16th July 1949 – 16th July 2019. The mysticism of Paradise ‘49 at the service of humanity today.

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From the special pact that Chiara Lubich and Igino Giordani made on 16th July 1949 emerged a new kind of mystical experience, one open to humanity and able to transform the history of communities and peoples.
All these pages are worth nothing if the soul who reads them does not love, is not in God. They have value if it is God who reads them in that soul.
Now what I want to leave to whoever will follow my Ideal is this certainty: all you need is the Holy Spirit (and faithfulness to the one who began it) to carry on the Work. …

As an aid, then, I can leave what I have written – but it has value only if it is taken as “an aid.”
Even Jesus, although he was God and had everything in himself, did not come to destroy and begin all over again, but to complete.
In this way, whoever comes after me will be able to complete what I have done.
I do not want to love those who follow on after me less than myself, and therefore I want them to have the Holy Spirit welling up in them just as God gave him to me. They will not have him directly; they will have him through an intermediary person but they will have him, living, from the living lips of the one who will convey him by living what he is teaching through me.
Thus it is good to remove decisively any concern other than that of doing the divine will made manifest moment by moment, but without suggesting anything to God. (Chiara Lubich, Paradise ’49)

What are “these pages” that Chiara Lubich was referring to? They are contained in a text known as Paradise ’49, written by Chiara 70 years ago, in the summer of 1949. They were written under the influence of a spiritual light that then continued for many more months. In the part quoted here, Chiara was addressing herself to those who, in our day, do not want merely to remember what happened then, but to graft ourselves on to the mystical experience that she and some members of the Focolare community had at its beginnings. The beautiful words, meaningful metaphors and breadth of concepts expressed in those pages can indulge a reader’s aesthetic sense, and help him or her to savour the religious atmosphere that was breathed at the time, but that is all. Only those who love are able to enter within the deep meaning of the mysticism of Paradise ’49. This meaning arises from the understanding of human reality and of all beings directly inspired by the contemplation of God and in God. The fruits of this experience are visible to all: the broad vision of the spirituality of communion, the doctrine arising from the charism of unity, the mission of the Focolare Movement and the actions and works that have sprung from its social engagement.

It is not by chance that the path into this mystical experience was opened by a special spiritual pact that Chiara made with Igino Giordani. He was married and a father, a member of parliament and a well-known author. Mysticism is not usually within the reach of those who are immersed in daily challenges of family, work, unavoidable commitments and complex challenges. The fact that Paradise ‘49 opened up through the unity between Chiara and Igino means that Chiara Lubich’s spirituality is not reserved to, nor is it dedicated to those who live in some kind of special religious state. It is for all humanity and is called to sustain the march towards unity of all people, men and women, communities and groups, peoples and nations, in all circumstances and conditions. Today, Chiara asks us to continue her work.

Alberto Lo Presti

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