Faces of the Man of Suffering
An important key


Chiara Lubich

If we look at suffering solely from a human point of view, there are two possibilities: either we find ourselves in a dead-end analysis because suffering and love are part of the mystery of human life; or we seek to remove that uncomfortable obstacle which is suffering by escaping in other directions. But if we believe that God has a plan of love behind the plot of our existence, and if, strengthened by this faith, we discern in the small and big daily sufferings, ours and those of others, a reflection of the suffering of Christ crucified and forsaken, a participation in the suffering that redeemed the world, it is possible to understand the meaning and perspective even of the most absurd situations.

In the presence of any suffering, big or small, in the presence of contradictions and insoluble problems, let us try to enter within ourselves and come face to face with absurdity, injustice, innocent suffering, humiliation, alienation, desperation… We will recognize one of the many faces of the Man of suffering. It is the encounter with him, the ‘divine Person’ who made himself an individual without relationships, with him, the God of our times, who transforms nothingness into being, suffering into love. Our “yes”, our love for and acceptance of him will begin to break down the various expressions of our individualism and make us new men and women capable of healing and revitalizing through love the most desperate situations. […]

These are not dreams, they are daily experiences of many families who, through the inclined plane of the God-Man’s abandonment have turned the depths of their suffering into new life. At times, separations are recomposed and families are reunited; other times no, the outward situations remain as they are, but the suffering is illuminated, the anguish is comforted, the fracture overcome. At times, the physical or spiritual suffering endures, but it acquires a meaning by uniting it to the “passion” of Christ who continues to redeem and to save families and all humanity. The yoke becomes light.

From the talk “The Future lies in the Family”
Lucerne (Switzerland), May 16, 1999