Gerard Rosse and the Ecclesiality of Chiara Lubich’s Charism

13 Nov 2023 | Life, News, Spirituality

Renowned internationally as an exegete, Gerard Rossé, emeritus professor of Biblical Theology at the Sophia University Institute, is the author of a book that examines the charism of the founder of the Focolare Movement in the light of the Second Vatican Council. A text with original and highly accessible content.

He has recently returned from Paris, where he gave lectures to the Focolare community. Previously, he had been in Bergamo at the Dehonian Center, invited to speak on biblical themes. He also spent a month in Palermo teaching a course on Saint Luke at the Theological Faculty of Sicily. In August, he spoke at the retreat for priests of the “Vinea Mea” School in Loppiano. The Alsatian temperament (Northeastern France) of Gerard Rossé explains his dynamism and his well-preserved 86 years.

An emeritus professor of Biblical Theology at the Sophia University Institute, Rossé is an internationally renowned exegete for his studies on Saint Luke, Saint Paul, and the cry of abandonment of Jesus on the cross. In the formation schools in Loppiano, he continues to teach courses on the Gospels and Saint Paul.

Rossé is the author of about thirty books, including the highly acclaimed commentary on the work of Saint Luke, the result of ten years of study. His most recent publication is titled “Ecclesial Spirituality: The Ecclesiology of Chiara Lubich” (Città Nuova Editrice, 168 pages, €17.90): A book with original and accessible content that the author considers “important for the Focolare Movement.”

What novelty does this book bring to the reflection on the charism of Lubich?

“I have situated Chiara’s charism in relation to the spiritual/mystical currents in the history of the Church, particularly with the ecclesiology of the Counter-Reformation that prevailed before the last Council, to highlight the originality and conformity of Lubich’s charism with the ecclesiology of Vatican II and therefore with Revelation. One becomes aware that even a small group of laypeople united by the Eucharist is already the Church.”

What is Chiara Lubich’s unique contribution?

“Her experience and that of the first group of Focolare members were based on the lived and communicated Word of God, with the sharing of fruits and the discovery of the Gospel. The so-called ‘points of spirituality’ emerged – mutual love, the presence of Christ among two or three, the importance of all being one, etc. – which, not coincidentally, form the foundation of an ecclesiology of communion where reciprocity is crucial. Thus, an ecclesial vision is born in contrast to the ‘unequal society’ of the Counter-Reformation, born in the 16th century.”

Why does the title of the volume explicitly state that it is about ecclesial spirituality?

“Because, as the ‘points of spirituality’ show, it seems to me that it is the main characteristic of the charism; these points of spirituality make ‘church.’ It is important, for the future, not to limit these points to a religious practice characteristic of a movement but to offer the Church a way of life in accordance with the ecclesiology given by the last Council. The other risk is giving precedence to human effort to obtain a divine response. It is essential to remember that divine grace and the gratuitousness of the gift always come first; this applies, for example, to the concept of unity, as well as the presence of the Risen One among two or three gathered in His name.”

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