Spirituality and prayer

Natalia Dellapiccola, India 2003Natalia Dallapiccola, the first woman to follow Chiara Lubich in the focolare, once shared: “One night, sitting around a table, which was the only piece of furniture that had survived, seeing with the light of a candle, because a blackout had prevented us from using the electricity, Chiara read: ‘As I have loved you, so must you love each other. Everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love each other.’ Those words,” continued Natalia, “fell like oil on fire. We were anxious to know Jesus’ deepest desire. We were looking for a word that could tell us at once, precisely what he wanted from us. And here it was, the word that synthesized it, our eureka moment. And so, before going to school or to work or to the shop, before going out to bring something to the poor, even before praying, we said that there had to be the very love of Jesus between us, because this is what he wanted. And when we left each other that night, we felt that our lives were changed, they had acquired a different flavour, they had discovered their reason.”

The personal life of prayer is the lifeblood for those who adhere to the spirituality of unity. The relationship with God is the basis of every action. But this life of prayer is also profoundly communitarian: from the songs they sang while holidaying in Dolomites in the 50’s, to the more contemporary songs of Gen Verde and Gen Rosso, from heartfelt participation in the daily liturgy to evening prayer together in the community that embraces the world. The men and women focolarini live their spirituality of communion in every action. This communion isn’t limited to just moments of intimate prayer, but also has reflections in their personal and social lives. A deeper sense of justice is born, for example, the need for legality in society, which the “Communion and Law” section of the Movement strives to promote through different projects.

Chiara Lubich once wrote: “We have an interior life and an external life. Each one blossoms from the other; each is rooted in the other; each is the foliage of the other on the tree of our life.

The interior life is nourished by the external life. Insofar as I enter into the soul of my neighbour, so far do I enter into God who is within me. Insofar as I enter into God who is within me, so far do I enter into the other.

God-me-other is an entire world, an entire kingdom. . .”.

In another place she writes: “The greater our love for others, the greater our love for God”.