Fr Fabio Ciardi of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate has been assigned the task of explaining the Word of Life 2015. In an interview with New City published in the 25 November edition, he himself explained the reason for this: “It may be because I worked with Chiara Lubich for years, especially in the field of spiritual theology. During the last period of her illness, I helped her to prepare the comments on the Word of Life. I hope that my long stay in the Abba School – the team that studies the “founder’s writings” on the charism of unity – has helped me to assimilate some of her wisdom and express it also in these new comments.”
Generations of Christians have lived the Word of God. What did Chiara Lubich introduce that was new?
“One usually stops to pray or meditate on the Word. Here, instead, one is asked to put it into practice, and transform it into life, as St James exhorted: “… be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1.22). Authentic listening, with one’s heart and not only with one’s ears, means assimilating and internalizing the Word, so that it imbues one’s whole Christian existence. Chiara furthermore focused on the Word of Life’s social dimension: it should generate a Christian community, that is, its effects should have an impact and be shared among those who live it, so that members of the community may discover its potential.”
“It is not so much we who live the Word, in reality, it is the Word that gives us life,” he continued. “The destiny of the Word, Chiara said, is to be “devoured” to generate Christ’s presence among us.” On recounting the experience at the start of the Movement: “In every instant of life, it was our nutriment. Exactly in the same way as the body breathes in order to live, our soul, in order to live, lived the Word.”
Fr Ciardi stressed in the interview: “Following the tradition set by Chiara, we are called to continue, precisely in the same way she did, and look to the Scriptures because it always has new answers to the most different situations.” And added: “Her comments are a precious treasure chest from which we will continue to draw inspiration, and will always be something we will always meditate on.”
He concluded by saying: “I am aware that my comment will only be a small introduction to the Word of Life, and this, and not the comment is what remains in the heart of the reader, and will bear fruit.”