Wanting to find a way to reciprocate God’s immense love, which they had discovered and experienced, Chiara Lubich and her companions sought in the Gospel a way to respond concretely. At the dawn of their experience, in the shelters during the air raids, they took with them the “little book” being sure they would find the way to love God. The words they read were understood and put into practice. Experiencing that the Gospel is true, and that Jesus keeps all that he has promised, filled with joy the hearts of the group of girls who shared this life, and those who shared in their experience. They understood that Jesus is alive and wanted to follow Him. Graziella De Luca recalled her first meeting with Chiara Lubich which took place in the room dedicated to Cardinal Massaia in via S. Marco in Trento: “… some girls, Chiara, Natalia and Dori, came over to welcome me. They acted as if they had always known me (…) Chiara spoke about St. Francis and St. Catherine’s love for the poor (…) It was as if I could see a great light, and I understood that it was God, but God who was infinite love. (…) I had found what I had been looking for. I knew I had to respond to God’s love, with a ‘yes’ that would encompass the whole of my life – to become love which answered Love” (2).
The second cornerstone of the spirituality that radiates from Chiara’s experience is to do God’s will, by living, word for word, what is written in the Gospel. Events, sayings and words, which, today as then, are addressed to everyone and which, if lived, transform the life of individuals and groups. All being guided by the same intentions and values, they find themselves more united with each other. Thus personal commitment does not lead only to an individual journey, but opens up to a communitarian perspective in which, as Chiara recalled in the experience of her early days in Trent: “Just as the rays are of the sun, they are one with the sun, so each of us felt (through the one Will that bound us to each other, to Jesus, and to the Father) that we were one with our neighbour, with Jesus, and with the Father. Thus everything changed in our lives. Whereas, previously, so many differences divided us from our brothers and sisters, now the one will, done by everyone, brought us all together”(3).
When should we do God’s will? In the present moment? German Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer says: “There is always and only the decisive moment, that is, every moment that can become ethically important. But yesterday cannot become decisive for my moral action today. Rather, one must always seek anew a direct relationship with the will of God and not think: today I will do something again because yesterday it seemed good to me, but: I do it again because today too the will of God puts me on this path” (4).