Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Blessed Chiara Badano Teaches Us About Love

Blessed Chiara Badano, in hospital (1989)

I pray often every day to Blessed Chiara Badano (whom I have spoken about in previous posts - for more information about her, see her website http://www.chiaraluce.org/). I entrust my family to her intercession, my daughters especially. I ask her to pray for me to grow in love, for that wildly impossible possibility that I might have some small aspiration to love Jesus the way she did. I ask her to pray for me to embrace my own sufferings, and to be willing to sacrifice for Jesus in the little things throughout the day.

I got this thought for the beginning of the week from her Facebook page (you can "like" her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/chiaralucebadano):

"Whoever loves does not see obstacles."

I have pondered these words, feeling--as usual--rather overwhelmed. I "see obstacles" all the time. I am an expert on obstacles. One thing this tells me is that I don't love much. But I already knew that.

Still, there is another kind of "obstacle" that frustrates me and absorbs my attention: the constraints of my circumstances that keep me from doing what I want to accomplish. There is always the temptation to feel worthless, to give in to discouragement, and to allow oneself to dissipate. All I have to do is look at our worn furniture, or the tired face of my wife who has to work much harder than she should, and I hear a voice that says, "You are a failure. You are a bad husband and father."

The voice of discouragement gains some power from the element of truth it contains. Being ill or in other constraining circumstances does not stop one from being selfish, indolent, inattentive, and lacking in love. And one must work to regain the measure of heath that one can, not only for oneself but for one's family, and for others who need the contribution of one's professional and social life.

But these thoughts are a negative force--an oppression of the soul--that we all experience in various ways. We experience afflictions and other obstacles to so many things that we want to do. But these are not obstacles for love. No confinement, whether physical or mental, can prevent us from offering the depths of ourselves to God.

The "work" that expresses our true value is abandonment to the will of God. God wants to manifest His love through us, and no circumstance is an obstacle for Him. Every circumstance is constructive, if we let Him accomplish the work of love in us. He is Jesus. And Jesus has embraced everything.

Blessed Chiara knew this. Pray for us, Blessed Chiara, that we might live with eyes of faith and love, so as to see in all things the goodness and wisdom of God.