May 1999

Love is at the center of Jesus’ farewell discourse: love of the Father for the Son and love for Jesus by keeping his commandments.
Those who were listening to Jesus could easily recognize in his words an echo of the Wisdom Books: “loving her means keeping her laws” (Ws. 6:18). In particular, revealing himself to those who love finds a parallel in the Hebrew Scriptures in Wisdom 1:2 where it says that the Lord will manifest himself to those who believe in him.
The sense of the words we are proposing here is: the Father loves those who love the Son, and the Son in turn loves them and reveals himself to them.

«Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.»

However, Jesus reveals himself only to those who love.
We cannot conceive of Christians who do not have this dynamism, this charge of love in their hearts. A clock doesn’t work, it doesn’t tell the time – we wouldn’t even call it a clock – if it is not charged. Likewise, a Christian who does not constantly strive to love is not worthy of the name Christian.
The reason for this is that all of God’s commandments can be summed up in one: in love of God and love of neighbor, in whom we recognize and love Jesus.
Love is not mere sentimentalism; it must be expressed in concrete terms, in serving our brothers and sisters, especially those who are beside us, beginning with little things, the most humble services.
Charles de Foucauld says: “When you love someone, you are really in that person through love, you live in him through love, you no longer live in yourself, you are ‘detached’ from yourself, ‘outside’ of yourself.”
When we love, his light, the light of Jesus, gains entrance into our souls, according to his promise: “I will reveal myself… to the one who loves me” (cf. Jn. 14:21). Love is the source of light: by loving we have a greater understanding of God who is Love.
This leads us to loving even more and to deepening the relationship with our neighbors.

This light, this loving knowledge of God is therefore the seal, the confirmation of true love. And we can experience it in various ways, because light takes on a particular color or shade in each one of us. But it also has common characteristics: it helps us to understand the will of God, it gives us peace, serenity, and an ever new understanding of the Word of God. It’s a warm light which encourages us to walk along the way of life with always more confidence and determination. When the shadows of life seem to make our way uncertain, even when we feel that it is too dark to go ahead, these words of the Gospel will remind us that light is turned on by loving and that one gesture of concrete love, even a small one (a prayer, a smile, a word) will give us enough light to go ahead.
Some bicycles provide light at night by peddling. If you stop peddling, you find yourself in darkness, but if you start peddling again, the dynamo will provide the light you need to see the way.
We can apply this to our life: we must only put love into motion again, true love, that which gives without expecting anything in return, in order to rekindle our faith and hope.

Chiara Lubich

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