Claire of Assisi and Chiara Lubich: One Choice, that of God

It was a time of war. Everything crumbled before us, young as we were, attached to our dreams for the future: a home, our studies, people dear to us, our career.

The Lord was teaching us, through events, one of his eternal truths: “All is vanity, nothing but vanity…”.

It was that total and multifold devastation of everything that formed the objective of our small hearts, that brought forth our Ideal. We saw other young women launch themselves with sincere enthusiasm into working for the salvation and better future of our nation.

It was easy to talk about the Ideal in that life dead to all that could humanly attract one. We felt that only one idea was real and immortal: God. In the face of that destruction provoked by hatred, the One who does not die appeared more alive than ever to our young minds. And we saw Him and loved Him wherever He was absent: “Deus caritas est”.

Our thoughts and aspirations were sealed by another young girl who in other times, not so different than ours, was able to illuminate with her divine light the darkness of sin and to melt the frozen hearts of egoism, hatred and grudges: Clare of Assisi. She too, like us, saw the vanity of the world, because the Poor one of Assisi, a living example of poverty, had educated her to «lose everything so as to gain Jesus Christ.»

She too, having run away from the castle of the Scifi family, at midnight at the Porziuncola, before taking off her rich garments, had responded to the saint when he asked her: “My daughter, what do you desire?” “God,” she answered.

We were struck by the fact that a young eighteen-year-old, beautiful, full of hope for the future, knew how to contain all the desires of her heart in the one Being worthy of our love.

And we too, just like her, felt that same desire. We said: “God is our ideal. How can we give our whole life to him?”

He had said: “Love me with all your heart…”. But how could we love Him?

“Whoever loves me observes my commandments. Love your neighbour as yourself.” We looked at one another and we decided to “love one another so as to love Him”. The more one “lives” the Gospel, the better one understands it.

Chiara Lubich

Extract from ‘Fides’ Journal, 48 (1948), n. 10, pp. 279-280.


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