Forty Days


Words such as perfection and holiness may seem like unattainable goals, but Chiara Lubich, starting from a statement by St Bonaventure, reflects on how it is possible to walk towards them, starting from the simplest gestures of everyday life.    

I found a thought on holiness attributed to St. Bonaventure, which many of us know, but perhaps we have not yet lived to the full. (…) This thought aroused in my heart a great desire to put it into practice with all of you. Aren’t we striving to become saints together?

I’m referring to a statement made by a saint who was well versed in different ways to go to God.

He boldly affirms that a person will go further on the way to God in forty days if they never stop, than another in forty years, who stops every now and then ‘in the vale of imperfections and venial sins’.

Isn’t it wonderful?

Of course, I asked myself: “What do imperfections and venial sins consist in?” We could make a long list of them. Undoubtedly, they are the opposite of perfection.

And what does perfection consist in?

In living charity: “Charity is the bond of perfection,” says Paul (Col. 3:14); “May they be perfect in unity,” we find in John (17:23). If charity is lived together, it becomes mutual: “I give you a new commandment,” says Jesus, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another” (Jn. 13:34).

And so this is the way we should always live, so as not to remain in the vale of imperfection and venial sins, and if we forget or fail to do so, we can begin anew. (…) Where should we begin?

At home. Yes, at home, starting in the morning so that we begin the day well.

At home, also because at times we make the effort to live mutual love with others, at meetings and congresses, but then, when we go home, because we are tired we are sometimes impatient with our brothers or sisters. We lose control and… good-bye mutual love!

Let’s keep it in mind. If we do this, then in forty days, on November 30th, we will certainly have progressed spiritually and made a noticeable contribution towards our holiness and that of the people.

                                                                                  Chiara Lubich

(Chiara Lubich, Conversazioni in Collegamento telefonico, Rome 2019, p. 561-562)

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