Lubich Touched Lives of Cardinals, Bishops

Archbishop of Prague Calls Charism God’s Greatest Gift to Him

By Miriam Díez i Bosch

ROME, MARCH 20, 2008 ( Chiara Lubich touched the lives of many people, from cardinals, to bishops of other Christian confessions, from people who do not believe in Christ, to people of no faith at all.

After her funeral on Tuesday, presided over by Benedict XVI’s secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, ZENIT spoke with some of those who credit the Focolare founder with touching their lives.

Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, archbishop of Prague, gave his outlook on Lubich’s spirituality, defining it as “a spirituality open to dialogue with other Churches, with the other religions of the world: a Christianity for our times.”

The archbishop of Prague, one of the bishop-friends of Focolare, acknowledged, “I met Chiara Lubich and her charism in 1964 and I think, without exaggerating, that this encounter with her spirituality is the greatest gift of God and the Holy Spirit for me and for my life.”

Monsignor Aldo Giordano, secretary-general of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences, told ZENIT that “Chiara has brought to humanity a charism of God based in unity, and the secret of this unity is in the personal relationship with Jesus on the cross, concretely the moment in which Jesus cries out the abandonment of the Father, and therefore makes his own all those of humanity who are abandoned, all the wounded of humanity and their tears.”

Carla Cotignoli, leader of the Focolare communications office, affirmed that “what she always carried in her heart is that a system of life exists that renews politics, renews the economy, that renews culture, that renews art, communication, everything […] because this reciprocal love is not simply saying ‘let’s love each other a lot,’ but rather is a model of life in the Trinity.”

House of communion

Focolare Father Cinto Busquet, a specialist in dialogue between Christianity and Japanese Buddhism, stated: “Chiara Lubich has spoken of unity during her whole life, has built up communion, has lived, has fought with all her strength so that the Church would be more and more this house of communion that John Paul II proposed with so much courage in his documents.

“A few years ago in the gathering of the Focolare Movement, Chiara told us: As an inheritance, ‘Christ in our midst,’ and this phrase of Jesus’ from Matthew’s Gospel, ‘Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.’ Her heritage, not just for the Focolare family but for all the Church, I think is this: We have to always do everything with the presence of the Lord among us and this will be possible if we live among us with a relationship of love, concrete, lived, in communion.”

Anglican Bishop Robin Smith, representative of the archbishop of Canterbury at the funeral, affirmed: “Chiara was one of the most remarkable Christians, I believe, of the 20th and 21st centuries; she has brought about a unity of not only all Christian people but of all religious people throughout the world and to the end she represented something unique not only in the Catholic Church but also in the universal Church.”

Video images of the funeral are available at H2oNews.

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