Inspired by the Focolare movement, Kate Taliaferro shares a family-friendly activity for teaching the way Jesus wants us to love one another.
My husband’s family is part of a movement in the Church called the Focolare. The Focolare is originally an Italian movement, founded by Bl. Chiara Lubich during World War II. Today, it has spread across the globe with more than 2 million members.
The primary aim of the movement is a more united world following the vision of Jesus’ final prayer in the Gospel of John: “that they may all be one” (John 17:21). One of the ways the movement seeks to bring this vision to life is through what is called the “Art of Loving.”
Chiara called the task of loving an “art” because it is something that must be practiced, day in and day out. “To love in the way Jesus taught us we have to love everyone, without excluding anyone or discriminating in any way. We have to take the initiative, being the first to go out to others and love them as we love ourselves. We can refuse our love to no one, not even to our enemies.”
In order to teach these principles to children, the movement has cleverly created the Cube of Love. The cube lists out the 6 principles in the Art of Loving in language a child can understand:
- Love everyone. There is no person who I should exclude from my love.
- Be the first to love. Do not wait for someone to love you first. Be the first to reach your hand out to others.
- Love Jesus in the other. No matter who you see, no matter what they look like, how they are dressed, or how they act, Jesus is within them because He created them. See them with Jesus’ eyes and recognize Jesus looking back at you.
- Share the other’s hurt or joy. Have solidarity with others. Celebrate their triumphs and have compassion and empathy for their sorrow. Put yourself in their place, especially when they are hurting and be the healing they are seeking.
- Love your enemy. We have a duty to love everyone, even someone who does not show us love in return.
- We love one another. We should strive to love one another as the early Christians did. Their love for each other was so fierce they shared all they had, even their very lives. While we may not be called to die for our neighbor, we should love with the same intensity, concerning ourselves with the needs of our neighbor before our own.
This cube is awesome. The Focolare begin most events with children by rolling a cube, sometimes it’s even life size, to see what theme the children should try to especially practice that day. Families are also encouraged to use the cube.
This summer, perhaps your family could also? You can purchase your own Cube of Love, or you can make one out of cardboard and construction paper. Each morning at breakfast, have a different child roll the cube and then display it prominently somewhere in your home. Have a conversation about what the day’s theme means and how you can all try to live it out.
Copyright 2020 Kate Taliaferro
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Copyright 2020 Kate Taliaferro. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Kate Taliaferro is an Air Force wife and mom of 4. She has a Masters in Religious Education and tries to find God's presence in all parts of her day, be it cooking, cleaning or just the everyday ordinary. She enjoys homeschooling, stitching crafts and finding cheerios between the couch cushions. She blogs at Daily Graces.