“…what does God mean to you?”
Piero Pasolini was interested in many things, not only physics and science. He was, however an expert in physics, as an undergraduate he participated, alongside Enrico Fermi, in the research towards splitting the atom. Through his life he got involved in all manner of activities ranging from metaphysics to building, with his own hands, a hydro electric centre in the heart of an equatorial rainforest. He made the turbine from the nose cone of a large ……unexploded bomb.
Coming from a large, honest, hardworking family, Piero was always interested in “electrical gadgets” with his screwdriver in his pocket he was ready to help anyone in difficulty. During the War he found time to dig out shelters for the people where he lived, Borghi, a small village near Rimini in Italy.
It was in Milan, whilst enjoying a meal in a restaurant, that his life changed forever.
He told the story like this: “In 1949 I was seated at the same table as some other young professionals. One of them had invited Ginetta Calliari – one of Chiara Lubich’s first companions – so we could learn about the Focolare Movement. And there, at the table, after chatting about who knows what Ginetta asked me: “And for you…. what does God mean to you?” I was speechless. She said: “For us God is the Ideal of our life.” This answer made a big impression on me.
From that moment I looked at the world completely differently. After that what mattered for me was God, nothing else.” A very real revolution for the young physicist was his meeting with Chiara Lubich herself in which he found the source of the light he had only previously glimpsed. It confirmed in him the call to live with Jesus in the Midst in the Focolare.
From then on Piero’s life took off. He lived intense years travelling in Europe and Africa, a messenger for unity, wherever he went he left his mark, the people and places he visited were all touched by his warmth of character.
Chiara Lubich said of him:”His soul was always directed to doing good moment by moment. He was in a hurry to do it, almost as if time was escaping him…”
“His own writings – Chiara continued – reached the five continents, his thoughts were original bringing together Christian faith permeated by the ‘charism’ of the Movement and his profound scientific knowledge.”
Neither can we forget Piero’s long term collaboration writing for the Focolare magazine Citta Nuova.
He wanted to ‘reach everyone’. Above all young people were fascinated by the vision he had of the world that went beyond science in the strictest sense and reached life.
“Everything exists for something else, everything is in relationship. The Gospel revealed to us, that man also advances through relationship. With the principle of mutual love, brought by Jesus, humanity changes, it becomes something else, a new human society”. Evolution for him represented the move from multiplicity to unity. He saw science and faith as one even though clearly delineated in their respective fields.
Piero spent the last stage of his life in Africa. Thanks to his great technical and scientific knowledge and understanding , for over 15 years, he led, managed and worked on many practical projects during the construction of the Focolare little town in the Cameroons. He died in Africa.
On 26th January in Nairobi, Kenya, Piero suffered a heart attack. A few days earlier he had said to some young people: “Life is an organisation of love, love is maximum intelligence”. His last words were: “Let’s keep Jesus among us.”