The Italian couple Agostino and Marisa Peretti, have spent three weeks visiting families of the Focolare communities in Venezuela which has been hit by a serious crises.[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.’
When the game of love for God and our neighbours becomes a daily exercise, in our hearts there is no longer any room for half measures.[more]
Giselle from the island of Cuba just became Christian and this year will be her first Christmas.[more]
Son of a carpenter and God: the human-divine mystery of Jesus in reflections by German bishop and theologian Klaus Hemmerle (1929–1994)[more]
Pope Montini is to be proclaimed a Saint during the Bishops’ Synod on Young People so the words he addressed to the new generation of the Focolare, the Gen, gathered in Rome in the Holy Year of 1975 are prophetic: “Be faithful and coherent”. Here are a few passages from his talk.[more]
This expression can easily be misinterpreted. A reflection by Klaus Hemmerle (1929 – 1994), once bishop of Aachen, Germany. Loving Jesus in a neighbour certainly does not mean “exploiting” a neighbour in order to be able to love God; rather, it acknowledges the true dignity of every human being.[more]