“We have learned to love each other without asking for anything in return, just as God loves us.” “Little by little, we have fallen in love with each other’s souls. We find ourselves in a fullness of love that we have never experienced before, not even when we were engaged, and this is possible because now we love each other in a totally free way, without asking anything in return, as God loves us.”
Nacho and Fili are from Mexico, they have been married for 30 years and have two children. They say that their love only really began after they discovered that God is Love and that he loved all human beings to the point of giving his life for them. In comprehending this great gift, they understood that they could overcome their respective limitations and heal the wounds that had torn their relationship apart. It was a discovery that gave meaning to the journey of each of their lives and made them capable of loving and freely giving to one another.
Their story, up to a certain point, is similar to that of many couples. Two people feel they are in love and decide to get married: in each one there is an inner void that undermines the foundations of any project. They hope that by sharing the wounds each one feels within they will be able to fill up that emptiness but this is the premise of an abyss that leads to further disintegration.
“My father had another wife and other children,” says Fili, “and that made me suffer. I wanted to get married and live a more stable family life. When I was a child, I also suffered because of my father’s absence from home and my mother’s lack of attention towards me.” Nacho continues. “Fili and I combined the loneliness that we experienced in life but we were wanting to fill up the emptiness there was within us without having known real love. We quickly realised this love between us was missing.”
Problems soon began. On account of Fili’s jealousy, Nacho was forced to change jobs often and the resentment this caused created tension. The children also suffered: “We loved them a lot but we didn’t know how to teach them to love, nor how to make them love God.” Fifteen years into their marriage, the two separated: Nacho was disappointed and felt the relationship was ended; Fili could not forgive her husband. “It seemed as if nothing united us any more,” they remember, “that there was no more love.”
Then something happened that changed the direction of their lives. One evening, while watching TV, Nacho was struck by a woman, Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare Movement, who spoke of fraternal love. He saw images of the Movement’s little town in Mexico, called El Diamante. One Sunday they went to Mass there and were invited to the Mariapolis, a meeting organised by the Focolare Movement. They do not imagine that the invitation to follow the Gospel could be revolutionary for them and bring about such a radical change: “I tell you, forgive not seven times, but seventy-seven times. ‘ (Matt. 18:21-22) is the phrase they felt called to live out in their daily lives. “They told us about Jesus forsaken on the cross,” says Fili, “how he forgave and gave his life for us. I realised that in comparison with what he had done, my sorrows were small. God had already forgiven my husband, and his will for me was that I should forgive too. I did it and experienced that it is possible to be born anew.” “We are imperfect and different,” Nacho concludes, “but I have learned to trust the God who makes everything possible.”
Claudia Di Lorenzi