The eighth point in our spirituality-of-communion discussion ties in well with Holy Week—it is “Jesus crucified and forsaken.” This and the seven previous points can be found in Called to be community: a guide to living a spirituality of communion, which is a publication of Living City of the Focolare Movement.
When our Lord hung upon the cross, he felt forsaken by the Father (cf. Mk 15:34). It is ironic that his feeling of forsakenness is what led to our reunification with the Father. Only his passion and death can redeem us. Still, we can unite our sufferings with his for our own good and the good of the world. We can also imitate Christ’s self-gift on the cross by doing our best to love him whenever we see him crucified and forsaken in our neighbor. Such a love fosters a spirituality of communion.
I was living at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck on August 29, 2005. I thought the storm was the worst part; then came the floodwater. It slowly filled the Mid-City neighborhood of New Orleans to a height of about four feet. People who had one-story homes started coming to St. Anthony seeking shelter, since we had multistory buildings. At first, I was wary of letting strangers into the school and priory, thinking they might loot or cause a fire. But I quickly changed my mind, saying it was the only humane thing to do. Some of those that we, the Dominican friars, took in needed medical attention. Fortunately, a nurse was among those we took in, who helped look after those needing medical attention. We took in twenty-eight people in all. Another friar made dinner for everyone that night. The next day, boats arrived and ferried people to safety. We got everyone out safe and sound. Looking back, I am happy I was able to love Jesus crucified and forsaken in my neighbor.
Name a time when you tried to love Jesus crucified and forsaken in your neighbor as a gift to him. Share that experience with others.