Amidst the fury of war, Chiara Lubich and her first companions were in the habit of meeting each other in bomb shelters when the sirens would sound announcing new bombings. It was the desire of these young women from Trent to be together and discover new ways of being Christian and of putting the Gospel into practice, following that startling intuition that had led them to put God-Love at the center of their interests – he alone and nothing else – at the center of their young lives.
“Each event touched us deeply – Chiara later said -. The lesson that God was giving us through external circumstances was very clear: All is vanity of vanities, everything passes away. But at the same time, God placed a question in my heart for all of us and, with it, the answer: “But could there be an ideal that doesn’t die, that no bombs could bring down, one that we could give ourselves to?” Yes, God. We decided to make him the ideal of our lives.”
Chiara wrote in 2000, “God. God, who in the middle of the fury of war, which was the fruit of hatred, through the action of a special grace, manifested himself for what he truly is: Love. The leading concept upon which the Holy Spirit then constructed this entire spirituality was, therefore, God-Love (Cf. 1 Jn 4:8).
“What a change this truth, now understood in a totally new way, brings about in people when they come into contact with the movement! The Christian lives they were so faithfully living before, now appear overshadowed like the lives of orphans. For now a discovery has been made: God is Love, God is a Father! Our heart, which had been living an exile in the night of this life, opens and rises and unites to the one who loves it, the one who takes care of everything, the one who even counts the hairs on our head.
“The joyful and painful events acquire totally new meaning: Everything is foreseen and willed by the love of God. Nothing can make us fearful. This is an exciting faith which strengthens us, which makes us glory in it. It’s a faith that brings tears to the eyes of those who experience it for the first time. It’s a gift of God that makes us shout: “We have believed in love” (Jn 4:16). The choice of God who is Love, as the ideal of our life, was the first foundation that was laid, the first requirement of this new spirituality that had blossomed in our hearts. Thus we had found the one to live for: God-Love.