“I’ve been a member of the Centro Igino Giordani (Igino Giordani Centre) for some time now. After many years of service to the Focolare Movement I was blessed with the gift of being able to continue working directly for Foco; indeed, I would call it working with him.
I was the last to join the Centre but I had the great fortune of being near to Foco from when I first entered the Focolare Movement. I got to know him at the end of 1957 when he came to my hometown of Milan for a conference. And I was able to spend a few hours with him and begin to appreciate his extraordinary personality that was so kind, simple, friendly and likewise rich culturally and transparent spiritually.
And then there was his secret, which it didn’t take long to discover: his total adhesion to the Ideal of Chiara Lubich and the particular unity he had with her. This was the first impact he had on me and my wife, Mariele. It was a decisive moment for us, for our future involvement and vocation which was to follow in his footsteps as married focolarini.
We were given the great and inestimable gift of being able to work closely with him, which allowed us to live in his atmosphere in a school of such exquisite charity, drawing on his many abilities and his intuitions about the family, sharing in his openness toward human society. “It was through Giordani,” Chiara Lubich states, “that the Focolare Movement felt particularly called to be dedicated to bringing Christ into the midst of the world, to permeate the things of the world with the spirit of God.” Now, working at the Centro Igino Giordani where all of his works are preserved along with the testimonies, entering into it as into some precious coffer that preserves his living memory for all of us, has meant entering into a much closer relationship with him and feeling him even nearer to me as a teacher, friend and companion on the journey especially at this time in my life, this time of settling accounts and preparing . . .
The last gift was being able to draw on his words and reflections that shed such sapential light on this final stretch that lies before us: old age “that seems like a losing”, says Foco, “and it is a gaining; seems like a sunset and it is a dawning. The silence of old age is a silence in which God speaks; the calm into which God pours certainty that undermines all fear. . . From within the solitude that expands with the coming of winter, God comes to the fore: God advances; and the relationship with Him is more intimate and spontaneous. For all that I lose in a human economy, so much do I gain in the divine economy. . . And when death comes, then, don’t be sad: open the sails to the Eternal Love: to the encounter with God, face to face; the end of pain and the beginning of enjoyment.” Because: “Life is nothing but a process of maturing through the purification that suffering brings: when the fruit is mature God will gather it and transplant the tree in Paradise.”
Compiled by Centro Igino Giordani
Taken from an unpublished writing by Pino Quartana: “Il mio rapporto con Foco” (3 March 2011)