Pilgrims on the journey: Chiara 'Luce' Badano is proclaimed Blessed

Did you ever wonder what people in heaven do all day? Float on clouds? Wander around on gold pavement? Sing a cappella? Maybe. But many of us have the wrong impression if we think heaven is a perpetual resting home where we indulge our every desire and forget about other people.

The saints are at peace and are resting in the Lord, but it’s not the kind of rest that is oblivious to the world! No, they are always aware of us and are prepared to receive our prayers in love. Some people frown on the idea that we should pray to saints seeing it as a form of idolatry. But they have a misconception of the role of the saints. St. Paul tells us that we are a communion of saints, and a saintly communion, united with the Lord, is not divided by death. Those who are called to God might leave our earthly eyes, but they are present, and they are family and family members do not ignore each other when one of their own asks for help.

Think of the saints as agents of God. No, they are not just angelic messengers, but they are raising their voices in praise of the Lord and they do radiate His will. The Lord wants us to be saved. The saints, who are in perfect union with His will, want the same. It only makes sense that He would allow them to play a part in our salvation, even more than they did on earth, since now they can reflect His desires so purely.

Staying in theme, another 'friend' on the journey joins the communion of saints. On the 25th of September Chiara 'Luce' Badino was proclaimed Blessed. Initially our junioriate group had hoped to participate in the liturgy of beatification which took place in the Sanctuary of Divine Love. However when hearing that over 25, 000 people were expected and the capacity of the Sanctuary was no way near that, we decided otherwise. Our next alternative was to watch the event live on the 'big screen' in our lecture hall! It was a powerful ceremony and each one of us felt that we had gained a young saint who would intercede for us along the way of holiness, each one of us striving to be who God wants us to be on our own journey of holiness. Chiara's life echoes a heartfelt 'fiat' to the will of God, in sickness and in health, her acceptance to walk the way of Calvary after being diagnosed with bone cancer. However, the permanent smile upon her face was the witness to her mystical union with Jesus who allowed her to be an instrument of light for so many people, earning her the affectionate name of 'Chiara Luce'. The next day, Pope Benedict XVI encountered thousands of members of the Focolare movement along with many others, young and old, inspired by the life of Chiara. The words of Chiara’s father, Ruggero, were particularly striking:
"These were very special days, but what I’d like to say now is that we lived exceptional moments being with Chiara. We lived in an atmosphere that you cannot explain. These two years have been the most beautiful of our lives, the most blessed by God, because Jesus made us live in a supernatural dimension that raised us from the ground. Like when you are on a plane, and from the window you see the earth, the clouds far below you. All of our pain and those of Chiara that were even greater, we saw them there, below us, not touching us. This was the fruit of the love of many people who prayed and supported us."
Chiara continues to live among us !I could go on and on about the saints, just as so many of us love to chat about our families. But the main point to appreciate and adopt is that the saints are our family. We are destined to be eternally in their company because they wait for us. They hold out their hands to us. They send lifelines of reassurance and nudge us onto the path of holiness. All we need to do is ask them for help. They are delighted to provide it. Basking constantly in the light of the Lord, they radiate it to you. Be familiar with them. Approach them as family. They will relay directions to help you get home. And they will rejoice effusively with you when you arrive! Chiara Luce, pray for us who are on the way home, may we not become distracted along the way and learn to offer everything, the joys and sufferings, knowing that the will of God will not lead us where His grace will not keep and sustain us.