Manolo: “In the video that we just saw, we heard mention of Chiara Lubich, foundress of the Focolare Movement, a movement in the Church that was born in Trent in 1943 and that today is present worldwide, which has the realization of universal brotherhood as its goal.
Eleonora: At the age of 9, Chiara Luce, already active in her parish, met the reality of the Focolare Movement and remained attracted by it. She decided to live by its spirit.
A year later, in 1981, Chiara Luce, with her father Ruggero and her mother Teresa, took part in the Family Fest, a worldwide event held by the Focolare Movement. That meeting would mark the beginning of a new life for the whole family. Chiara Luce became a gen.
Manolo: Gen, or better, new generation, are young people, teens and children from all over the world who are inspired by the ideal of unity proposed by Chiara Lubich. They try and live the Gospel with all of themselves so that Jesus’ prayer to the Father may be fulfilled in the world: “That all may be one.”
Eleonora: Yes, because to live the Gospel and especially “to rewrite the Gospel through one’s own life” was really the challenge that Chiara Lubich launched to the youth back then. Also today, many young people and teens in the world continue to welcome this very challenge. One of them is Marilisa. What does it mean for you to live the Gospel in your life?
Marilisa: For me it means to also make some choices that are not easy. My parents are separated. Even though my mother tried not to make me feel this situation, I strongly felt my father’s absence. When I was small, I would suffer to see my schoolmates be picked up by their fathers at the end of the day, take trips or play with both their parents. I didn’t live this experience.
My father, having moved to another city, didn’t try and get in touch with me and I didn’t have any contact with him. I felt real anger inside of me. In growing up, I tried to forget about the problem; I didn’t want to broach the subject so as not to hurt my mother’s feelings.After 7 years of no news, I received a call from a relative, on dad’s side, to tell me about my grandfather’s death. They wanted me to be present for the funeral. I felt lost and confused. What was I to do? After all, I told myself, they were the one’s who had not sought me out.
I spoke with my parish priest about this and, after hearing me out, he answered me by citing some sentences of the Gospel: “Do good to those who hate you.” “Forgive….” This is how Jesus thinks! I no longer had any doubts: I had to go. My mother also gave me a push to take the step. It was not easy to see my father and all his family again, and I almost regretted having decided to attend. Even stronger though, I felt that I had to take the first step without expecting anything in return. So, even if they did not recognize me right away, I went up to my relatives and my father and gave them a big hug.Once out of the church, I felt a great joy. The emptiness that I had felt in me was now a fullness.
19 – CHIARA LUBICH ON JESUS FORSAKEN
Answer by Chiara Lubich to the Parish Movement on Jesus forsaken (4.3.1989)
Chiara: We were the first focolarine, some as young as the youngest here among you, and we were in a dark
cellar during the war. We couldn’t bring anything with us, and so we brought only the Gospel.
We opened the Gospel at random and found the page where Jesus prays to the Father, “Father, may they
all be one.” It’s a long and difficult page. It speaks of glory, of unity, “As I am in you, Father, and you are in me. May they also be one in us.” It speaks of “claritas” (light)… And yet, in reading it with Jesus in the midst, we had the impression that we could understand it word for word.
And that was all. But what remained in our hearts was a conviction: this page is the “magna charta” of all
that will come, of the Movement. It was the charter, the program: unity.
On another day, I was at home with a focolarina – someone who became a focolarina later on, one of my
companions – who was sick. The priest came to bring her Holy Communion. And while he was there he casually asked us, “Do you know when Jesus suffered the most?”
At that time people said that Jesus suffered very much in the Garden of Olives – everyone was convinced
of this. Instead, he said: “No. Jesus suffered the most when he cried, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’.”
We waited for the priest to leave and then, urged undoubtedly by God, we said to one another, “We are
young. We have our life before us. It’s worthwhile to spend it well. Did you hear what the priest said? Jesus
suffered the most in his abandonment. Alright, then we will follow him in this way.”
And from that moment on, we recognized His countenance, His cry everywhere: in our personal sufferings,
when we felt discouraged, in darkness, when we felt the burden of our sins. It was another Jesus forsaken who was crying, “Why? Why?”, because he no longer had the light.
Then we found him in other brothers and sisters, especially those who resembled him the most: orphans –
Jesus experienced something of being an orphan. In the physically disabled – during the war there were many. In widows, who were deprived, as Jesus, of comfort, and in all those who were suffering. We constantly ran to these people because they were expressions of Jesus forsaken. We wanted to follow him, to go to him, to find him. We wanted to marry him.
Later on, we found him in the big tragedies of the world, in the divisions of the Church, in the divisions
among many religions. We found him in the atheistic, secularized, materialistic world. We always found his
countenance. Also Jesus seemed to be without God when he cried, “My God, my God…” – he seemed to be without God, but he wasn’t.
And so we understood… since we embraced Jesus forsaken in all these things, also in our personal
sufferings, we understood that when we embraced him, we found union with God again. Oh, then the key to unity with God is Jesus forsaken.
When we embraced the suffering of our brothers and sisters, we found that we had unity with them, that we
loved one another as brothers or sisters, so the key to building unity is Jesus forsaken. And we didn’t retreat when faced with certain divisions, with certain splits, as there are in the Churches, for example, between one Church and another. Rather, we went beyond the division, to love the other Christians who were not Catholics, with joy because that division reminded us of Jesus forsaken. And we succeeded in bringing
about a certain unity, at least in keeping Jesus in the midst with them, because they too are baptized Christians.
Thus we saw that Jesus forsaken was the key for creating a certain basic unity towards the unity of the Churches. And the same applies to our contacts with all the other religions, and with all people of good will. This is what unity is. Unity is the Ideal. Jesus forsaken is the key.
20 – LETTER BY CHIARA LUCE
SARA – Chiara Luce: Dearest Chiara…
IDE: So Chiara Luce wrote to Chiara Lubich
SARA – Chiara Luce: “The most important reality for me was the rediscovery of Jesus forsaken. Before, I used to love him rather superficially and I accepted him in order to then feel joy. I understood that this was all wrong. I was not supposed to use him, but just to love Him and that was all.
I discovered that Jesus forsaken is the key to unity with God and I want to choose Him as my Spouse and to
prepare myself for when he comes to me. I want to prefer Him!”