THE MYSTERY OF THE CROSS IN THE LIFE OF MOTHER CLELIA MERLONI
“The Cross is a sign of the chosen, a pledge of the predilection of Jesus. Courage, and therefore hope! Yes, after Calvary, the Resurrection, and in the Resurrection, the exhilaration of triumph and of peace…” (Mother Clelia)
“Do not fear the cross. God is a Father and He always measures it according to our strength; in addition, from it effuses the divine Blood that regenerates us and is the source of all the joy reserved for us in heaven.” (Mother Clelia)
Testimony from the Positio
Mother Clelia’s spirituality is solidly founded on the Mystery of the Cross, which reaches its highest point in the Resurrection. It is a spirituality born on Calvary, flowing abundantly from the open side of Jesus Crucified and is perpetuated in the glory of the Resurrection.
Following the path of suffering, through her experience of human abandonment, Mother Clelia arrives at the experience of total abandonment in God. This intense and intimate life, lived out in the deepest part of her being, is communicated to us as a witness to the presence of pain and suffering that always accompanied it. She experiences the agony in the garden, the ascent to Calvary and, to the last drop, she drinks the chalice that the Lord presents to her. In the footsteps of the crucified Bridegroom, she allows herself to be led to the supreme holocaust, becoming a victim—a victim of love—in order to perpetuate the triumph and glory of the Heart of Jesus. The mystery of the Cross, so incarnated in her life, slowly transforms her into a disciple of the Crucified Master, an Apostle of his Love.
Testimony of those who knew her
Sr. Lilia Ciampolillo gave witness that:
“In the dark period of her Calvary, Mother generously accepted the Cross of denial, and urged herself and others to be patient and to wait for the moment of reconciliation…”
Another eyewitness stated:
“Mother Clelia herself confessed to having passed through moments of darkness, but she never gave in to recrimination or sadness. Rather, with serenity, she embraced the cross and offered to Jesus the pain of her grieving heart, constantly calling herself, as we read in her letters, an instrument in the hands of God.”
Mother Clelia writes:
“Who, more than a person consecrated to God, should be generous in carrying, with great love, the cross God has assigned her during her sorrowful pilgrimage in this valley of tears? In this, imitate St. Andrew, disciple of the Cross…who drew from it the most sublime wisdom of life. Do you have the same fervor for the Cross of Jesus Christ, or do you draw back as soon as you notice it in the distance? Love generously and wholeheartedly all the little crosses which Providence may be pleased to send you and of which our life is full.”
From these and other testimonies emerges a portrait of a woman who practiced virtue in a heroic manner. Mother Clelia understood the mystery of the Cross and assimilated it through a constant and persevering effort of adherence to Christ, in her acceptance of trials, as well as physical and spiritual sufferings.
For personal reflection:
1. What does the mystery of the Cross, as lived by Mother Clelia, say to me?
2. What can Mother Clelia say to the people of our time who try to smooth over the mystery of the Cross and refuse sacrifice and suffering?
3. Is it possible to live the mystery of the Cross as a mystery of Love?
“Leave me, O Lord, your Love…It is all that I want; every other thing for me is nothing. Even the immortality of my soul would be nothing if I would be deprived of Your love. I would prefer to be annihilated from this moment rather than to lose the hope of being loved by you, I want to love You with all the intensity of my heart, loving nothing but You, and everything in You and for You.” (Mother Clelia)