Holy Thursday! Our conference call in April coincides with this special time for all Christians. And we who feel that it truly is a very special day because of the spirituality that flowed from the charism given to us by the Holy Spirit, cannot help but pause for a moment to meditate, to contemplate, to seek to relive the mysteries it unfolds together with those of Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday.
To begin with, we can describe each of these days with one word which expresses, or I’d like to say, which has cried out for more than 50 years through the Movement what we should be: Love on Holy Thursday; Jesus forsaken on Good Friday; Mary on Holy Saturday; the risen Lord on Easter Sunday.
Today, then: Love. Holy Thursday, this day on which we have often experienced throughout the years the sweetness of a special intimacy with God, reminds us of the abundance of love that heaven poured out over the earth.
Love, first of all, is the Eucharist given to us on this day.
Love is the priesthood, which is a service of love and which gives us, among other things, the possibility of having the Eucharist.
Love is unity, the effect of love, which Jesus, then as today, implored from the Father: “That they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you” (cf. Jn 17:21).
Love is the new commandment which he revealed on this day before dying. “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:34-35). It is a commandment which enables us to live our life here on earth modeled on that of the Holy Trinity:
Good Friday. Only one name: Jesus forsaken.
I’ve recently completed a book on him entitled: The Cry. I dedicated it to him with the intention of writing it also on your behalf, on behalf of all the Work of Mary “as – this is the dedication – a love letter to Jesus forsaken”.
In it I speak of him who, in the only life given to us by God, one day, one precise day, different for each one, he called us to follow him, to give ourselves to him.
What I want to say in those pages cannot be like a talk, however confidential, warm, and deeply felt; but rather, a song, a hymn of joy and especially of gratitude toward him.
“He had given everything: the life he lived beside Mary, in discomfort and obedience. Three years of preaching, three hours on the cross, from which he forgave his executioners, opened Paradise to the good thief, and gave his Mother to us. Only his divinity remained.
“His union with the Father, the most sweet and ineffable union with the One who had made him so powerful on earth as the Son of God and so majestic on the cross, his awareness of God’s presence had to sink into the deepest recesses of his soul so as not to be felt any longer. It had to separate him in some way from the One whom he had said was one with him”, and make him cry out: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mt. 27:46).
The day after tomorrow: Holy Saturday. Mary is alone. Alone with her dead son- God. Is it an insurmountable abyss of anguish, an infinite agony? Yes, but she remains standing, thus becoming a sublime example, a masterpiece of virtue. She hopes and believes. During his lifetime Jesus had announced his death, but also his resurrection. Others may have forgotten his words, but she never forgot them. She kept these words in her heart, along with others, and meditated on them (cf. Lk. 2:51).
Therefore, she doesn’t give in to suffering: she waits.
And finally: Easter Sunday.
It’s the triumph of the risen Jesus whom we know and relive in our own small way after having embraced him forsaken, or when truly united in his name, we experience the effects of his life, the fruits of his Spirit.
The risen Lord must always be present and alive in us during this year 2000. The world wants to see not only people who believe and who love in some way, but people who are authentic witnesses, people who can truthfully say, as Magdalene said to the apostles after having seen him near the tomb, words which we know but which are always new: “We’ve seen him!” Yes, we’ve discovered him in the light with which he enlightened us; we’ve touched him in the peace with which he filled us; we’ve heard his voice in the depths of our heart; we’ve enjoyed his incomparable joy.”
Let us keep these four words in mind during these days: love, Jesus forsaken, Mary, the risen Lord. And to live them out in a practical way, nothing could be better than to continue living: “What hurts me is mine” in relation to our brothers and sisters who are suffering, by loving them; in our personal sufferings by embracing Jesus forsaken; in the trials of the Movement, which is a mystical presence of Mary in the Church and in the world, which we must overcome; in the effort to never deprive ourselves of him, the risen Lord, in us and in our midst.
“What hurts me is mine!” In living this we are living everything.
Source: Chiara Lubich during a telephone link up. Castel Gandolfo, Rome, 20th April 2000