The charism of Chiara
In these “fast” times - where everything goes by quickly, where it is but a short step from fame to oblivion -, the message, the legacy and the charism of Chiara Lubich still live on; and continue to inspire not only her Movement, but also many people in the whole world. I think that the reason of the permanence of her message is its relevance today: after all, a thought that has the ability to go to the root of things, to touch the heart of major issues – existential, political and relational issues – may be forgotten for some time, but never loses its prophetic and epiphanic value, its ability to make us reflect and shed light on the world.
Let us just think of the ideal which inspired the whole of Chiara’s action: the ideal of unity. It wasn’t that Chiara did not see the differences: on the contrary, she did not deny them at all, she ackowledged them. But she had the ability to see beyond that. We may say that, whereas we, when seeing a palette, focus on the difference between yellow and red, she only saw the light, which is precisely at the root of cromatic differences.
Nowadays in politics, but also in economics and in culture, particularism and the stigmatisation of differences are back into fashion. We build walls between nations and within cities to separate those we consider our fellows from those who allegedly are not, for fear of the encounter between the black and the white, the North and the South, the East and the West. The word of Chiara Lubich is thus again against the tide, as it was in the aftermath of WWII, amongst the debris of a divided Europe, made of of nations of former enemies; whom a young woman from Trento asked to lay down their weapons and embrace the cause of dialogue. But then again, Chiara Lubich does not talk and never talked to give us credit, to please us. As Andrea Riccardi, the founder of the Community of St. Aegidius, stated precisely in Trento, “with Chiara’s dream we need to unsettle Europe again, because we cannot live for ourselves any more. Until 1945, living for onelself meant killing each other in fratricidal wars. Now, living for oneself means to be content with a culture of senescence, a comforting wealth, but also sink into helplessness in the face of the great challenges of the world”.
I think this is the spirit in which we should pick up on Chiara’s message and testimony. We would betray her legacy if today we were here to make of Chiara Lubich a monument, if we delivered her to history so as not to hear her talk in current events and in our times, which are in desperate need of dialogue and fraternity.
Major of Trento