Rocca di Papa, 20 November 1979

The Word of life for the month of March 2015 that is proposed for the whole Focolare Movement says: “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Mk 8:34). This is a phrase that Chiara Lubich recalled throughout her life and it was a source of light for her and for many others in the world. This writing is how she explained it to the young people in 1979.

Dearest Gen,

Perhaps you would like just the right word; a word that says everything, that sums up the truth, that gives you the recipe for a real life.

This is what I am meditating on too in these days.

Alright, gen, I have convinced myself that there is no safer way to reach the perfect life than the way of suffering embraced out of love. 

This is the way all Saints thought of it, throughout the centuries. 

 The fact is that each one wished to follow Jesus and He spoke clearly: “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Mk 8:34).

“…Take up their cross.”

Each one in order to follow Him, the Perfect One, has just to welcome in their own heart their own cross, their own sufferings. 

We all have them. Fine: let’s get up in the morning with a changed heart. We know it: we want to get rid of suffering, put it aside and forget about it. This is how human beings are made, but not Christians. Because they are followers of Christ, they know that suffering is precious, that it should be accepted as Jesus did with his cross, and they thus embrace it with all the fervour of their heart. 

What will be the outcome? What will be the fruit of this?

All the virtues will ensue: patience, purity, meekness, poverty, temperance and so forth. 

Along with all the virtues, perfection, the real life. 

Are you with me?

Every person who wants to reach a certain threshold must be willing to experience fatigue, sacrifices and struggles. 

Our goal is Jesus. 

In order to follow him, we need to love suffering. 

Good-bye Gen, my best wishes that you will know how to be worthy of Him.

Chiara  Lubich

 (translation of the Italian text taken from “Gen,” October - November 1979: editorial)

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