and that His Love is in everything. Even though at times what happens might appear negative, God allows a greater good to come out of it all. But of course you have to believe in His Love in order to see this.
I was so deeply impressed with the thought of God loving me immensely that I told everyone. I told my friends, my mother, I wrote it in letters to my brother and sisters. And that’s how my first companions joined me. I’d say to them: “Do you know that God loves you, God loves us, He loves us immensely”. And we believed in this love. The war was going on and we knew we could die at any moment and so we said: “If we die, we want to be buried all together in the same grave and our epitaph should read: ‘And we have believed in Love’.”
We were like children who were orphans suddenly finding out they had a father. We discovered God the Father. That’s what launched our Christian revolution.
But it is true that the Kerygma, the message of our Church, of our faith is in fact this: “God loves you, God loves humankind”. You have been created out of love, He sent His Son to die for you, out of love He has prepared everlasting happiness for you, out of love, all out of love”. It’s the Holy Spirit who announces and He announced this extremely well to us!