‘I got to know the Focolare through some members of Youth for a United World who were in my class at school in Rome. When the time came that I felt the need to deepen my spirituality and my ideals, I asked the advice of my friend who is a gen. I liked the Movement and I really wanted to love concretely, but I was scared I would be unable to live up to the Ideal of unity, because I was far from having any religion.
‘I don’t like being called an atheist, because nowadays atheism is seen a position of aggressive opposition to the Church and to religion. But I try to respect everyone and everything. For this reason I prefer being called a ‘non-believer’.
‘I have never accepted evangelizing people; it’s always seemed to me to be about putting pressure on them. But I try to ‘shine’ as much as I can, so others may be struck by my light. Living each moment as love is what makes me feel I’m really following this ideal, that I’m a person with something extra because I love everyone and love what I do.
‘Living among a lot of people who are always ready to love has made me understand that it’s not necessary to be heroes to save the lives of others. If you love in the present moment wherever you are, people change. A small act of kindness can make someone smile and can set off a chain reaction of positive events – it creates a piece of united world.
‘One day, during a trip to the mountains, a man decided to join our party, even though his climbing boots were broken, because he was suffered from vertigo and was frightened of using the chair lift. I decided to swap boots with him, and go on with one bare foot and one foot in a broken boot. It was easy to get to the second chair lift, where he thought he could manage to use it and give me back my boots. If an action is inspired by a love that doesn’t seek to gain anything, perhaps it doesn’t change the day much for us personally, but it does for lots of others.
‘My choice of living as a person who follows this Ideal isn’t easy. Every day I live trying to do the right thing. To everyone who has doubts about faith or who thinks that being a non-believer is to be branded for life, I’d like to say that it’s not like that. Above all here, in this environment, I have always felt myself welcome as in a family. At worst… you risk having to talk about yourself on stage like I’m doing now!’
Recounted at the event ‘Chiara Lubich and the New Generations’, Rome, 11 March 2012