Chiara Lubich´s Spiritual Journey

Focolare Founder Presents New Book

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ROME, DEC. 5, 2001 ( With the eyes of faith, it is possible to hope despite the tragedies that humanity experiences, Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare Movement, says in her latest book.

The work, «Chiara Lubich: Spiritual Doctrine» («Chiara Lubich: La Dottrina Spirituale»), published in Italy by Mondadori, was presented to the international press Monday.

There are two ways of seeing the present international crisis and war, Lubich said: «One [is] human: thousands of dead, a necessary justice — while being careful that it does not cause more violence.»

«Then there is the other way,» she said. «A boy in New York wrote to me saying: ´since that day, the walls of indifference are crumbling here; solidarity has been reborn in this city.´»

«St. Paul tells us that everything contributes to the good of those who love God,» Lubich noted. «Everything, everything … chiefs of state who previously were unable to look at one another are now cooperating. Who is to say if tomorrow they will not look upon the world as a fraternity?»

She added: «If the Second World War had not taken place, when everything was collapsing, we would not have understood that all is vanity. And this Christian revolution has been born. The war was a sign of Providence.»

It was precisely in the rubble of the bombing, in Trent in 1943, that Chiara Lubich and her first companions rediscovered the Gospel. They began to live it in their daily life, working in the city´s poorest neighborhoods.

The group soon turned into the movement that now inspires the spirituality of more than 4.5 million people in 182 countries, including 2 million followers and sympathizers.

The Focolare Movement was approved by the Holy See in 1962, as were its subsequent developments in 1990. It has been recognized officially by the Orthodox, Anglican and Lutheran churches, by various other religions, and by cultural and international organizations.

The new book, by one of the most influential women in the Church today, includes writings on her spiritual journey and presents her doctrine.

At the press conference, Lubich recalled the movement´s origins: «God calls weak people so that his power will triumph, but he prepares them. I was very young when the nuns took me to eucharistic adoration.

«I prayed to the Host: ´Give me your light.´ At 18, I had a great hunger to know God. I wanted to go to the Catholic university. I was not able. Then, providentially, I heard a voice: ´I shall be your teacher.´»

Sergio Zavoli, a reporter who accompanied Lubich to the presentation, asked why she had not become a nun. «I did not have a vocation,» she answered.

The book highlights two key topics: unity and ecumenism. In this connection, the author recalled an anecdote: «Patriarch Athenagoras confided in me his great desire to see all around the same chalice.»

«But what about the theological divisions?» Lubich asked.

He said: «Let´s take all these theologians and put them on an island, with no food, until they have resolved all this.»

The founder was asked if there was a danger of syncretism in the Focolare Movement. «No, never,» she responded. «The others appreciate us for our fidelity to our Church.»

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