Early letters of Chiara Lubich to her companions and others
Chiara Lubich is now being called a great Catholic mystic of our times. In these letters we encounter this mystical side of Chiara who is also the bearer of a charism, a gift from the Holy Spirit in response to the special needs of the Church and of the world. Chiara’s charism is unity, the unity that Jesus asked for us from his Father: “May they all be one as we are one – I in them and you in me – so that they may be brought to complete unity” (Jn 17: 22-23).
Chiara saw God’s love in everyone and everything. The light of this discovery enveloped her, and she felt like she was at the center of the Father’s love. This discovery is at the foundation of Chiara’s spirituality which emerges from these early letters. They were written to the young women and others who were drawn by the way she presented the Christian life as a response to God’s love, which was shown to her in Jesus, most especially in his abandonment and death on the Cross.
In these letters, the God that Chiara invites us to believe in is Love. The conversion she asks of us is a conversion to Love. Often using the language and style of the saints and mystics of other ages (like Saint Catherine of Siena and Saint Francis of Assisi), Chiara communicates her burning desire that “Love be loved,” that “all the world be set ablaze by the fire of Love.” Her words are full of fervor, but also simplicity and practical common sense.
An internationally known religious leader and writer, Italian-born Chiara Lubich (1920-2008) was described by the New York Times as one of the most influential women in the Catholic Church. She was president of the Focolare Movement, and her work has been recognized by universities, agencies, foundations, nations, states, and municipalities including 15 honorary doctorates, numerous civic awards, the Templeton Prize for Progress of Religion, and the UNESCO Peace Prize. She has published over 50 books in 29 languages, with more than one million copies sold.