Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Chiara Lubich's 2003 Mumbai address to Hindus

[from K.C. ... to my priest readers who have already condemned me:
Fathers! Help me! Please tell me why neither 'Jesus' nor 'Mary' are ever mentioned in Miss Lubich's address? ]
...from the 'youth for a United World' website>>>>>from: http://www.mondounito.net/spip.php?article243&lang=en&id_rubrique=17&parent=14

At the beginning of January, Chiara began her visit to India to strengthen the bonds of reciprocal love and fraternity with the Hindus she met on various occasions. Among the many meetings, we report the one with the Swadhyaya Movement whose leaders Chiara met during the Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi in January 2002.

Close to Thane, a city with 500 thousands inhabitants to the north of Mumbai, there is a Cricket stadium which can sit 50 thousand people. On January 16 Dadaji Athawale’s Movement held the "Sports Festival". It involves 300 thousand young people in tournaments all around India. It finishes with this festival including the cricket and race finals and prize giving to all national winners. This activity involves six Indian States and the parade of all the representatives is accompanied by typical music and dances. Dadaji and his heir Didi arrived at the stage after going all around the stadium by car among the crowd that cheered to show their love and acknowledgment for this leader. Swadhyaya means self-awareness = to understand that God is in us.
The founder is called Shri Pandurang Shastri Athawale, and is well known as Dada (elder brother) o Dadaji (master Dada).
Dada teaches that God lives in every human being and that the fulfillment of the spiritual unit will bring in itself the solutions for all the world problems.
"Only those who see the invisible can do the impossible" (Dada). The Swadhyaya Movement has 8 million members and has widespread irradiation.
The "zones" parade has also been mixed with songs made with the writings and poems by Dadaji, also by choreographies and stage games. Other 20 thousand people followed the events from outside on two big screens. Many of those had had to travel 2800 kilometers by train!! There were also present civil and political authorities, also from the artistic and sports areas. A huge map of the world at the side of the stage turned slowly showing a Sanskrit writing: "We want to make the world a place in which God may be at home" During the speeches, they very often referred to their "ideal", as they call it, made of fraternity, listening to the Scriptures and application of them, friendship, forgiveness, love and unity.
A moment during the program was reserved for the presentation of the Focolare. First of all Didi wanted to introduce Chiara and Natalia: "Today we introduce -she said- a big Movement spread in more than a 150 countries with millions of members, just like ours. They work for the good of society and their ideal is based on what Chiara Lubich says. Today she is in Mumbai, she is not feeling well so the doctor would not let her come. But she is present among us, and has sent a representative. I met Chiara in Assisi, where only two women spoke during the big interreligious prayer: she and me. I was deeply touched by her, and I wanted to keep in contact. We have also been in touch with the Focolare in America. We have to be one human family: this is their ideal as well as ours. Dadaji was born in 1920, as well as Chiara, and like her, he began to spread this spirit in 1943".
After this introduction, Chiara’s message was read -we enclose it- and it was often interrupted by applause, especially when she made Hindi quotations or when she appealed to universal brotherhood.

[Miss Lubich's address follows...]

Mumbai, January 16th 2003

Dear Everyone,

It was with great joy that I had accepted the invitation to speak to you today, and for this reason I sincerely thank the well-deserving founder of your wonderful family, Reverend Dada Athavale.

You might ask me: you come from so far. How did you hear about us? I’ll tell you how it happened.
A year ago Mrs. Didi Talwalkar came to see me in Rome, in Italy, where I live. She spoke to me about you, about the Reverend Dada, about the high ideals that animate you and the many endeavors you are involved in. I really admired all that she told me.
Above all, I found in the words of Mrs. Didi a remarkable harmony between the spirit of your family and that of the Focolare Movement, which I represent. This made us experience an immediate and profound friendship with one another.

I remember that one of these similarities became evident when she told me that you see God in all people and therefore that you devote yourselves to your neighbors with much love. This has given rise to many social works that are flourishing everywhere in your family.
It is like this with us too: love of neighbor is fundamental in our Movement.
Indeed, like you, we are very committed to living its requirements, because it is a love that is directed to everyone, making no distinctions between those who are pleasant or unpleasant, beautiful or ugly, young or old, Hindu, Christian or Muslim, etc.
It is a love, which asks us to be the first to love, without waiting to be loved.
It asks us to love the other person as we love ourselves, sharing his or her sufferings, successes, joys....
It is also a concrete love; it is not expressed only with words but with facts.
And this can easily be seen in the many works that have begun in your family as in ours.
Moreover, this love is even ready to love enemies, to respond to offenses with forgiveness, as we find in a very beautiful image in your Hindu tradition: "While the axe chops the sandalwood, it in turn offers its virtue by scenting the axe with its fragrance."

Then if this love is lived by two or more persons together, it becomes mutual love, and I know that among you there is what you call "divine brotherhood".

Very well, my dear young people, you can understand that it is very important that we spread this love to as many people as possible. If we do, we will see portions of universal brotherhood rising up everywhere.
The destiny of humanity depends on it.

In fact, as you all know, today peace is being threatened more than ever before. After September 11th, with the crumbling of the towers in New York and with widespread terrorism, it is becoming increasingly clear that all this is not only the fruit of hatred among individuals or peoples, but that it is the effect also of the dark forces of Evil, of Darkness, as the Pope, John Paul II, also said.

Thus, the situation is such that it is not enough to oppose such danger solely with human forces, such as political or diplomatic ones. We need to engage the forces of Good.

And this was the reason for the meeting held a year ago in Assisi, in Italy, where Mrs. Didi and I met one another. At that time the representatives of the major religions of the world [including Amadou Gasseto an African Voodoo chief] gathered together to invoke peace from heaven.
But it is not even enough just to pray for peace. We must all do something to safeguard it.

We know that the imbalance in the world between rich countries and poor countries is one of the factors, perhaps the most decisive, that generates resentment, hostility, revenge, terrorism.
Therefore, we need to create greater equality, to bring about a kind of communion of goods.
However, we cannot move goods unless we move hearts.
Therefore, we need to spread love, that reciprocal love which generates brotherhood.

We are already doing this. But if we all do so more and more, universal brotherhood will spread, and as a consequence, solidarity will blossom, goods will be distributed more justly, and the rainbow of peace will shine over the world, the world which, in a few years, will be in your hands, my dear young people.

Chiara Lubich
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