“In faith, man clearly shows that he does not rely on himself but entrusts himself to the One who is stronger than him,” writes Chiara Lubich, meditating on a passage from the Gospel. Moments of darkness, apathy, painful memories can become an opportunity to deepen our relationship with God, to show Him our trust in Him, even in difficulties.
The need for a father
Since my parents separated when I was three years old, my life has always been marked by the absence of a father. I became introverted and rebellious, picking on everyone; I didn’t know who to turn to to talk about my problems. It even seemed as if my mother no longer understood me. I was 15 when my religious studies teacher, without lecturing me, put me in touch with a group of committed young people. I started taking part in some of their activities with children in poor neighbourhoods. I got on so well with them that I never left them. A few months’ experience in O’Higgins, the little town of the Focolare, opened up new horizons for me. It gave me something to live for: contributing to making the world more beautiful. The idea of loving everyone slowly gave rise to a thought within me: “What about Dad? What will he be doing now? Has he missed me after all these years of silence?” I couldn’t rest until I had gone to see him in our old house. He almost didn’t recognise me. He had aged, a tired man. We looked into each other’s eyes, and all the past just melted away.
(Luis – Argentina)
I was falling in love
As an unsuccessful singer-songwriter, I had plunged into a state of total apathy. In that dark period I gave up everything I had believed in. I saw God as a ball and chain for me as a musician and a woman, so I got rid of Him by living as if He didn’t exist. That was until I received a phone call from Carmine, an actor friend of mine who needed my help with a play he was working on. As he was about to leave for Bologna, he convinced me to take the train with him to talk about it during the journey. I ended up telling him my whole life story. I so wanted to open up, and he listened to me so well, so well that… I fell in love. That year we worked together. I wrote the music and he directed. Then all of a sudden Carmine became ill. Afraid of losing him, I found myself face to face with the God I was pretending to ignore but now I no longer felt He was a stranger. Love had melted my heart and that pain irrigated it and gave it all the fruitfulness I had before to sing my songs.
(Chiara – Italy)
Freed from a burden
An offence I received years ago but later forgot came back to my mind when I met the “guilty” person. It wasn’t so much the man that came to mind but my husband who had not defended me at the time. Feelings of pain and humiliation were still smouldering under the ashes and I could not help my outburst. Then a thought came to my mind: “Be merciful as your Father is merciful”. It was as if Jesus was saying to me: “How do you intend to give me everything if you are still full of these painful memories?” Strong words, but true. Finally by the grace of God I was able to take the step of forgiving. The Father’s mercy freed me from this burden.
(Bernadette – Switzerland)
Edited by Lorenzo Russo
(taken from Il Vangelo del Giorno, Città Nuova, year VII, n.4, July-August 2021)