the early years of the Focolare, the Word of God was
so important that it led to a mystical experience in
the summer of 1949. Chiara Lubich herself shared what
happened: “From the birth of the movement up until
that moment, the Word of Life had been lived out ‘with
very special intensity.’ The main structures of
the Movement didn’t exist yet; nor had other initiatives
begun, and so all our efforts were focused on putting
the Gospel into practice.
Word of God had entered so deeply within us that it
changed our way of thinking. The same thing happened
to those who were in contact with us.
new Gospel mindset that was taking shape was showing
itself to be a true divine protest to the worldly way
of thinking, willing and acting. We were being re-evangelized
by living God’s word.”
Gospel, therefore, became the rule of life and transformed
each person’s mindset from worldly to supernatural.
a consequence of a profound sharing of experiences in
trying to put it into practice, the Gospel was able
to change society from a worldly one to a supernatural
one, which corresponds to God’s plan for humanity.
one of the words of the Gospel entered into our hearts,
it seemed,” as Chiara noted, “to be transformed
into fire, into flames, to be transformed into love.
We could affirm that our inner life was all love.”
can ask ourselves: “Is this the same for us? Are
we experiencing the fact that it is not us who live
the Word, but it is the Word that lives in us?”
“We cannot enter paradise,” Chiara intuited,
“if the Word of God doesn’t live in us.
We will go to paradise, having made the Word our own,
if we are Word of God ourselves.”
if it’s true that in heaven we shall be only Word
of God, “from now, on earth,” Chiara urges
us, “we should be only Word of God.”
indicated a model for us to follow in order to reach
this great goal: Mary, the Mother of Jesus, someone
who is entirely Word of God.
was the discovery Chiara made precisely during that
illuminative period of 1949, when “the Word of
God revealed itself in all its power” and God
revealed Mary’s exemplary nature in an absolutely
new way. Chiara was led to know Mary as “completely
formed by the Word,” “totally clothed in
is what Pope Benedict XVI states in Verbum Domini: “As
we contemplate in the Mother of God a life totally shaped
by the Word, we realize that we too are called to enter
into the mystery of faith, whereby Christ comes to dwell
in our lives.”
times Chiara pointed to Mary as the model of every Christian.
Mary represents for us what each one of us should be,
that we are called as she was “to repeat Christ,
the truth, the Word, each according to the personality
God gave them.”
expression, “each according to the personality
God gave them,” emphasized by Chiara, is beautiful;
that is, with all our being as persons made new; with
all the richness that characterizes each one of us and
makes us “unique” children of God.
I understood,” Chiara wrote in 1950, “that
each one of us is irreplaceable where we are. We were
called by God to be Him: therefore, to be living Words
be “living,” as we mentioned before about
the stripped branches, is to be ready to be consumed
into one. In fact, there is a dynamic of love that connects
word to word and, in God, makes us become words in the
Chiara explained, “God has called us to be dressed
in the Word of God, which, because it is love, is complete,
but it also needs another word to give rise to a new
beauty of love. So, each one has the Kingdom of God
within oneself, provided that we set it aside in every
moment in front of our neighbor, because love is made
is the essence of the collective spirituality, of the
Trinitarian life to which each one of us is personally
called, as is the whole movement.
all be one” (Jn 17:21), the mission of our movement,
expresses it well. God, “by sending this charism
on earth, pronounced the word ‘unity,’”
Chiara wrote. “I was always aware of it; right
from the beginning; I felt that the charism expressed
in me was ‘Where two or three are gathered in
my name, there am I in their midst’ (Mt 18:20).
The light that poured from this word was the presence
of Jesus in our midst.”
this word “unity” there is all our commitment,
not only to live out our charism but also to share it
with others through the witness of our mutual love,
strengthened by Jesus’ statement: “May all
be one … that the world may believe” (Jn
17:21). This is how our “evangelization”
is fundamentally expressed.
in the next issue)
Voce is Focolare’s president, having succeeded
foundress Chiara Lubich (1920–2008). Excerpted
from her conversation with Focolare directors, September
is a charism?
From the Greek “free gifts,” the word “charism”
refers to special gifts given by the Holy Spirit for
the common good at a particular period of history. In
the Church, spiritual currents, religious families and
ecclesial movements are born from particular charisms.