Her appointment with the Crucified Lord was a must in her day. Their meeting place was «Santa Maria» Church. He, behind the grated glass, looking even more tormented in the picture, and still more utterly alone in his moral anguish, unique of its kind, and his lips parting into a last word: «My God… why…?». She at His feet, engulfed in the Mystery, involved in that pain, eager to sympathize, to love in return and to repair.
Man’ absurd malice and she too, like anyone else!
Merciful love’s folly of God himself, for her, ‘poor woman’!
And as she looked into that abyss, she was caught up in its silence, a word as deep as it can ever be. And in that silence, from Him who was made «folly», from the speechless, pierced One, wisdom, Word and life came down into her being…». She began to ‘know’: the «Crucified One» was the great Book… There were more and more of these appointments. She studied her Book. He gave an ever-new form to those stretches of silence.
One day, interposed between herself and the Crucified Lord, there appeared countless faces, each one with its own ‘passion’; they too with an entreaty on their lips. It was then that the lines of the face of Christ widened out to receive them all, or maybe those very faces, fused into one, traced the features of the Crucified Lord. She had seen those faces other times in their houses or on the streets of Lovere, at Pian di Borno, at Corti, in the market-place of Pisogne on the other side of the lake…Yes, they were those very people: Aunt Bartolomea, Carlo Macario who «had taken to a life with loose women and to revelry»; Borela, the drunkard; the man who blasphemed on nights of feasting, ; the poor man who had insulted her; the sick man who «talked nonsense»; and there were also her orphan-girls, the mothers who held out their hand to her… They had all gathered in the meditative half-light of «Santa Maria» to create that fanciful sight.
But she understood…; and rapidly she noted in her booklet:
«Above all, my adorable Saviour, in every person in distress and in the poverty-stricken, I shall recognize Yourself».
Then, as she lifted her eyes, she saw streams of charity dripping from the great pain of the Crucified One: from his eyes, from his lips, from his heart, from his wounds. And those faces seemed to be restored to life, to be transfigured.
Her face, too, lit up: so the wisdom, the word and the life that she had to learn, proclaim and live was charity, then! In the ray of light that filtered in, the gold of the aureole glittered, behind the cross, heralding the resurrection. She grasped the truth that the Mystery was still going on…
She hastily opened the door of «Santa Maria», casting a meaningful look at the Crucified Lord, and once again she was hurrying along the slope towards the town, with the great lesson in her heart. With a yearning look her eyes ‘took in’ the net-like medieval alley that opened to her view, and also the houses with their mysteries in the countless eyes wide open or half-closed. Now charity flowed anew into her veins, in her eyes and in her heart; charity moved her hands and feet, and gave her added strength.
And then there happened… the simplest things: Mrs Cretti, the widow, had enough bread to give out to her four children, Mr and Mrs Stoppani now lived in harmony, the young girl Brigida Savoldi felt better disposed because of her «motherly caresses», the apprentice Anselma di Castro had a sure refuge in her free time off work, the labourers were happy with their pay and because she had given them a drink; her guest checked, just in time, a slanderous remark, the tenants’ child smiled on seeing her pass by, knowing that from her «deep pockets» she would surely draw out an apple just for him; the sick man felt relieved after her visit; the dying man kissed her Crucifix…
In her person, Lovere could already see at work the hand that on the last day would wipe away the tears from every face; she was already preparing the banquet-feast; in her practical, concrete manner, she was announcing the Kingdom, when order and harmony would be restored and charity begun here on earth would be fulfilled. She who «knew the Crucified One» knew this too.
Later on, after a shattering encounter, she realized that she did not know everything yet. She came back to «Santa Maria» to listen to the Silence. She felt at once drawn by the pupils of his eyes, into the pupils of his eyes. And through his eyes she saw the endless flow of humankind: other people besides her own people, besides her ‘sinners’. She sensed a wider charity beyond her charities, and with them, multitudes who did not even know that a Cross had been erected. But there was a hint of hope among them.
He was silent. She understood she could not put off that glimmer of hope: she bowed her head and uttered the hardest Yes of all her life. And she remained crucified in her readiness, nailed by his will. It was then that «she knew everything»; she knew, however, without exhausting the Mystery, the supreme word: «When I am lifted up, I will draw everything to myself». He had uttered it in her flesh, in her anguished helplessness.
Experience of the Crucified One, charity of the Crucified One: throughout days that were no longer hers – the two would blend and interact, so that He may continue to save, even beyond what she herself saw and touched. And she humbly shared her wisdom, word and life through a brief saying, repeated with conviction: «HE WHO KNOWS THE CRUCIFIED ONE KNOWS EVERY THING».