Family Life: a year of the Gospel

Maria and Luigi are an Italian couple, married for 23 years, with 4 children. They have committed themselves, together with other families of the Focolare Movement, to living the Gospel in every circumstance of life. This is their daily contribution to building a more cohesive society.

From the moment I learned that last year was going to be dedicated to living the Word,’ Maria told us, ‘I thought about when I got to know the Movement as a girl. Chiara Lubich encouraged us to write the Gospel with our lives. In the month of March we were living the words: ‘Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life’ (John 6:68) and in her commentary Chiara affirmed that when the words of Jesus are lived they change our way of thinking and acting. Well, some workers came to do a job in our garage. One of the people in our apartment block, who did not know they were coming,  was upset and moaned at the plumber. By chance I found myself in the middle of the discussion and I tried to make peace. I spoke with our neighbour to explain why the work needed doing and I spoke with the worker to explain why my neighbour was complaining. The tension was broken and calm restored.’

Luigi continued, ‘One of our daughters was having difficulty in one subject when the teacher changed. The problem affected a lot of them in the class, and many parents got involved criticizing the teacher. We thought we should do something to quieten things down. The words from the Gospel: “I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” (Luke 12:49) helped us to have the right attitude with everyone – our daughter, the other parents and the teacher. We took on the responsibility of writing letters, meeting with parents and the principal, speaking to the teacher, listening to everyone’s explanations and trying to get everyone to move to a constructive dialogue. It would appear there was no happy ending, because about half the class fell behind in the subject. It seems to us, though, that it was a chance to bring a different spirit into the school and, above all, we shared this “defeat” with our daughter, helping her overcome the obstacle, ready with her to respect her teacher and praying also for him every evening.’

Maria spoke again, ‘In May one of our daughters was diagnosed with a dangerous tumour. It was a shock: why does God ask this of us? We were confused … it was not easy to go beyond our pain. The Word was a help to us yet again and bit by bit we tried to accept deeply what God was asking of us. My relationship with Luigi and with our daughters grew stronger. We felt the love of many people who shared the suspense of this experience of with us. The operation went well. In the room with Letizia – I was able to be with her the whole time she was in hospital – there was a woman whose family lived a long way off. She hadn’t eaten for  days because of the treatment she was having. The Word of Life for that month was: “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you” (John 6:27). I felt I could offer her this “food” through what I said and little acts of service. One day I lent her the magazine New City and later on I saw that she was reading the Word Life column in it.’

‘When summer came,’ continued Luigi, ‘we went back to the town where we were born. There was family trouble awaiting us. One of Maria’s aunts needed a lot of medical treatment and her was husband sick in hospital; both of them were elderly and they had no children. Maria’s uncle was fully aware how ill he was. We stayed with him right up to the moment of his death. We spent several moments in the last few nights whispering prayers in his ear. It seemed to us that bit by bit he was prepared for his meeting with God.’




  1. gaelle

    c’est tout simplement émouvant.
    qu’est-ce qu’on gagnerai à suivre votre exemple. bravo belle famille chrétienne. que l’Eternel vous garde.

  2. joe fernandes

    To every problem the Word of God has a solution that was beautifully shared by Luigi and Maria. The second last line whispering prayers in his ear was great. Thank you for that beautiful sharing

    Joe & Marina


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