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December 7, 1943 and EoC: Tears that Blossom into Red Carnations

By Luigino Bruni

Tre_garofani_rossi

In the Focolare Movement, December 7 is a day of great rejoicing, because it is considered the day the Movement started.  December 7, 1943, in fact, Chiara Lubich consecrated her life to God, in the solitude of a church in Trent.  The story of that day is both delicate and strong, and it tells of a ‘tear on the prayer book’, which fell when Chiara realized that the yes she was saying was causing a bridge to collapse behind her, that it meant ‘forever.’ Then, one is told about the ‘three red carnations’, which Chiara bought on her way back home to put in front of the crucifix in her room.  Three red carnations were put on top of Chiara’s coffin on the day of her funeral, to symbolize that those carnations, and that tear, had been extraordinarily fruitful, in faithfulness to that secret “yes, for ever.”

That tear, and those flowers, remind us that the feast can be lived at the same time as the tears, and that flowers can be laid down even before a man-God crucified.  In this day and age which for many countries and families is one of crisis and of tears, today’s date is a reminder for us that to give one’s life for a great ideal, such as the EoC, will cause that tear to blossom into red carnations.  Thank you Chiara for that ‘yes’ which also generated our Economy of Communion, a ‘yes’ that I want to repeat with you, to continue the race.

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