ROME, JAN. 29, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of a commentary written by Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare movement, on Benedict XVI’s first encyclical, “Deus Caritas Est.”
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“God is Love.” What great gratitude we felt for Pope Benedict XVI from the moment that the title of his first encyclical was announced! He enkindled in us the flame of hope — the hope that the great announcement, “God is Love,” that the word “love” brought back to its “original splendor,” may overflow to infinity, like a stone that is thrown into the water and causes wider and wider circles. The interest shown by the media, even before its presentation and much more so now, is a prediction of what will come.
“God is Love” is most certainly the word that Jesus wants to say today in this new millennium.
Yes, love is inscribed in the very nature of the Church, as the Pope writes. To the rich heritage of Church history new charisms have been added, brought about by the Holy Spirit in recent decades. The message — “God is Love! God loves you just as you are!” — has been passed from person to person, on the strength of personal testimonies, transforming the lives of millions of people.
For us, it was a light that shone out in the darkest hour of history, during the Second World War, illuminating the whole Gospel, making us discover that Jesus was not afraid of pronouncing the word “love.”
Actually, we understood that it is love itself which is the heart of his message, and, yes, “the primordial creative power that moves the universe,” moving our own little personal histories as well as the great history of the world.
I am certain that the encyclical of the Pope will arouse a spontaneous echo from the entire Church, and even beyond. If living love is not limited to helping our neighbor concretely, but also urges us to “communicate to others the love of God that we ourselves have received,” what will emerge is the great wealth of that love that is often lived heroically, in silence, within the family, in governments and factories, in universities and neighborhoods, in the most depressed areas of the world, among those whose face reflects the very face of the God-Man himself who cries out the abandonment by his father.
In this way, we will make “visible in some way the living God” and his action in our times, as is the hope of Benedict XVI.
And God, who is rediscovered as love, will attract the whole world.
[Translation distributed by Focolare]