December 1, 2015. Bangui, spiritual capital of the world. “Listening to a land like this which has shed so much innocent blood being called the spiritual capital of the world, was like seeing God coming down to meet us.” The testimony of Geneviève Sanzé from the Central African Republic.[more]
At the time that Chiara and her first companions began their adventure in Trent (Northern Italy) the town had a population of about ten thousand. The girls’ actions had a real effect on the people and also on the Church. Both the elderly and the young were left speechless seeing the unusual life lived by the girls living in the ‘little house’ in Piazza Cappuccini, the first ‘focolare’. In this humble apartment the poor were at home. In fact the social problems of the city, ruined by the War, were problems the girls made their own. They believed that they could solve the problems by simply believing the truth in the words of the Gospel. By loving each neighbour one after the other.
Chiara wrote: ‘Among all the Words in the gospel we noticed immediately all those for our charism concerned specifically with evangelical love towards each neighbour, not only the poor, as when we read in the Gospel that Jesus had said “Whenever you did this for one of the least important of these brothers of mine (and that means everyone), you did it for me.” (Mt 25,40). Our old way of understanding our neighbour and loving them crumbled. If Christ was in some way in everyone, discriminations couldn’t be made, nor could preferences. Our normal way of reasoning of classifying people was thrown into the air: fellow country man or foreigner, old or young, beautiful or ugly, likeable or not, rich or poor, Christ was behind each one, Christ was in each one. “Another Christ” really was each neighbour – if grace enriched his soul – or “another Christ”, a Christ proud – if he was still far from Him.
Living like this, we realised that our neighbour was our way to reach God. It seemed that our neighbour was an arch we had to pass under in order to meet God. We experienced this right from the start. In the evening, during prayers or in a moment of recollection, after we had loved God in our brothers all day we had such union with God. Who gave us that consolation, that interior balm which was so new, celestial if not Christ who, from His Gospel lived “give and you shall be given”? (Lk 6,38) We had loved Him all day in those brothers and now He loved us. This inner gift was such a benefit! They were the first experiences of the spiritual life, of the reality of a kingdom which is not of this earth. So, in the marvellous way that the Spirit showed us, love for our brother was a new cornerstone of our spirituality.’
This has been the commitment of the Focolare Movement in France and around the world for many years, and now it has now been renewed as extremisms of hatred and violence threaten peace.[more]
The new wave of violence has not stopped Pope Francis from asserting that he wishes to go to the Bangui capital to open the cathedral’s holy door for the experience of fraternity among families[more]
The solemn feast of the Immaculate Conception on 8 December 2015 will mark the opening of the Year of Mercy. Pope Francis himself announced this in the Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy entitled “Misericordiae vultus.”[more]
Pope Francis has described our times as a Third World War in pieces. Igino Giordani experienced the horror of two wars, being directly involved and receiving a serious wound that was with him for life. But he never let that discourage him and was a relentless peacebuilder. We offer some of his thoughts.[more]
That all might discover the richness contained in every family, beyond their situations. This was the wish of the Rojas family, one of 18 participants in the Synod on the Family. They share their experience of the past three weeks at work.[more]