It would be a beautiful day
A reflection by Focolare’s founder with a new perspective for the everyday
By Chiara Lubich
If one morning someone were to wake up and — at first surprised, then more and more fascinated — he were to notice the world around him all transfigured, as if seeing each thing through new eyes, it would be a beautiful day…
An invisible presence has filled the atmosphere. The faces of familiar friends, the poor beggar on the street corner, the workers sweating next to him all day long, his gravely ill niece, his grandfather already grown old, his children, his wife … they are no longer what they were before. A single light has bathed their features and their gestures, and a sublime nobility radiates from each ...
He does not even recognize himself anymore. Once lazy, bored and always tired, he finds that a new youth has penetrated his veins. And now with speed and agility he carries out even the hardest tasks.
The ringing of church bells, the radio that informs, the gifts that come, the articles he reads, the news he hears from his neighbors, perhaps sad — everything that surrounds him acquires new meaning … In the chaos of everyday events, he begins to discern the thread that seems to link all things, re-ordering them, giving them harmony and, whatever happens, directing each thing toward a good and better end. So great is the light … that he has no satisfaction until he communicates to others what he is living and experiencing, to understand the joy that expands his heart.
Each day finishes with a sunset that seems like a dawn. He sees the arrival of each new day as the latest episode in an extraordinary movie beyond imagination, where he knows only part of the plot, but the whole is perfectly known and guided by Another.
Joyful to have discovered and pursue this divine adventure that has just opened up for his life, he waits ...
This transformation of persons and of the world is not just a dream, a mere fantasy. It is the frequent experience of any Christian who one day understands that if God is love, and since he or she is the object of this love, it is impossible not to abandon oneself trustingly to him.
It is the moment in which life changes course, and people — disillusioned with their own efforts to shape their own destiny (that was never fully satisfying) — decide to conform to the plan God has always had in mind for them. They remember that they have an enormous gift — freedom — and they realize that nothing could be more reasonable for a created human being, the child of God, than freely ceding this freedom to the one who gave it in the first place.
So they resolve, from that moment on, not to do their own will, but the will of God.
This is the great discovery. This is the wise decision true Christians make. Thérèse of Lisieux said: “I fear one thing only, [clinging to] my own will.”
Pope John XXIII wrote, “True greatness consists in doing the will of God totally and perfectly.” Catherine of Siena knew from experience the effects produced in the souls of those who joyfully do the will of God, and she exclaimed, “O sweetest will, which gives life and conquers death, gives light and overwhelms the darkness!”
John of the Cross, referring to those who live a true Christian life, said, “There are no longer two wills, but one, God’s, which becomes the will of the soul.” And he explained, “The will of the soul, transformed into God’s, does not perish but becomes his will completely.”
This attitude of wanting to do the will of God rather than our own, moreover, is the only and perfect attitude for Christians to have. Speaking through Isaiah, God says that the Church will receive a new name: “My delight [my will] in you” (see Is 62:4). Francis de Sales comments, “Among the true children of our Savior, every one shall forsake his own will and shall have only one master-will, dominant and universal, which shall animate, govern and direct all souls, hearts and all wills.”
In a superb manner, Pope Paul VI teaches us that this true life of Christians transfers them to a higher sphere, in which greatness, nobility, an atmosphere of paradise reigns, radically transforming an otherwise flat, colorless existence.
“The grand designs of God, the undertakings that the Lord’s providence proposes for human destinies, can coexist with and inhabit the most ordinary conditions of daily life …
“We know that bringing our capricious will into harmony with the will of God is the secret for a great life. It means entering into God’s design for us and accepting his all-seeing and merciful plans, and his great kindness …
“We should let ourselves be convinced, then, that a voice from heaven … provides us with the true and exalted meaning that each one of us has the duty to give to our life …
No life is trivial …We are predestined to greatness, to the kingdom of God, to be invited by him, commune with him, dwell with him and reach perfection in him.”
The various ideologies that deeply influence society today have their own visions of the world, which are promoted attractively in an attempt to inspire individuals and the masses alike. With them we live in constant hope for a better future. For the inhabitants of the planet to avoid being taken in, albeit in good faith, by these various interpretations of human history and destiny, we Christians need to re-present the Gospel message, wherever we happen to live in the world, in the most genuine manner. We should do this with such commitment and conviction that it can again be said of us, 20 centuries later, that what the soul is to the body, Christians are to the world.
Today, furthermore, when individuals and groups are sometimes searching madly for a life that is different from the one they are leading, where money and comfort have proven to be incapable of satisfying the human spirit, and people chase frenetic amusement, senseless eroticism, or drugs to experience a new, hallucinatory vision of things, it is vital to again set forth the true Christian vision of life.
What drives people in those moments is not all bad; it is the thirst for happiness, without which human beings would not be human. Perfect joy is the fruit of Christianity, when it is lived as Christ taught: joy in the midst of pain, joy that flowers precisely from pain, from the sacrifice of self, of our own views, of our own will, our ego — to leave space for God, for his plans, for his light-filled and wise plan for the world and for each one of us.