The imitation of Mary is summarised in that typical attitude of hers before the will of God and Jesus’s words: «carefully guarding these things within, and meditating on them in her heart.»(Luke. 2, 19). She made of her heart a paradise of divine things: a room of the Verb, incarnated and spoken. She was the one who, upon carrying Jesus in her womb, carried wisdom in her heart.
Igino Giordani, Mary, the perfect Model, New City, Rome012 (1967), p.7.
In imitating her, we can – and must – renounce the world, though remaining in the world – or we can do the same as she did, transform the world into the home of Mary. In this way, every office and mechanics shop is transformed into the house of Jesus, so as to live always with Him, even amidst the paperwork, mouldy walls, shrills and din.
Igino Giordani, Maria perfect model, New City, Rome012 (1967), p.16.
Bruno Venturini, one of Chiara’s companions of the “early years” of the Movement, has left us for Heaven.
We all pay tribute to this grand person, through two letters he wrote to Igino Giordani, which reveal the deep friendship and mutual esteem between these two “great” figures.
Dear Foco, I would like to thank you for that greeting of yours last Sunday: in just a few words you conveyed to all such a “warmth,” a family atmosphere which only you are able to create. Moreover, I wanted to wish you happy birthday also on behalf of all the focolarini of Lombardy. Our wish for you? I would like to let our Lady who well knows what your Design of life is among us…. to help you fulfil it according to her plans.
Today, more than in other historical times, we tend to limit faith to the things of this world, deserting the supernatural. And yet, many today thirst for the pureness of that invisible but undeniable and sacred flow of life, which is the divine in our midst. Man by nature hungers for life and is naturally propelled to bridge the infinite gap that separates him from the Creator. The coexistence with God gives an awareness of strength and nurtures divine energies. If we have the constancy to cultivate internal perfection and do not give in to the attacks of futile things, our search will be able to make social existence an endeavour to rebuild faith, hope and charity also in others. Thus every action is beneficial, and will decrease in bitterness and open out to humane rationale with this supply of energies, work, adversities, dialogue and daily meetings. Through such a Christian, the divine beings assist humanity and all the spiritual and earthly events will become the raw material for good works. This does not seem too difficult. We need to be aware of perfection which lies in the depth of our hearts, and is obtained by discovering in the underground layers of the spirit, the hidden source of love, which the Creator had sown, and by which Christ made us all his brothers.
We would like to recall the 16th of July 1949 through the words of Igino Giordani, after 67 years have passed. A historical moment in the life of Chiara Lubich and the entire Focolare Movement, it is a day to remember and relive. Love for God was reflected in love for nature, God’s creation. Chiara loved to bring her girls up to the alpine huts. Though frail and often ill, she hopped about and climbed the steep slopes and it was difficult to keep pace with her.
“You must have won several track championships!” Foco would say to her, since like all the others he had a hard time keeping in step. It was quite a difficult task not only in that track race, with his leg which was wounded during the war, but also because of the mystical heights she led them to. Amid the gorges, under the shade of the pines, below the rocks, and most often close to alpine icons or chapels, she spoke of God, the Virgin, and supernatural life, since the supernatural was part of her. She lived with the Lord always, the effect of that charity on which atom after atom, all was based. And so those woods were transformed into cathedrals, those peaks seemed like the towers of the holy city, and flowers and grass reflected the presence of angels and saints: everything was imbued with God. The barriers of the flesh fell. Paradise opened its doors. And in fact, that summer in Tonadico, Chiara saw and described Paradise. And it was there in Tonadico that the first Mariapolis (which was not a Mariapolis) was held...
Unity, the social virtue par excellence, is a principle Christ imbued in Christians and takes after the essence of God himself who is one and three Persons. Thus unity lives, by its intrinsic constitution, in the society of the faithful which is the Church, but cannot impact on civil society which is made up of Christians who cannot clash and combat with each other on social ground, when they are in accordance in religious issues. This means that spiritual unity suffices to eliminate the political-economic discrepancies – but that this is lessened and reduced according to their relativity and contingency. Above all, it helps the spirit to reduce also the material differences among them due to the sentiment of solidarity, and the obligation to reach harmony and bear with each other mutually, impeding even civil competition from violating essential charity.
Igino Giordani, The social message of Jesus, New City, Rome, 1966, p.419.
Among true Christians, even political parties and class divisions can generate diverse but not hostile viewpoints: even when they belong to different associations and economic levels they cannot – as Christians – forget that they are part of a sole, essential, divine and irreplaceable family, which is more important than all the parties and castes, since it is rooted in the Absolute, and destined to ensure us eternal happiness that surpasses the temporal, momentary, and earthly activity. In short, Christianity models characters according to the principles of concord and fraternity; and these characters act with their spiritual education, even in earthly relationships.
Igino Giordani, The social message of Jesus, cit., p.420.
The depth of Jesus’s thoughts was not complicated. Upon acquiring depth, Plato’s ideas which were as clear, became obscure. The same was for Paul, Augustine and Dante. Jesus was always crystal clear. Whoever wished to understand got his point immediately. His vision was like an eagle’s view from the utmost heights, and allowed no shadow. Being in the world as its creator, he appreciated nature, loved it as his own property, and drew from it the most enchanting and precise examples and concepts, so much so that the idea descended from heaven but seemed to germinate from the earth, like the vines, sycamores, and waters of fountain sources. The city of God, supported by the mind of the Verb - the Logos - presents a vicissitude of fishermen, waters, hills, vineyards, herds, towers and villages, since he kept his eyes well focused on the house and the work of man, and profoundly knew the sacred majesty of it all. And the language was sober. All of his discourses were very brief. He traced scenarios and concepts in a few lines, and even to heal, his gestures were equally sober and moderate. He was a Master, who taught new things. He did not repeat the lessons of others.
Igino Giordani, Jesus of Nazareth, SEI, Turin, 1950, pp.394-395.
The gaze of Jesus
He attracted people with his gaze, and his eyes manifested his divinity and humanity: a divinity which aimed to save all, and humanity which shared the pain of each person, suffered with the dissolute, and rejoiced with the happy, offering himself to all, smiling with the humble like the clear skies of Galilee, or exploding in anger like the sudden storms of Judea. His eyes spoke, probed into the depths of souls, and issued sympathy or ire: most often sweetness and mercy. He bent down with empathy, searched one’s soul, and accompanied his words with eloquent glances, as when he changed Simon of Jonas’ name. And in the heart of Peter he sowed torment or remorse, just by staring at him on the night of the betrayal. As to the rich young man «Jesus, gazed on him gently, with love».
There is a very simple way of judging whether or not we are at peace with God. We are at peace with God if we are at peace with our brethren. Our love for God in heaven is measured by our love for the others on earth. It is all so simple and down to earth, because it is very heavenly. If we do not love our brethren, we the redeemed, pass from life to death. Therefore, the application of: «Do not do to others what we do not want others to do to us.» is a negative sense of «Do to others what you want others to do to you». It is a positive outlook.
Igino Giordani, The brother, New City, Rome, 2011, p.75-76.
I would not want to be calumniated, hungry, homeless, jobless, unhappy …: and so, for as much as I can, I have to act in a way that others can be honoured, fed, sheltered, employed and filled with consolation. And this establishes a sort of equality: God treats me the same way as I treat my brother; God treats me the way my brother treats me. We could say that God is the first to practice the Gospel’s main precept: «Love your neighbor as yourself» and he loves us with a God’s love, meaning to say, infinitely. In fact this love is so urgent that he wants us to be one with him, so as to make us participate in his nature. Didn’t he take on our nature for this reason? And this is a spiritual humanization of God: he put himself at our level, to allow us to live with him.
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