Focolare Word of Life – September, 2013

“Let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.” (1 Jn 3:18)

St. John was writing to warn his communities against certain people who exalted faith in Jesus with their words but did not follow through with works.

Moreover, these people considered works to be useless or superfluous, as if Jesus had already done everything. Their faith was empty and sterile, therefore, because it left out, from the work accomplished by Jesus, that indispensable contribution he asks of each of us.

“Let us love not in word or speech, but in truth and action.”

Love in action. Real faith, the Apostle says, proves itself by loving as Jesus did and as he taught.
The first characteristic of this love is concreteness. Jesus did not love us just by giving beautiful speeches. He passed among us doing good, healing all (Acts 10:38), making himself totally available to those who came his way, beginning with the weakest, the poorest, those left out, giving his life for us.

“Let us love not in word or speech, but in truth and action.”

We are to love, the Apostle says, not only in action but in truth, too. While Christian love attempts to express itself in concrete actions, its source of inspiration must be the truth of the love that we find in Jesus. It must aim at doing works that conform to his sentiments and his teachings.
We must love, therefore, in accord with and in the measure of love given to us by Jesus.

“Let us love not in word or speech, but in truth and action.”

How should we live the word of life of this month? Its message is all very clear. It calls us to the Christian authenticity that Jesus insisted upon. Isn’t this what the world is waiting for? Isn’t it perhaps true that the world of our times wants to see people who bear witness to the love of Jesus?
Let us love then in deed rather than in word, beginning from the humble acts of service asked of us each day by those we meet.
Let us love in the truth.
Jesus always acted in harmony with the will of the Father — in the same way we too should always act in harmony with the words of Jesus.
He wants us to recognize him in every neighbor. In fact, he holds as done to himself what we do for each person we meet. He wants us to love others as we love ourselves and to love each other by being ready to give our lives for each other.
Let us love like this, then, so that we too might be instruments of Jesus for the salvation of the world.
Chiara Lubich

Each month a Scripture passage is offered as a guide and inspiration for daily living. This commentary, translated into 96 languages and dialects, reaches several million people worldwide through print, radio, television and the Internet. Ever since the Focolare’s beginnings, founder Chiara Lubich (1920–2008) wrote her commentaries each month. This one was originally published in May 1988.

This monthly leaflet is a supplement to Living City, the Focolare magazine ( Experiences of how people put the monthly sentence into practice can be read in Living City and in books published by New City Press (
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© 2013 by Living City of the Focolare Movement, Inc.

Read more on this topic:
Lubich, Chiara, “Love As You Love Yourself,” The Art of Loving, New City Press, 2005, p.57.

Lubich, Chiara. “One City is Not Enough,” Essential Writings, New City Press, 2007, p.105.

Ruggiero, Vincent Ryan. “Loving Kindness in Action,” The Practice of Loving Kindness, New City Press, 2003, p.64.

Next month:
October 2013
“Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” (Rom 13:8)