In this text, Chiara Lubich tells how the pact of mutual love with her first companions led them to experience the presence of Jesus in their midst. We too can have the same experience on condition that mutual love is the foundation.
“On one occasion, … I was asked how we understood for the first time that Jesus was present in the midst of two or more united in his name.
To answer this question in complete faithfulness to the Holy Spirit, I began by describing what came before that in our history. It was when, for example, we might have been killed by the bombings at any time and we, first focolarine, asked ourselves if there was a will of God that was especially pleasing to him so that we could live it at least during the last days of our life.
I spoke of how Jesus’ new commandment was the answer – the commandment of mutual love, based on the measure of the love of Jesus, who gave his life for us.
I spoke about the pact that followed: “I am ready to die for you,” “I am ready to die for you,” but then, of course, I explained at length what happened afterwards.
Do you remember? We felt that our life had taken a qualitative leap forward, as if a net had lifted us higher; and for the first time, we experienced a peace we had never felt before. This is what we said and what we always say. We experienced a light that gave full meaning to all that concerned us. We had a new and steadfast will in the place of our own which was often so inconsistent in keeping resolutions. We felt a fresh, rare, effervescent joy, and a new, very lively, ardour and zeal…
I explained how we had wondered, in those moments, what might have been the cause of all this. And how we understood that, in that moment, Jesus had come into our midst spiritually because we were united in his name, that is, in his love. Our peace, light, ardour, and joy, and so on, were signs of this. In fact, when he is present, there are all these effects; otherwise, there’s no point in fooling ourselves, he is not present.
Therefore, I concluded, we understood that he was in our midst when we were able to experience his presence.
In fact, believing in his presence isn’t only a matter of faith, believing because he said so.
No, if Jesus is among us, we feel that he is present. We can experience this.
This is what is so beautiful and great about this particular presence of his, to which we are called.”
(Chiara Lubich, Conversazioni, Città Nuova, 2019, pp. 580/1)