This Holy Week we wanted to share this meditation by Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare Movement, read by our own staff at Focolare Media.
Meditation Text: Fruits of suffering transformed by love Chiara Lubich on Good Friday
Jesus’ death on the cross is his sublime, divine, heroic lesson on the meaning of love. He had given everything. He spent his life in obedience at Mary’s side; he knew discomfort. He dedicated three years to preaching, revealing the truth, bearing witness to the Father, promising the Holy Spirit and working miracles of love of every kind. He suffered three hours on the cross, from which he forgave his executioners, opened Heaven to the Good Thief, gave us his mother, and finally, his body and blood, after having given them to us mystically in the Eucharist. He had given everything. Only his divinity remained. Jesus made himself nothing, to make us partakers in the All. He made himself a worm of the earth, to make us children of God. We were separated from the Father. It was necessary that the Son, in whom we all are, should feel separated from the Father. He had to experience being forsaken by God, so that we might never be forsaken again. As a consequence, every painful aspect of life is one of his countenances, is indeed him. Yes, because Jesus, crying out in his abandonment, is as one who is mute—he no longer knows how to express himself. He is the image of one who is blind—he cannot see; of one who is deaf—he cannot hear. He is the weary person, moaning. He is on the brink of despair. He is hungry … for union with God. He is the image of one who has been deceived, betrayed; he seems a failure. He is fearful, timid, disoriented. Jesus forsaken is darkness, melancholy and contrast. He is the image of all that is strange, undefinable, even monstrous, because he is God crying out for help! He is the lonely person, the marginalized. He seems useless, an outcast, in shock….It’s up to us to recognize him in every suffering brother or sister. The problem of human life is suffering. Whatever form it may take, however terrible it may be, we know that Jesus has taken it upon himself and—as if by a divine alchemy—he transforms suffering into love. I can say from my own experience that as soon as we lovingly accept any suffering in order to be like him, and then continue to love by doing God’s will, if the suffering is spiritual, it disappears; if it is physical, the burden becomes light. When our pure love connects with suffering, it transforms it into love. In a certain sense, it “divinizes” the suffering. We could almost say that the “divinization” of suffering that Jesus brought about continues in us. And after each encounter in which we have loved Jesus forsaken, we find God in a new way, more face to face, with greater openness and fuller unity. Light and joy return, and, with joy, that peace which is a fruit of the Spirit. This light, joy and peace, which blossom from suffering transformed by love, strike people and move even the most difficult persons. Nailed to the cross, we become mothers and fathers of souls. Every disunity is annulled, trauma and division healed, universal brotherhood shines forth, miracles of resurrection abound and a new springtime begins for the Church and for humanity.