Chiara Luce Badano was without a doubt in love with God; hers was definitely not an adolescent crush, but a love so great that it accompanied her throughout her entire life, going as far as to want a wedding gown for her funeral: almost to make it a nuptial feast with He whom she had chosen as her spouse.
But we must understand this well. Which God had she fallen in love with? And where was her happiness rooted? In many ways it was the least desireable and promising of all divinities. It was that man-god who, a moment before giving his last breath on a Palestinian cross, yelled: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”. A God destined to remain hidden for almost two millenia, ignored even by Christians, maybe because he was overshadowed by the splendor of the Resurrection that followed, or because he was too absurd, incomprehensible, paradoxical for generations of believers used to finding the answer to their problems in an omnipotent and triumphant God. “A God that no one wants”, and who – for this reason – searches for someone who will understand him and love him. This astounding intuition, which emerged from Chiara Lubich’s heart among the rubble of World War II, incarnated itself decisively – leaving theology to become life – in many people, including Chiara Luce Badano, when she was still a child (to confirm yet again that to grasp certain realities of Heaven one does not need human knowledge).
Two thousand years later, that agonizing cry reported by the Gospel opened Chiara Lubich to unthinkable horizons, and the same can be said for the young Chiara Badano decades later.
Despite that, still today he finds no place among the 14 Stations of the Cross; despite that cry expresses and ennobles infinite others who, before and after that, have defined human history; especially that of this last century, with all the tragedies, disasters, unrests, and losses that cross contemporary horizons.
It is a new and extremely modern God that flows from that heartbreaking and paradoxical cry, who in the absurdity of the Cross feels abandoned by his own Father, yet he still entrusts himself to Him. A God who is no longer an answer to our anguish and our problems, but rather a question without answer. A God who with every probability in that moment does not know nor can he imagine the splendor of the Resurrection, but seems to sink into and reflect himself in our same desperation. A God who in many ways is agnostic, reset to nothing, overturned in his own essence, infinitely alone, misunderstood, apparently a failure, and we could add an infinite number of other negative adjectives: the same, after all, that we all so often – in due proportion – find on ourselves.
The Forsaken, as Chiara Lubich defined him, is today’s God; proabably the only plausible one in this Present, maybe also for those who don’t have the gift of Faith. A God that doesn’t need doctrines, dogmas, liturgies, catechisms, or churches: because he lives in the heart of anyone who faces his same dramas, even regardless of whether or not he has a conscience.
We don’t know how much Chiara Badano was intellectually aware of all this, but certainly her love for the Forsaken represented the keystone of her existential epilogue. In this mysterious black hole planted in the center of History, Chiara found hers: because no religious hypothesis – and here we are referring to any religion, even the atheist ones – can stand before the blows of reality and the endless dramas of this battered world. Chiara Badano had learned from her namesake spiritual mother to recognize the face of the Forsaken in every pain, welcoming him with all the love possible, to transform Pain into Love. Chiara Luce Badano was able to make this love a vibrant and tangible reality for anyone who had the great gift of knowing her).