The visit Focolare president Maria Voce to Switzerland, concluded with a glance to the future. She was accompanied by Giancarlo Faletti for nine days in this land of the Swiss (2-11 November 2012) and met with people from the Movement and ecumenical personalities from this country. Her last appointment was with 120 Gen 3, teenage boys who live the spirituality of the Movement and animate the Teens for Unity Movement. Their lively vitality of their experience in engaging numerous teenagers in Switzerland, and the concrete projects that one group carried out during a week-long stay in Croazia where coming into close contact with the most needy families, taught them to value what they have, “being more attentive about eating everything on their plates, even old bread,” as one of them recounted.
The boys’ questions provided an opportunity for Maria Voce and Giancarlo t share their own personal experiences, along with a few “tricks” for becoming “great in love”. “Whenever we find ourselves in front of people who are difficult to love, that is the moment to make the life of Jesus grow within us; these are the moments in which Jesus makes us love with his own Heart. My love grows stronger not when the others have given me a compliment, but when I’ve felt wounded inside and I’ve carried on loving,” said Giancarlo. Maria Voce encouraged the boys to “take the initiative and not expect anything in return.” And she also explained that it’s not enough to tell a boy that he was wrong in stealing, but also that his action “diminished the communion among all, igniting fear and suspicion in the relationship.”
There was the same intensity in the dialogue with the young people on 10 November 2012, in which Maria Voce and Giancarlo Faletti launched that challenge of “living for a united world” with a blazing love in order to be a new generation, always ready to offer the world a supplement of the spirit it so much needs.
The adults were also drawn into the “revolution of love” and they left committed to build fraternity everywhere. “One day, passing in front of a kiosk,” one of the recounts, “I noticed that among the games there were some pornographic videos. I mustered up my courage and spoke to the seller, then with the director, and finally with the owner of the kiosk. It wasn’t easy. But a few days later when I passed by the kiosk again, the seller told me that the owner of the kiosk had told her to ‘remove those DVDs from the shelf‘.”
The ideal of unity arrived in Switzerland in the 1950’s, and so it has a long history in this country. Many were the pioneers of fraternity and not only in the Catholic Church. In fact, the first person to know the focolarini in Italy was an architect from the Reformed Church. Over the years there have been many ecumenical projects, in which Chiara Lubich was directly involved. She loved Switzerland and spent her holidays here, calling it her second homeland. Among those whom the spirituality has reached were also people of other faiths, and others who have arrived from countries in difficulty. This has given witness to how much the Ideal of unity has favoured an integration that must not be taken for granted.
During the open discussion with Maria Voce, Giancarlo Faletti and the thousand people who came from all Switzerland, a few proposals emerged: to make the current of love increase in the world; staying inside one’s own group makes the united world a utopia, so if we want to bring it forward, we should move beyond the borders, responding to this urging from God who is asking for more than what has been done up until now. We should be more passionately engaged in working for the unity among the Churches, active in the building of a better society, aiming for great things because God is in our midst, who can do all things.
By Aurora Nicosia