Suffering, any kind of suffering, is a reality that people naturally reject and try to avoid at all costs. Yet it is part of human life. Integrating it into our existence is a pathway we must follow towards a life that is fulfilled. Chiara Lubich accepted suffering as a sign or like a “bell” calling her to an encounter with God.
I have found you in so many places, Lord!
I have felt you throbbing in the perfect stillness
of a little Alpine church,
in the shadow of the tabernacle
of an empty cathedral,
in the breathing as one soul
of a crowd who loves you and who fills
the arches of your church
with songs and love.
I have found you in joy.
I have spoken to you beyond the starry firmament,
when in the evening, in silence,
I was returning home from work.
I seek you and often I find you.
But where I always find you
is in suffering. A suffering, any sort of suffering,
is like the sound of a bell
that summons God’s bride to prayer.
When the shadow of the cross appears the soul recollects itself in the tabernacle of its heart and forgetting the tinkling of the bell it “sees” you and speaks to you.
It is you who come to visit me.
It is I who answer you: “Here I am, Lord, I desire you, I have desired you.”
And in this meeting my soul does not feel its suffering, but is as if inebriated with your love: suffused with you, imbued with you:
I in you and you in me, that we may be one.
And then I reopen my eyes to life, to the life less real, divinely drilled to wage your war.
Chiara Lubich, “I have found you”, in Chiara Lubich: Essential Writings, New City Press, Hyde Park, New York 2007, pp 91-92.