“I sensed that Mary’s presence made everything else around me disappear”

Extract from a talk given by Chiara Lubich at the International Congress for Artists entitled “God is Beauty and not only Truth and Goodness”, held in Rome on 23 April 1999

Traveling by car one day, I was listening to Gounod’s Ave Maria. Masterly performed, it called to mind a very fine veil, interlaced here and there with delicately embroidered designs. Listening to that piece of music uplifted my spirit and opened me up to union with God and in him to Mary, sublimely exalted by Gounod.

It was the feast day of her divine maternity and I admired her as being “beautiful beyond words”. I thought to myself: if God planned that She be his mother in Jesus, the Incarnate Word, the splendour of the Father, what degree of beauty must Mary have attained? It’s beyond all imagining!

I confided in her my desire to be with her in heaven, perhaps in the not too distant future. And I sensed that her presence made everything else in me and around me, everything on earth that still had a hold on me, all that is beautiful and good, decisively disappear.

In fact, the thought of her and of her beauty was enough to imprint on my heart, like a seal: ‘You, Lord, are my only good.’

I realized that She was teaching me her virtues day by day, the virtues needed to make the words – ‘You, Lord, are my only good’ – become a reality. But She gave them not by listing them, neither by explaining them, nor by giving me an ardent desire to live them, but by revealing herself to me. Yes, that beauty, of which Mary is a divine model, will save the world.

And I understood all this because a piece of music I listened to was a work of art.

Chiara Lubich

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