What really matters

In recent months, many people, including influential ones, have pointed out that one of the effects of the pandemic is that we have all been confronted with what is essential, what is valuable and what remains. Many of us have lost relatives or friends and have experienced the nearness of death. The following writing by Chiara Lubich touches on these two topics so close to what we are experiencing in the world today.

…The very beginning of the divine adventure of our Movement … is set in a specific circumstance: the war – the war with its bombs, its destruction and death. …

I don’t think we will be able to live our Ideal with perfection and in an intense way unless we always bear in mind that atmosphere, that environment, those circumstances.

Even today, after more than 40 years, the Lord doesn’t leave us short of opportunities. The frequent “departures” of members of our Movement … are a constant reminder that “everything passes”, that “everything crumbles” and this is the necessary backdrop to understand what really matters.

We are greatly impressed by what these brothers and sisters of ours who are “about to depart” constantly say to us. Just as when it is dark, you can see the stars, so they, in their particular situations, could see further. Because of a special light, they perceived the absolute value of God, and they declared that he is Love.

We too, if we want to make of our life a real Holy Journey, while we are on this earth, then like them we should have clear ideas: we should consider everything that is not God as transitory and fleeting.

However, our faith and our Ideal don’t stop at the goal of death.

The great proclamation of Christianity is “Christ is Risen” and our Ideal calls us always to go “beyond the wound” so as to live the Risen Lord.

And so we are called to think above all of “afterwards” and it is about this “afterwards”, this mysterious but fascinating “afterwards”, that I would like to speak today.

I find that I often ask myself, and maybe you do too, “Where are all the members of our Movement who have died? … These thoughts go through my mind because, here on earth, until recently I knew where they were and what they were doing. Now I don’t know anything about them. Certainly, faith gives the answers to these questions of ours and we know them. But there is one expression of Jesus that recently has given me light and comfort, great comfort.

It is what Jesus said to the good thief: “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”[1] Today, straightaway, immediately after death. …

So what should we draw out from these thoughts?

Let’s try to live in such a way that the word “today” can be said to us too. “Today you will be with me in Paradise”.

We are familiar with the words, “To those who have, more will be given”.[2] If here on earth, out of love for God, we are Paradise for our brothers and sisters; if we are joy, comfort, consolation, help for individuals, for our Movement, for the Church and for the world, the Lord will give us Paradise.

                                                                                                          Chiara Lubich

(Taken from a telephone conference call, Rocca di Papa, 10th May 1990)

[1] Cf. Lk 23:43
[2] Mt 13:12

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