To love Jesus in his abandonment on the cross means to love him in the pains and sacrifices that being attentive to our neighbor entails. This is a true way to perfection in Christian life as Chiara Lubich communicates to us through her experience.
[…] To encourage us on the way of our collective sanctification […] I think you would like to get to know a very recent spiritual experience of mine. A small one but one which seems to me to be valid.
As perhaps you know, I am dedicating some days during the month […] to considering in depth a cardinal point of our spirituality […] Jesus forsaken, the key to unity. This theme has touched me so deeply, it seemed to me to be so interesting and attractive that I felt compelled to live it straightaway in the present moment. Almost forgetting the commitment to the tension towards holiness as such, I started loving Jesus forsaken, embracing him under his various aspects.
However, exactly in those days during morning meditation, what St. John of the Cross called the twelve stars of perfection, came to my attention again. Love of God, love of neighbour, chastity, poverty, obedience, peace, silence, humility, mortification, penitence, choir and prayer. I knew them well; in fact, by meditating on them, I had learnt them by heart. However, in these days, I was not thinking about them at all, taken up as I was by loving only Jesus Forsaken, because I was so touched by this theme.
And then the surprise, the joyous surprise like a luminous rediscovery. Re-reading these twelve stars during meditation, I realized that in loving Jesus forsaken, I had made these twelve stars shine a bit more in my soul.
I had loved God a little more because I had loved out of love for Jesus forsaken, who is God. I had loved my neighbour more, because out of love for Jesus forsaken I had made the effort to make myself one with everyone. I had improved the third star – chastity- because love for Jesus Forsaken leads us to mortify ourselves. In the same way poverty, because for Him I had made the effort to extinguish every attachment. And obedience – the fifth star – because for Him I had made the effort to silence myself in order to listen better to “that voice”. Then living Jesus forsaken in sufferings I was able to keep peace better, another star. Loving Jesus forsaken, again I was able to observe silence better, in the sense that I mortified better useless words. Humility, I think, profited with the death of myself, which love for Jesus forsaken provokes. And in the same way mortification and penitence – other stars. I took better care of the choir, which for us means prayer together of all our focolare. And so personal prayer was truly fuller.
Everything better! Everything better, solely though love for Jesus Forsaken.
I knew that Jesus Forsaken was, as we say, a monument of holiness but I had not yet experienced with such evidence and such breadth how living Him truly means tending fruitfully towards holiness.
[…] I can wish you nothing better than to have this same experience. Try it! Love Jesus forsaken in sufferings, in renunciations, in dying to ourselves so as to make ourselves one with every neighbour. […] May Jesus forsaken become everything for us, and our collective sanctification will be assured.
(from a telephonic conference call, Rocca di Papa, 16 June 1982)