«That all may be one» (Jn. 17,21)
We were born for these words, for unity, to give a contribution to its realization in the world. Chiara Lubich
|Publications and Media|
|Websites in the world|
|New City Press|
|In the Beginning - All of the Gospel promises|
|Written by admin|
|Thursday, February 07, 2008|
Page 5 of 12
I had already put my books in the attic. At 18 years of age I had but one desire: to know God. Philosophy, the subject I passionately loved in school, no longer satisfied me. Since I was choosing a university to enroll in, I thought that in a Catholic university, I could know something more about God and understand who He is. For several reasons I could not be admitted; as I wept bitterly over this, I seemed to hear a voice in my soul which said: “I myself will be your Teacher.”.
Now, after several years, I can say that He who said these words was true to his promise. He sent me a gift of light, a charism of the Holy Spirit that gave us an understanding of the entire Gospel. Jesus’ words in the Gospel are unique, fascinating, incisive. They can be translated into life. They are light for every person who comes into the world and so they are universal words. By living them everything changed: our relationship with God, with our neighbour, with our enemies. Those words gave all values their rightful place and enabled people to put give up everything else, even their father or mother, their brothers or sisters, or their jobs... so as to give God the first place in their lives.
The Gospel makes extraordinary promises: a hundred times more in this life and eternal life. Where was the bent-neck piety, the drone of empty prayers, faith as mere habit, the inaccessible God? No, no, that is not Jesus’ religion. He acts as God. For the little that you give he covers you with gifts. You are alone and you find yourself surrounded by a hundred mothers, a hundred fathers, a thousand brothers, sisters, and all kinds of goods to give to those who have nothing. There is no human situation that cannot find an explicit or implicit answer in that little book which contains words of God.
We tried to put into practice the sentences of the Gospel, one at a time. One day we read, “Love your neighbour as yourself” (Mt 19,19). My neighbour? Who is my neighbour? We realized that this meant the person next to us – all those people who suffered from the war, the wounded, those who lacked clothing, a home, those who were hungry and thirsty. “Whatever you do to the least of my brothers you do it to me.” We would cook huge pots of soup to bring to the poor. When they knocked at our door we invited them to sit side by side with us at table.
“Ask and it will be given to you” (Mt 7:7), the Gospel assures us. We asked for everything we needed. And in the midst of the war came sacks and sacks of flour, crates of milk, of jam, firewood and clothing for the poor of the city.
One day I met a poor man: “Give me a pair of shoes, size 42,” he pleaded. “Where will I find a pair of men’s shoes, size 42 in the midst of this war?” I asked myself. I was then passing by the Church of St. Clare. I entered the church and saw the small tabernacle lamp which told me that Jesus was there. “Jesus, give me a pair of shoes, size 42 for you in that poor man,” I prayed. As I was leaving the church a woman with a package in her hands came towards me, saying, “Chiara, this is for your poor.” It was a pair of shoes, size 42!
The Gospel is true, we experienced it! This encouraged us to pursue the road we had taken, and to make of the Gospel the only rule of the Movement which was coming to life. The Holy Spirit pushed us further to share the experiences we made. We felt a great joy, and the people around us were curious to know how we could be so happy in such sad times. Our new and uplifting experiences in living the gospel spread by word of mouth. They were a small echo of the words of the apostles: Christ is risen. We felt we could say: Christ is alive!