The following reflection by Chiara Lubich can shed light on how to live the trial that we are all going through, on a worldwide level, according to the Gospel. Because of the pandemic, many people have lost a relative, a friend or an acquaintance and we are all called, in the most varied ways, to respond to the grief and pain that this pandemic is causing everywhere, recognizing in them the face of Jesus forsaken to love.
… In the last few weeks, several people in the Movement have left this life … and we who are still here on earth ask ourselves: what did they experience in that moment of passing on to the next life? What would they tell us if they could talk to us?
We know the answer: they saw the Lord. They met Jesus. They saw His face. This is a truth of our faith, a truth which is immensely consoling. There is no doubt about it. St Paul himself said “My desire is to depart and be with Christ” (Ph. 1:23). He was referring to life with Christ immediately after death, without waiting for the final resurrection (Cf, 2 Cor. 5:8).
This then is the experience of those who have reached the goal to which our Holy Journey leads us: the meeting with the One who cannot help but love us if we have loved Him. We hope to have the same experience. But to ensure that we do, we need to prepare ourselves from now on; in a sense, we need to get used to it.
Will we meet the Lord? Will we see His face? We will surely contemplate Him in his glory if here on earth we have recognized, loved and welcomed Him forsaken. St Paul said he knew nothing on earth except Christ, but Christ crucified. This is what we too want to practice doing: we want to seek His face. We want to search for Him forsaken.
We can be sure of finding Him in the small or big personal sufferings which are never missing. We’ll find him in the faces of the people we meet, especially those who are most in need of help, advice and comfort; those who need encouragement to make progress on their spiritual journey. We will search for Him in the harder and more laborious aspects of the various activities that are the will of God for us; we will find him in all disunities whether near or far, big or small. …
We will also seek His face in the Eucharist, in the depths of our heart and in religious images of Him.
Furthermore, He needs to be contemplated and loved in practical ways also in all the great sufferings of the world. Yes, there too, even though we often feel powerless in front of them, but perhaps we are not.
We often … hear about disasters that have already happened or that are threatening entire populations or nations! … If the charity of God dwells in our hearts these disasters weigh down on us and leave us dismayed. The reason is because we feel – notwithstanding our good will and all our activities – that we can do nothing that could actually improve these situations. And yet we must convince ourselves that we can do something. Here too, once we have discovered his face in these huge catastrophes, we can, with the strength of children of God who expect all things from their Almighty Father, unload onto Him the worries that crush us and these vast areas of humanity, so that He will move the hearts of world leaders who are still able to do something. And we must be confident that He will do something. He has done this often in the past. …
So let’s make this verse from Psalm 27 resound in our hearts as often as possible: “Your face, Lord, do I seek”. Your sorrowful face so as to dry your tears and wipe away your blood as much as we can, and to see his face shining upon us when it’s time for us to have the experience of those who have already arrived.
(Taken from a telephone conference call, Rocca di Papa, 25th April 1991)