Thursday, October 29, 2015

Chiara Luce Badano: "I Still Have My Heart..."

She was just a kid.

A contemporary kid, who liked to play tennis, and hike, and sing, and be with her friends. She wore jewelry. She had trouble in her math class.

She could have been anybody's kid. Your kid. My kid.

She was born on October 29, 1971 and died after more than a year of intense suffering from osteosarcoma on October 7, 1990.

Today would have been her 44th birthday.

Instead, her memory is observed today and her intercession invoked by the diocese of Acqui in Italy, by the Focolare movement around the world, and by many others in a personal way as she quietly reaches out to more and more people, giving them hope in the goodness and love of God.

She is Blessed Chiara Luce Badano. "Luce" they called her, even when she was still a child. "Chiara Luce" means "clear light" in Italian. She is a light in the deep darkness of so much mysterious suffering.

She has become my friend. I don't know how else to describe it. The past few days I've been writing about saints, as though they've been stepping up to help me in my need. Friends.

Chiara is an extraordinary friend. We all need to pray to her! There is a deluge of small, invisible miracles that she works -- giving courage, inspiring hope, reminding people that they are not alone, bringing inner healing. She is GREAT!

At the age of 12 she said, "I discovered that Jesus Abandoned [on the Cross] is the key to unity with
God.... I understood that I can find Him in the distant ones, the atheists, and that I must love them in a very special way, without interest!"

Once she said to her mother, "Don't judge the drug addicts. They are the lepers of our time." When she was in the hospital but still able to walk, she spent her days accompanying another patient who was an addict and had depression.

Her suffering from the cancer was enormous, but she was willing "to stay here with Jesus" for however long. She didn't write a lot, but she said enough for it to be clear that she is a great, great saint.

I pray to her and she helps me.

After she became sick, she said, "I offer everything, my failures, my pains and joys to Him, starting again every time the Cross makes me feel all its weight. The important thing is to do God’s will. I might have had plans about myself but God came up with this. The sickness came to me at the right time... [and] now I feel like I am wrapped into a wonderful design that is slowly unfolding itself to me."

And she said those striking and awesome words that I have quoted before, from the depths of her terrible pain, words that I beg her to help me to begin to want to understand, because they scare me in a way. I don't know how I could possibly say this in the face of suffering, and yet I know that this must be the truth. This is what my heart wants to be able to say, when the Lord calls me:

"I have nothing left, but I still have my heart, and with that I can always love."