On the occasion of the conferral of the honorary citizenship of Pompeii to Chiara Lubich, she gave an outline of Mary’s influence in Her Work (the Focolare Movement), showing Mary’s universal motherhood.
Chiara:Your Excellencies, Mr. Mayor, Ladies and Gentlemen, Brothers and Sisters,
Thank you very much for the honour you have given me of being a “citizen of Pompeii”.
It is a heartfelt thank you, because being a citizen of Pompeii gives me the very sweet impression, which is a reality, of becoming part of the city of Mary.
For me, it is a great gift because, as stated in the motivations for this honour, Mary certainly has a central place in my life (and I add: in what I represent). Consequently, the Marian nature of this honorary citizenship is significant.
(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.
This was a question a little girl asked Chiara during a congress. Chiara shares her ‘secret’ and the fruit of suffering that has been loved.
(…) “How do you spend your day, in sadness or in joy? In particular, what do you do when you are not happy?
Chiara: She asks me what I do when I am not happy. This is very important. … You need to learn it by heart. …
When we are not happy, we must go deep down into our hearts and say to Jesus, "Listen Jesus, I feel a suffering, but you felt suffering too. I am happy to be like you and I offer you this suffering." And then we must start to love the others right away, and the suffering will go away. Jesus takes it away. It is as if he puts it in a parcel and takes our suffering away.
At the beginning of September we have the new Word of Life “Love your neighbour as yourself”. This is the key to practising fraternity and love, which are sure means to put an end to was and the abuse of power. This is the answer Chiara Lubich gave to a Member of the Slovak Parliament in Bratislava. She offers the witness of fraternity lived in the Movement’s communities and the ‘trump card’: the art of loving with its various requirements...
Honorable Malíková is a Member of the Parliament, representing the Slovak National Party. Please come to the microphone. Thank you.
Honorable Malíková: Thank you. I am very struck by Ms. Lubich’s words concerning love and universal brother and sisterhood, and how much these are needed in Europe:
“What do you think about the bombing in former Yugoslavia and the contribution, in this case, of Western European countries?
There is talk of building new bridges; but in this case a good number of bridges have been destroyed, both real and symbolic ones between peoples and among Christians; many Christian Churches have been ruined. Thank you.”
Chiara: This is my impression, that in Yugoslavia and in other places, in today’s world of course, what happens is unfortunately what has always happened in history and even in the modern age when people do not see each other as brothers and sisters. They don’t see further than the color of their skin, their language or nationality, their sexual orientation or anything else. That’s what happens, truly. So I really think that the very simple solution of fraternity, to know that we are brothers and sisters, is a solution ... a helpful and very useful solution. I’d say it is necessary in order to bring about real change in our world.
This is an answer Chiara Lubich gave to Cristina, a young woman from the Castelli Romani during a meeting with the local community on 10th February 2002. She spoke to Chiara being ready to take up the baton with all its consequences. Chiara said: “In creating you God had a design for your life. Live the will of God in the present moment and you’ll see! You cannot live without being in love, yes, in love with a God who has looked upon you.” Later Chiara mentioned the motto that can help everyone: start again, always, until you reach the goal.
Cristina: I remembered some things that the Pope and you, Chiara, said to us young people during the World Youth Day: “If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world on fire”. I realize that great people in history, like you and the Pope, count entirely on us young people. I wanted to ask you: how can we measure up to this legacy that you both leave us? In other words, what choices should we make in order to measure up to this legacy? Must we give our life for these great ideals?
Chiara: Certainly. It’s very beautiful to hear that,at root, what you are asking for is not little things, but that everyone wants to give the most; young people in particular want to give the most. They are also fortunate, compared to older people, because they don’t have a past behind them which influences them, like the many disappointments that older people like us have felt, and which might have hurt them. Instead young people are free and so they are free to embrace the greatest ideals. They say that the Holy Father asks them to give the most, that we too ask young people, and adults too, we ask everyone, even little children, to give the most, because we have only one life.
In the early years of Città Nuova [Italian New City] magazine (which had started up so as to link all those who had been it the recent Mariapolises in the Dolomites, and before the Mariapolises spread throughout the world) there was atmosphere of freshness, newness and revolutionary fervour, given the mentality of the time. It was the Gospel in action. This editorial article, signed by Chiara, thus became a manifesto of social doctrine. It is dated 30th August 1959 (the Feast of the Queenship of Mary was on 22nd) and Chiara invites all peoples to love one another to reach unity, going beyond their own frontiers... eradicating war. She speaks of a presence, a hidden bond, living within each nation. It is Mary, Queen of Peoples.
If one day all people, not as individuals but as peoples; if all peopleslearned how to set themselves aside, the idea they have of their homeland and their kingdoms, and offer these as incense to the Lord, the King of a kingdom which is not of this world, the Captain of armies, the Guide of history; and if they were to do this for the sake of mutual love among countries that God is asking for, just as he asks for mutual love among brothers and sisters, that day will be the beginning of a new era.On that day, in the same way as there is the living presence of Jesus between two people who love each other in Christ, so tooJesus will be alive and present among peoples, being given his rightful place as the only King, not only of hearts but of nations: He will be Christ the King.
For many years during the summer, and often in Switzerland, there was a traditional celebration on Chiara Lubich’s name day. On one occasion, after having asked Bishop Acacio to speak, Chiara’s gave a final greeting at the end as a thought for people to take with them. She invites everyone to learn from St Clare of Assisi how to abdicate ourselves completely and let Christ live in us.
Chiara Lubich after the Mass on the Feast Day of St. Clare:
... Today is the feast of St. Clare of Assisi. So this morning I read the Bull of Canonization of this great, very great saint of our Church. This Bull should be read because it’s wonderful! I don’t know how many times the word “clarity” was said, “light”, “clarity”, “brilliance”, “lamp”. All this means light, very bright light. But today it was not this aspect that impressed me, as it had on other occasions when I read the Bull of Canonization of St. Clare. Rather it was one word that was written there, that Clare of Assisi had abdicated, she had abdicated herself completely, denying herself, precisely because of her vocation to poverty, so as to let Christ live in her.
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