Many years ago, trying to convey a vision of the various continents that underscored the human wealth of their peoples, in Latin America Chiara Lubich took the heightened sensitivity to sociality as a defining characteristic of this region of the world. During these first fifty years of the Focolare’s presence in this land no one here has ever forgotten this vision. And this was the dimension that emerged so strongly at the festive gathering with Maria Voce and Giancarlo Faletti and the communities of the Southern Cone (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay), on April 14, 2012 in Buenos Aires.
In a large tent auditorium that was filled with almost 3,500 people a parade of folkloristic music and dance accompanied by audiovisual shows presented the various countries that were represented, often referring to situations of poverty, inequality, marginalization… to which the Movement has often responded.
Then Maria Voce and Giancarlo Faletti began an intense dialogue with the audience, responding to a series of questions. How to grow and be fruitful even in times of crisis? Maria Voce responded by saying: “Moments of crisis are always moments of growth even when we’re not aware of it. Mothers know well that when their teenage children are growing they feel awkward and uncomfortable. . . but they grow just the same, even though they aren’t aware of it. I have found so much esteem and appreciation for our Movement in the Church. . . so let’s trust in what others see in our Movement. In this land of hope we must also hope because it’s a theological virtue. We mustn’t lose hope because God, who is Love, is bringing things ahead.” What about becoming involved in social issues? “We can’t be dispassionate,” Giancarlo Falleti responded. “Chiara has taught us to construct pieces of society that are renewed. We should bring forward whatever God may put in our hearts, with the help of others, together.” And Faletti added: “The difficulties of today invite us to reinvent while remaining faithful to our spirituality, but being moved by new creative thinking in order to understand how to fit ourselves into today’s history, today’s Church and today’s world.”
Asked about the significance of the New Evangelization, Maria Voce stressed: “The Gospel should be our clothing, and living it should be our way of proclaiming that Jesus is alive. And not only must we proclaim it but permit others to actually encounter Jesus present among us because of the mutual love that we live.” With so much cultural, social and ethnic difference, how are we to avoid exclusion? “God has made the universe with all these differences,” replied Maria Voce. “We should see them as He does, that they are all actually rich expressions of his unlimited ability to express Himself in an infinite of ways. This rich diversity of the Latin American peoples can be a gift for the whole world in discovering the beauty and the richness of God.”
What about difficult situations such as the breakdown of the family? “This spirituality is to be incarnated in the issues of today,” Faletti insisted. “When the Movement spread beyond the Iron Curtain, we were completely blocked, unable to run any activities. But this turned out to be one of the most fruitful periods. These difficult times in Latin America are a time of grace. Let us love: the answers to all problems are in God and they are born from an abundance of love.”
Maria Voce concluded by saying: “You need to show the beauty of this diversity to the world, the beauty of these peoples whose roots are no longer separated but intertwined.”