Jos Van Boxel, Belgian, who lived for 23 years in Zambia, Tanzania and Uganda with the White Fathers, tells of his first encounter with the Focolare and the choice to become a missionary.[more]
The adventure led by Chiara Lubich was based on just one ‘text book’: the Bible, the Gospel, the Word of God. It was through the reading of the Gospel that she and her first companions discovered a way of life that led them to God. During that period, while still teaching, Chiara had an intuition which was quickly embraced by the Focolare world and beyond: the ‘Word of Life’. They lived a sentence from the Gospel and the novelty, for that time, was that Chiara and her first companions, to help one another and to grow together, told one another of the fruits they had experienced through living the Word.
Chiara wrote: ‘The War was still raging. Every time the air-raid siren sounded, all we could take into the shelter with us was one small book: the Gospel. We opened it and the words, even though we already knew them quite well, because of the new charism , were lit up as if they had a candle beneath them, they enflamed our hearts and pushed us to put them into practise straightaway. We were attracted to them all and tried to live them one after another. I read for example; “Love your neighbour as yourself” (Mt 19,19). Our neighbour. Where was our neighbour? There, next to us in the all the people who had been hurt by the War, wounded, without clothes, without houses, hungry and thirsty. We immediately dedicated ourselves to them in many ways.
‘The Gospel assured us: “Ask and you shall receive.” (Mt 7,7). We asked for the needs of the poor – and, extraordinarily for war-time – we received everything we needed from God! One day, and this story is one of the first experiences we had and is often told, a poor person asked us for a pair of shoes size 42. Knowing that Jesus was in the poor person, I turned to the Lord, in the church of St Clare near to a hospital of the same name, with this prayer: “Give me a pair of shoes size 42 for you in that poor person”. I came out and a lady came up and gave me a parcel. I opened it and it was a pair of shoes size 42.
‘We read in the Gospel: “Give and you will be given” (Lk 6,38). We gave and gave and each time we received in return. We had just one apple left in the house. We gave it to the poor person who asked. And we saw the next morning, maybe from a relative, a dozen apples arrive. We gave those to others who were in need, and in the evening a whole suitcases of apples arrived. That’s how it was, all the time.
‘These events, one after the other, amazed and enchanted us. We had great joy and that joy spread. Jesus had promised and still now he keeps His promise. He is not, therefore, a reality of the past, but of the present. And the Gospel is true. This discovery gave wings to our steps on the journey we had just begun. When we explained this to people who were curious about our happiness in such sad and troubled times; they understood that they hadn’t simply found a few girls in a young Movement but Jesus alive.”
This month’s Scripture invites us to create new relationships in the places we live and work, rather than being resigned to evils that are greater than us and can make us grow indifferent.[more]
This month’s Word of Life reminds us that “everything is ours,” especially the suffering and needs of those around us, if we are able to share the load.[more]
The year 2017 starts with a phrase of the Gospel, the “Word of life,” that pushes us towards the others to serve them with concrete acts. Here are some brief experiences from different countries.[more]
The year 2017 started with the news of the umpteenth terrorist attack. Pope Francis invitation to work for peace, and from Istanbul: “We want to continue living for peace”.[more]
This month’s Word of Life helps us to resist the temptation to respond in kind, to return evil for evil and to see those who appear to be our enemies as people that need to be loved.[more]