1. First, she says there are times when we think the gospel does not truly solve every human problem. “It brings only the kingship of God; understood in an exclusively religious sense” (The Cry, 132.) The gospel is not simply a private message that only solves religious problems with religious answers. She adds, “That is not so. Of course, it is not the historical Jesus, or him as head of the mystical body that resolves all problems. It is done by Jesus-us, Jesus-me, Jesus-you” (The Cry, 132.)
Paul says, “Christ in you the hope of glory.” Jesus said, “We are a city set on a hill” and “We are the light of the world.” Do we believe this? Not arrogantly. No never. God forbid. But do we believe, humbly, that we (together) are the Jesus that meets people in their deepest need and that in this process of loving and serving we actually meet the Jesus who is present in others (Matthew 25:40)? Chiara says:
It is Jesus present in human beings, in a given person–when Jesus’ grace is in that person–who builds a bridge, or a road. . . . It is another Christ, member of his mystical body, that each makes his or her own typical contribute in any field: in the sciences, in art, in politics” (The Cry, 132).
2. Second, Chiara says that the other note of commentary we should understand is in regard to the renewal of our theology. We must see that all renewal is “new” precisely because it is based upon the trinitarian life lived in Christ’s mystical body. She says this “new” trinitarian life leads us to see the need of a “new science, new sociology, new art, new politics . . . ‘New’ because they are of Christ, renewed by his Spirit. We need to open a new humanism where the human person is truly at the center, this human person who above all is Christ, and Christ in humanity” (The Cry, 132-33). She says this was what developed in the Focolare Movement in the decade of the 1990s. She ends this by appealing to Jesus’ promise that “springs of living water would well up to eternal life” in those who drink of his Spirit (John 4:14). She quotes John Chrysostom saying the gospel creates floods!
Our business, my brothers and sisters, is to live the gospel in community. It is to be the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. We cannot solve the world’s problems. In the bigger scheme of human history the Focolare is as nothing. I am as nothing. You are as nothing. But we can be the presence of divine life in the world in all our weakness. By living the gospel we can see God send “floods” of renewing grace.
I end where I began. My first days of seeing the Spirit poured out as water on dry ground came when I was twenty years old at Wheaton College. Rivers of water were poured out upon an entire community and the impact of that renewal spread to the ends of the earth. Now, after my sixty-third birthday, in 2012, I saw a new outpouring of the same Spirit. Rivers are flowing. God is on the move in places that many of us will never visit. But he is using us and he is using this vision of love and unity, this cry of forsakenness, to bring good news to the world in every area of life and culture. The skies around us, in the culture of North America, are indeed dark. But the promise of showers of blessing may soon break with greater blessing upon our heads. Will we persevere in love? Will we become “white” martyrs daily and, if necessary, martyrs in blood? We can begin again. Today we can ask God for the fullness of the Spirit to flood dry ground again. We can ask him to give us a “new” vision of living the gospel of love. Our Lord tells us, in unmistakably clear words in Luke 11:11-13, that he will do this if we ask him.
Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”
The entire speech, which is much longer than the printed text version, is on this video link. It runs 53-minutes.