Chiara Lubich intuited different dimensions of life as an expression of the one vital root which is the Gospel. Distinct realities that while contained in the charism entrusted to her, express all its light.
Initially, because of the particular aptitudes of one person or another, certain tasks emerged that embodied a particular aspect of life. In the summer of 1950, for example, Chiara saw in Graziella De Luca, who was gifted in interpersonal relationships, the task of enabling charity to spread by its very nature. In a talk given that year, Chiara explained, “She is, as I saw this summer, the external expression of our light. She is like the personification of this outer aspect.”
Over time, seven aspects of life, imbued with the light of God’s love, emerged like the seven colours of the rainbow.
In 1962, Chiara was in Einsiedeln, Switzerland. She described what characterizes the dimension of relationships, witness, from the perspective of the Gospel, read and lived in the light of the charism of unity. While on frequent visits to the shrine, a place of pilgrimage, she saw consecrated men and women passing by in their different habits. Within those splendid natural surroundings, the variety of habits looked especially beautiful, and she had the impression that the founding saints had truly been inspired by God in clothing their spiritual children, expressing each vocation in the way they dressed.
The little sisters of Charles de Foucauld made a special impression on her. Their habits made them look like washer women, but as they cycled by their joyful faces proclaimed the Beatitudes. Seeing their bright faces and homespun clothing reminded Chiara of what she had read about Charles de Foucauld, that he wanted to shout out the Gospel with his life.
It was a simple experience, but to Chiara it highlighted how witness, an aspect of the Gospel, could be expressed in the light of the charism of unity: “Of course! “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples,” the gospel says, “if you have love for one another.” That’s how it was for the early Christians. How were they recognised? Not by their dress, which was the same as everyone else, but by how they loved one another .