Call him by name

We have all suffered because of the coronavirus and many people are still suffering. The pandemic has caused problems and pain in all sorts of ways and we would easily feel discouraged if Jesus did not help us. In fact, we know that He, who is God made man, experienced all our sufferings and that for this reason He can be close to us and support us.

… Life can be viewed as being like an obstacle race. But what are the obstacles? How can we define them?

It is always a great discovery to see how each suffering or trial in life can in a certain sense be given the name of Jesus Forsaken.

Are we gripped by fear? Didn’t Jesus on the cross in his forsakenness seem overwhelmed by the fear that the Father had forgotten him?

In some hard trials, the obstacle we might meet is despair or discouragement. Jesus in his forsakenness seemed engulfed by the impression that in his divine passion he was without the Father’s support. It seemed that he was losing the courage to reach the end of his most painful trial, but then, he said: “Into your hands Father I commend my spirit”.[1]

Are we in circumstances that make us feel disorientated? In that tremendous suffering, Jesus seemed unable to understand anything about what was happening to him, given that he cried out ‘why?’ [2]

Are we being contradicted? In his forsakenness, it seems as though the Father does not approve of what the Son is doing.

Are we being rebuked or accused? Jesus on the cross, in his forsakenness, perhaps had the impression of being rebuked or accused even by heaven. Furthermore, in some trials that sometimes come in relentless succession don’t we even reach the point of saying in our affliction – ‘This seems to be too much; this is beyond all measure’?  In his forsakenness, Jesus drank a bitter chalice that was not only full but overflowing. His was the trial beyond all measure. And when we are surprised by a let-down, or feel injured, or have an unforeseen accident, an illness, or are in an absurd situation, we can always remember the suffering of Jesus Forsaken who experienced these trials personally and many more. Yes, he is present in everything that smacks of suffering. Every suffering is one of his names.

In the world, it’s said that someone who loves calls their beloved by name.

We have decided to love Jesus Forsaken. And so, in order to succeed better in this, let’s try to get used to calling him by name in the trials of our life.

So we will say to him: Jesus Forsaken-loneliness, Jesus Forsaken-doubt, Jesus Forsaken-injury, Jesus Forsaken-trial, Jesus forsaken-affliction and so on. And because we call him by name, he will see that he is being discovered and recognised beneath every suffering and he will answer us with more love. By embracing him he will become our peace, our comfort, our courage and stability, our health and our victory. He will be the explanation of everything and the solution to everything.

Let’s try then … to call Jesus by name when we meet him in the obstacles of life. We will overcome them more quickly and the race of our life will not be paused.

Chiara Lubich

 (Taken from a telephone conference call, Mollens, 28th August 1986)

[1] Lk 23:46.
[2] Cf. Mt 27:46; Mk 15:34.

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