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Current table of contents: Preparation for Life


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Mission: To Discover

Imagine yourself huddled in a bomb shelter during an air raid. You hear the explosions, and feel vibration of the closer hits. The bombs keep coming. You know that your shelter is not strong enough to withstand a direct hit. At any moment you may be blown into eternity. This scene has been repeated for you, off and on, over several weeks.

Toward the end of World War II, two young (college age) women went through this experience, one in Darmstadt, Germany and the other in Trent, Italy. Each became profoundly serious about her Christian faith. Each gathered around her Christian friends who wanted to be true to God in the midst of the relentless Allied bombing of factories in their cities. Out of these sufferings were born two movements. Basilea Schlink went on to form the Lutheran Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary in Germany. Chiara Lubich in Italy was the foundress of the Focolare, a Catholic movement with a special charism of unity that has spread around the world.

The center point in the Focolare movement is the image of Jesus forsaken on the cross, the height of human suffering through all eternity. Chiara Lubich derives from this suffering the basis of our unity and of our joy. Basilea Schlink taught that hardship is a way of identifying with Christ, so that if we do not have somebody who makes life difficult for us, we should be willing to pay a thousand dollars to find such a person. (In this light, you can consider an inconvenient roommate or a demanding professor as a cost saving!)

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