The Soul of the City

Anniversary_logoExcerpts from a presentation by Maria Voce at the celebration of the tenth anniversary of the death of the founder of the Focolare; a passage on the topic of the city according to the thought of Chiara Lubich.
Maria Voce
Photo © CSC Audiovisivi

The model for our interpersonal and social relationships is Trinitarian love. Even though God is One, he is never alone, but rather a reality of love that expresses plurality, the model of every human community: social relations in the image of the Trinity. One expression of such relations is the city, which Chiara Lubich had always looked at with particular interest. Every city has its “calling”, its specific design that can be turned into a gift, one note in the overall symphony. It was from this perspective that she accepted the many honorary citizenships that were presented to her. Perhaps it was for this reason that she longed to see many little cities being built, laboratories of human community, blueprints of a united world, witnesses to how society could be based on the Gospel’s law of mutual love, on living brotherhood.

There are 25 such Focolare towns on all the continents, in different social and cultural settings, such as the United States, Cameroon, the Philippines, Germany, Brazil, Argentina and more. Chiara Lubich was the inspiration of them all, she followed and illuminated their developments. Their prototype is the international town of Loppiano in Italy which will have the honour, on May 10th, of welcoming Pope Francis.

3 marzo 2018
Photo © CSC Audiovisivi

Looking at them, Chiara saw them as an “inclined plane” towards the people who are suffering from doubt, uncertainty and no future. She told each of those cities, “to give hope and security, an extended hand of friendship to the people of today who are looking for happiness in the wrong ways, in drugs, eroticism, wealth… These little cities say to all, and show to all, that the true and perfect joy is Jesus. They give light to those suffering disunity in their families or in their local environments, because they provide an example and the secret of unity. They disarm those who are tempted to violence in every field, because they demonstrate, for example, with the internationality of their citizenry that it is through meekness born of love that one can conquer the world.”

The people who visit these little cities find a home, a family, a Mother – Mary!! She’s the one that forms and informs entire society of the Focolare Movement. Chiara had always indicated the Magnificat when showings us a life plan and an action plan: “The charter of Christian social doctrine begins there where Mary sings: “He has brought down the mighty from their thrones and lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.” That has been the experience of the Movement from the very start until now. Some people put their jewels in common, some their lands, all types of possessions; others put their needs in common. Choosing to live a simpler lifestyle helps everybody to have everything they require. The Gospel contains the highest and most overwhelming revolution. And perhaps it is God’s plan that even in this age immersed in solutions to social problems, it will be Our Lady to give all of us Christians a hand in building, solidifying, erecting and showing to the world a new society that strongly re-echoes the Magnificat.

We would want to see the communion of goods, among individuals and families, to extend to the city, state, peoples and continents, making way for the civilization of love.



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