On 13th June 2016 Francesco was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a form of Motor Neurone Disease which attacks the neurons controlling voluntary muscles, progressively affecting his movement – but not, according to Francesco, his freedom to love.[more]
During the summer of 1949, Giordani went to visit Chiara who had gone away for a period of rest in the valley of Primiero, in Tondaico, in the mountains of Trentino. They were intensely living the Gospel passage concerning Jesus’ abandonment. On the 12th of July Chiara wrote: “Jesus Forsaken! The important thing is that when he passes by we are attentive to hear what he wants to say to us, because he always has something new to tell us. Jesus forsaken wants us perfect: He is the only Teacher, Jesus, and he wants to take advantage of all circumstances to mold us, to round off the sharp edges of our personalities, to make us holy. The only thing we must do is to take in all these voices that arise from the circumstances as his voice. All that happens around me happens for me, it’s all a choral rendition of the love of God for me.”
When summer ended, it was time to leave the Primiero valley and return to the city. On a piece of paper with the letterhead of the Italian Senate Chamber, which had been lent to her by Giordani, Chiara jotted down a text which is now famous and begins with the line: “I have only one spouse on earth, Jesus forsaken. . .” Her descent from that “little Tabor” marked the announcement that the Abandoned One is the way to unity. “I’ll go through the world searching for him in every instant of my life,” she wrote on that paper. And so Jesus forsaken is the “secret” to unity.
In 2000 Chiara wrote: “Right from the start we understood that fullness had another side to it, the tree had its roots. The Gospel covers you in love, but demands everything from you. “If the grain of wheat doesn’t fall to the earth and die – we read in the Gospel of John – it remains just a grain of wheat, but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (Jn 12:24). And the personification of this is Jesus Crucified, whose fruit was the redemption of humankind. Jesus Crucified! One episode from those early months in 1944, gave us a new understanding of him. Through a particular circumstance, we came to know that the greatest suffering of Jesus and, therefore, his greatest act of love, was when on the cross he experienced the abandonment by the Father: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” This touched us to the depths. And our young age, our enthusiasm, but especially the grace of God, urged us to choose only him in his abandonment, as the means to realize our ideal of love.
“From that moment on, we seemed to discover his countenance everywhere. He had experienced within himself people’s separation from God and from each other, and he had felt the Father far from him. We saw him not only in all our personal sufferings, which were never lacking, but in those of our neighbor, often alone, abandoned, forgotten, in the separation between generations, between rich and poor, within the very Church at times, and, later, between churches, then between religions and between persons of different convictions.
But these wounds didn’t frighten us. On the contrary, because of our love for him in his abandonment, they attracted us. He had shown us how to face them, how to live them, how to cooperate in overcoming them when, after the abandonment, he placed his spirit in his Father’s hands: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” giving to humankind the possibility of being restored to itself and to God, and he showed us the way. And so he manifested himself to be the key to unity, the remedy for every disunity. He was the one who recomposed unity between us each time it cracked. In him we recognized and loved the great and tragic divisions of humankind and of the Church. He became our only Spouse. And our life with such a Spouse was so rich and so fruitful that it compelled me to write a book, a love letter, like a song, a hymn of joy and of gratitude to him.”
The testimony of a youth of Burkina Faso, struggling with continuous headaches. From the faith crisis to the discovery that we can continue to give joy to others also in suffering.[more]
In August 1994, the then archbishop Miloslav Vlk, who passed last month, told his story to the residents of Montet, Switzerland.[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]
Letter from a young inmate to the young people at Genfest2018. “Even behind bars you can live for a united world, by trying to love and serve everybody.”[more]
The 2018 “United World Week” (1st – 10th May) focuses on the ideals that led to the start of these weeks 25 years ago. Here are extracts from Chiara Lubich’s message to the young people gathered at Loppiano on 1st May 1999.[more]