Jesus Forsaken: today's God

Chiara Lubich
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Chiara Lubich saw Jesus Forsaken as “the God of our times”, “today’s God.” With lucid realism and prophetic charge, she faced the post-modern, pluralistic, multicultural and multifaith world, torn by conflicts and unjust inequalities and found the answer to these realities in the Crucified and Risen One. We have chosen three short emblematic texts which express this.

Jesus Forsaken key to unity for a new world

Jesus Crucified and Forsaken: the key to unity, but also the mirror reflecting all the suffering in the world. …
Could there be anyone, no matter what his or her spiritual or physical pain, unable to identify with him? That infinite torment became for us the panorama of every suffering in the world. This is the way we have always thought and always tried to act accordingly. …
When the Movement begins with the poor, with the needy, then know that its life is starting in its own characteristic setting, and this promises development, fruits and vocations. …
Over the years, the great tree of the Movement, whose nature is love, supernatural love, has grown and blossomed into many branches all over the world, with an abundance of flowers and fruits. These fruits include a variety of short-term or on-going social or charitable projects. …
They are initiatives of different scope and size, but they all pulsate with life, because those who work in them have at heart Jesus Crucified and Forsaken who repeats to them: “You did it to me.”

Ministry and dialogue today

We could say that this is the age of dialogue. We are all called to dialogue, and priests, who have the mission of evangelizing, are deeply involved in it. The priest today has to be a “man of dialogue.” …
But who is Jesus Crucified and Forsaken if not the one who opened up the way to universal dialogue? Wasn’t it at the culmination of his passion, in that total interior and exterior annihilation, that he fulfilled his role as mediator between human beings and God? Is it not there on the cross that he presents himself to the Father as priest and victim for all humanity?
Isn’t that divine spiritual wound that opened in his heart, when even heaven closed itself to him, a wide open door through which human beings can finally unite themselves to God and God to them?
And since human beings, through Jesus Crucified, were able to restore a dialogue with God, a dialogue among them was also born. Jesus Crucified is the bond of unity also among human beings. …
Jesus Crucified and Forsaken. Who could ever sing his poverty, take on his obedience, measure his patience, reach his humility? Who knows his strength? Who could imagine his trust? Who could discern the abyss of his mercy or imitate his magnanimity? Who can love with his love?

Jesus Crucified for the atheists

Turning our thoughts back to our brothers and sisters who profess no religious faith, we are convinced that the meaning of the Crucified Jesus we should present to them is not the meaning that was presented to the so-called pagans in the first centuries of the Church. For these brothers and sisters of ours today, salvation is not important, neither is resurrection and nor the future world.
We need to present to them with a Crucified Jesus who seems to be only man. And that is how he appears in his forsakenness.
Furthermore, they need to meet Christians who love them so much that they are able, if one may say so, to experience the loss of God for the sake of others, like Jesus Forsaken. They need to see Christians who, like living crucifixes, know how to become, as Paul says, “as one outside the law” (1 Cor. 9:12), in order to save one’s brothers and sisters. Gradually, these brothers and sisters of ours will begin to appreciate these people who are fulfilled persons, and yet have a certain simplicity. Appreciation leads to conversation, conversation to communion. Without realizing it, a divine dimension will enter into their souls, and society, which, if at times is not built on God’s name, can become his home, just like the pagan temples, at the onset of Christianity, became churches.
Jesus in his forsakenness is their Jesus Crucified, because, as we have seen, for them he has made himself “atheist.”


1. Cf. the Lectio magistralis for the honorary degrees in Sacred Theology in Manila and in Philosophy in Mexico City: English Translation of Italian texts found in: C. Lubich, Talk given at San Tomas University of Manila, in “Nuova Umanita’” XIX (1997) 109, p.25; id. Per una filosofia che scaturisce dal Cristo (For a philosophy that arises from Christ), in “Nuova Umanita’” XIX (1997) 111-112, p. 368.
2. English Translation of the Italian quoted in: F. Ciardi (ed), “… l’avete fatto a me”. Le sfide sociali e i religiosi (“… you did it to me.” Social challenges and the religious), Citta’ Nuova, Roma 1995, pp. 41-43.
4. Cf. C. Lubich, The Cry, New City Press, New York London 2001, pp. 114-115.