Lubich Tells How to Surpass Suffering

Focolare Founder Sends Message to Volunteerfest

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BUDAPEST, Hungary, SEPT. 19, 2006 (Zenit.org).- In Christ we find the strength to accept suffering, and then surpass it, says the founder of the Focolare movement.



Chiara Lubich said this in a message sent to Volunteerfest -- the world meeting of the Volunteers of God -- held Sept. 14-16 in Budapest and attended by 11,000 people from 92 countries.

"Many Challenges, a Proposal: Fraternity" was the theme for the event marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Volunteers of God, a branch of the Focolare movement initiated by Lubich in Budapest following the Hungarian uprising in 1956.

Benedict XVI also sent a letter to the event, signed Sept. 9 by then Vatican Secretary of
State Cardinal Angelo Sodano. He encouraged participants to "continue the fruitful work that you have brought ahead up till now, incarnating the Gospel of love in the affairs of each day."

Lubich said in her message, read by Valeria Ronchetti on Saturday, that "the Spirit, precisely in our times, has been generous, forcefully penetrating the human family with various charisms," and "it is evident to everyone that we need incisive ideas, an ideal that opens the way and provides answers to the many tormenting questions, that sheds a light to follow."

Jesus' love

Jesus "crucified and forsaken" is proposed to the whole Church, Lubich observed. "This was his inner passion, his darkest night, the climax of his suffering. This is the tragedy of a God who cries out: 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?'

"This extraordinarily profound suffering that Jesus experienced as a man is a fathomless mystery and shows the measure of his love for humankind. He wanted, in fact, to take upon himself the separation which kept human beings far from the Father -- and far from each other -- and bridge that separation."

The Focolare movement, the founder said, "has acquired an extremely rich experience which shows that any suffering a human being can experience, especially of a spiritual nature, is contained in this particular suffering of Jesus. … Loving Jesus forsaken, we find the reason and the strength not to flee from these evils and divisions, but to accept and embrace them out of love for him, and then to bring our personal and collective remedy."

Lubich added: "If we are able to encounter him in every suffering, if we love him, by saying to the Father as Jesus did on the cross: 'Father, into your hands I commend my spirit,' then with him the night will pass away and light will illumine us."

Points of light

The Focolare founder explained what she calls "inundations of light" that enlighten the world in various fields, which "remain such sources only if they are constantly animated and inundated by the light that radiates from the gift of God."

For example, she cited Focolare's project called "Economy of Communion." Some 800 firms have put the project into practice, giving one-third of their profits to people in need.

She also mentioned the field of mass media, whose means need to be put "at the service of the common good and those who use them need to be inspired by love."

"When an increasing number of professional communicators silence their ego in order to make room for the Spirit of God," Lubich said, "the media will show their capacity to infinitely multiply good."