International Congress on Education
Castel Gandolfo, March 31 – April 2, 2006
Chiara Lubich: “Jesus the Teacher”
Dear citizens of the Mariapolis, here I am with all of you who make up this small but already famous little city.
It is, we all know, the little city of Mary.
Chronologically, it is the first of the little cities that Our Lady is building. As we said on other occasions, it must shine forth with one particular light: the pure light of the Ideal.
Today I would like to tell you what I think of Loppiano, how I see Loppiano. It could be described in many different ways. But perhaps God has one particular role in mind for this little city: that of being a school.
In fact, there are two groups of people in Loppiano: those who are here on a more permanent basis and those who have come temporarily. People come here every year to learn something. And people leave here every year to go to the various places where God calls them to bring his Ideal, to bring the Ideal which is God.
However, while it is true that Loppiano is a school, that its role is that of a school, it is also true that it is a very specific and original kind of school.
In fact, the books, the classrooms, the courses, are the not primary elements that make it a school. No, Loppiano is a school because it has a Teacher. He is the one who inspired its founders on how this little city should be, how it could start out, how it should develop; he is also the one who lives among the inhabitants of this little city. We know that Jesus is the one who inspired this little city and who lives among its citizens.
Now, this reality is so great, so divine, that this school cannot be compared to any other. Which school has Jesus as its teacher? Not only, but if the teacher is Jesus, it means that his lessons must be very special and go far beyond any others, even those of the greatest teachers on earth. Indeed, at times, it will seem that he teaches a knowledge that is foolishness to the eyes of men and women, even to the wisest. In other instances, it will seem that his is not even a doctrine, if by doctrine we intend a purely intellectual fact.
But one thing is certain: he who lives in our midst, in a little city like this one, is God and therefore he knows how to respond as a real teacher to all the questions posed by men and women of our times. (…)
We can ask ourselves: “Does Jesus, the Teacher… respond to the questions of men and women today?” (…)
One milestone in our story is a period that dates back to the beginning of our Movement, when Jesus made us clearly understand that it was absurd to look elsewhere for the truth when he completely contained it; the Word, the Truth became a Person.
This period began when he practically said to us: leave the other teachers; follow me and you will learn everything. That was when it became clear, from the first things that he taught us, that there was a light which was not the fruit of reasoning but which came from above. It was then that he clearly faced us with the reality that St. Augustine felt so strongly: in the inner recesses of the soul dwells the truth. Then we first focolarine, gave a name to this light which came from heaven and we called it the "Ideal". It was then that God asked us to give up all the truths that others could share with us so that he alone could be our Master and teach us the truth. It was then that God gave us the strength to put all the books of other teachers in the attic so that he could reveal himself to us.
This moment in our history, with all its lights, is part of the foundation of all the doctrine of the Ideal. And it must necessarily be the foundation of whoever wishes to follow Jesus….
We are all called to put our books aside, at least spiritually, in order to understand in a true, vital and divine way the book par excellence, the book of God, the Gospel, the Bible, which is the code of our new existence. It is not enough to do this just once. This decision must always be renewed in our hearts even when it is the will of God to study. Yes, Jesus wants us to cut with our own thoughts completely so that he may enlighten and clarify the truth for us, also to help us understand how much truth others understood; famous scholars, for example, which history has not forgotten, because they succeeded in capturing a ray of light from the Light of God himself.
This act of spiritually putting aside our books in order to know the truth is fundamental also for Loppiano as a school.
In fact, especially today, the world doesn't need cultured and learned people who have a lot of ideas. The world needs wise people filled with the Holy Spirit, who live the Gospel, and of whom Jesus can say: "I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike" (Mt 11:25). (…)
At this point someone might ask me: What has Jesus taught you in all these years? It's impossible to say it in a few words. The fact is that his light has been so abundant and so penetrating that it has reached the very ends of the earth. It continues to fascinate and attract countless people from every continent, ethnicity and culture. But if I should attempt to say a few words about what Jesus has taught me, has taught the Movement, I would have to declare that he has given me a light that all the negative protests, all the heresies, all the deviations cannot possibly extinguish.
In fact, he said that everyone who listens to the Word of God and lives by it – and this is the point – is similar to a house built on a rock: the wind may blow, the rain may fall, the floods may come, but the house doesn't fall. What are the rains, the floods, if not the various doctrines more or less just, more or less balanced, that are the product of men and women’s intellect throughout the centuries, that often fascinate and deceive people of our times with fleeting glimmers of light which then die out in order to make room for others?
Jesus, the Teacher, taught me that to penetrate deeply into the truth, to truly possess it, it is necessary not only to learn it well, perhaps to memorize it, but above all to put it into practice.
Very well, putting it into practice is a method of the Gospel.
What has this method produced? Countless results.
It enlightens people within, not only the mind but all our being because it is light and love and life all together. So if there is a storm in the doctrinal field and we become confused and begin to doubt (and no one is exempt from this), then our spirit, our heart and our whole being will react: perhaps our mind will waver, but our whole being will say “no!”
Nowadays, when many people are tormented by anguish, he has given us peace. He calls it his own: "My peace" (Jn 14:27), which is Jesus himself. And whoever has experienced it can never forget it. If we lose it, there is nothing in the world that can replace it.
And not only; he gives a joy that is so full, so divine, so elating that if the storm is hitting on your morals and someone tries to lure you by offering a life of happiness full of earthly things (like worldly pleasures, or unrestrained thrills of the senses, and drugs...), you will know right away that you will never reach even the foot of the mountain of happiness that he has made you climb by allowing you to experience the beatitudes already here on earth.
He has given us a demonstration of his truth because we have tangibly experienced the fulfillment of his promises: whatever we have given each day, he has given back to us daily. If we have left something or someone for him, he has given us the hundredfold, both in material and spiritual goods. In moments of fear in which I, for example, have felt all of my weakness, he has given me a strength which could only come from his grace.
Not only does he satisfy all our desires, but also what we wouldn't even dream of having. In short, he loves us as only God can love, and he wants to give to us beyond all measure: he wants to infuse us with himself; he wants to love us as he loves the Father and as he is loved by the Father. Jesus, as a true Teacher, forms people, which is what a school should do. He makes them into towers that do not crumble. He enlightens them to the point of making them lanterns which give light to all the others who are trying to navigate and search in darkness and doubt. So this is what Jesus does… every time we are true to our vocation.
Loppiano, February 17, 1971