In the last months of her life Giulia wished to compose a prayer of “pure thanksgiving”: it is like a gift that she left us. Let’s try to discover the thoughts that inspired it, almost trying to follow her journey in doing it…
“In our prayers, in our litanies,
we always ask for something for ourselves or for others.
We never just say thank you, without asking for anything in return“
The images of the chaplet
Giulia wanted the chaplet to be accompanied by an image
So the idea emerged, through a priest friend of Giulia, to introduce her to Umberto Gamba, an artist from Bergamo.
Hi explanation can helps us to intuit the deep meaning of the images that Giulia herself chose!
«In our prayers, in our litanies, we always ask for something for ourselves or for others. We never just say thank you, without asking for anything in return»
With these words Giulia told her friends about her desire to compose a prayer exclusively expressing our thanks to God.
It is that “sense of beauty” that children have innate in their hearts, and that had grown in Giulia since she was little. An ability to be amazed, a desire to know, which despite her illness she kept, almost like a training in discovering, every day, the reasons to sing his thanks.
A phone call, a visit from a friend, a teacher’s lesson. A moment of joy with the family, a moment of consolation for the soul, a ray of sunshine … every day at least one reason to give thanks.
That attention to Beauty, with which Giulia was able, even in the last moments of her life, to give a smile to those who greeted her, a “thank you very much” uttered with great effort, a photo to immortalize the bond of friendship that had accompanied her on the way.
A trusting gaze that communicated “Beauty”,
And so, among the things for which to give thanks, there is also the gift of good health, which she meant as the abundant gift of grace that she felt she received in her heart, “because,” as she repeated when speaking to young people, “the first thing to be healed is inside”. The prayer for the illness to be cured came later: “The important thing is that, as Chiara Luce says, God’s will be done”.
The last months of Giulia’s life were like a dance during which suffering turned into a hymn of thanksgiving. With the help of her closest friends, to whom she dictated the thoughts she had in her heart, Giulia began to compose the text of this prayer: one verse, then another, then a correction … Despite being very tried, she felt a strong need to “complete this last theme”, as if in response to a call.
It was as if she wanted to leave us the most important experience she had lived: that of having perceived God’s love even while experiencing great pain, an experience that in her soul had become a song of joy.
Thinking about the text to write was for her a moment of great concentration and recollection, like an intimate and sweet dialogue with God, so that it was He who led her to understand how he desired this prayer.
She took care of every single word, and often had the verses reread to verify – even by “questioning” those close to her – that no expression led to a prayer of request: it had to be a prayer just to say “thank you”.
At the height of her suffering, on the evening of 18th August, on the verge of heaven, she composed the final prayer, thanking Jesus who, on the cross, gave us his young Mother. It seemed to us all a sign of Providence that on the evening of 19th August, at the end of the Way of the Cross of the young people with the Pope at the 2011 WYD in Madrid, Giulia’s journey culminated.
We believe that Giulia wanted to show us a way: that of knowing how to glimpse, in every passage of life, the Beauty that she has grasped as a flash of God’s presence.
A light that conquers all darkness, for which we too can sing our thanks, making our lives a dance…
But how is that possible?
It is a message also for you, who find it hard to believe:
… see the beauty that exists in you, your talents, your abilities.
Discover the signs of beauty next to you, the truest friendships, the dearest affections.
Review your days and observe every moment you have lived, recognizing the gifts that tell you of a greater Love.
You feel it, you sense it within you: your heart cannot help but sing for joy.
Even when everything seems to collapse, even when we measure ourselves by our failures …
There too we can see a renewed way.
And a song of thanksgiving rises in our hearts.
We believe it is this flash of light that Giulia wanted to leave us …
… and if you think that you have nothing to give …
Throw yourself into giving …
you can’t but give thanks!
The testimony of Umberto Gamba
In August 2011, a few days before the feast day of the Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven, we went to visit Giulia at her home: she wanted to find an image of the faces of Jesus and Mary, suitable for illustrating her thanksgiving chaplet.
She was suffering a lot in those days, but in her heart she has very clear ideas of how she wanted those faces to be, and so she told us: Jesus and Mary should be smiling and serene, with a welcoming and loving gaze directed at the beholder, in a “colour of Heaven” that enlightens everyone.
She asked that the picture should include a girl running with her arms outstretched towards them.
I wonder, could it be her? Or sick children? Or maybe the little girl represents simple humanity?!
In our chat we imagine a painting in tones of the blue sky with a horizontal division that separates – but not too much – the sky from the earth on which the girl is running, whose shadow is projected behind her thanks to the Light of Jesus and Mary.
TRINITY Only later did Giulia have the idea of casting the shadow of the little girl with the likeness of the statue of the Risen Christ which is found in the gardens around the parish of Medjugorje.
When the idea of the picture with Jesus and Mary seemed clear, Giulia threw in the observation that her prayer was directed to the Trinity and therefore that should be illustrated too!
She willingly agreed to see a picture in which I had tried to represent the Trinity and to hear the explanation referring to two biblical quotations: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn. 14: 9), and “He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15). From these quotations I had created the picture with the face of Jesus that is reflected in the sky, but not as a mirror image, because although they are the same they are two distinct persons. Finally we agreed to make their relationship of Love clearer by explicitly mentioning the dove of the Holy Spirit and using the colour red in which they are all enveloped. She was really struck by those interpretations and she was truly satisfied.
I immediately got to work and two days later I sent her the file of the picture with the faces of Jesus and Mary; I liked the idea that she could imagine them so peaceful and welcoming… a few days later the moment of Grace arrived for her to be able to really see them and to be immersed in that fire of love of the Trinity.
The two original paintings are made with Indian ink on paper and measure 50 x 70 cms.
We sincerely thank Umberto Gamba for giving us this testimony!