May 2011

The Word of Life, taken from Scripture, is offered each month as a guide and inspiration for daily living.

Of the many commandments of the Scriptures, which is the foremost? This was one of the classic questions discussed by the rabbinical schools during the time of Jesus. And Jesus, who is considered to be a teacher, does not evade the question when he is asked, “Which is the greatest commandment of the Law?” He answers in an original way, joining love of God and love of neighbor. His disciples are never to separate these two loves, just as they cannot separate the roots of a tree from its foliage. In other words, the more they love God, the more they intensify their love for their brothers and sisters; the more they love their brothers and sisters, the more they deepen their love for God.

More than anyone else, Jesus knows the God we must truly love and knows how we should love him: he is his Father and our Father, his God and our God (see Jn 20:17). He is a God who loves each one personally; he loves me, he loves you: he is my God, your God (“You shall love the Lord, your God”).

And we are able to love him because he loved us first: so the love he commanded us to have is a response to his love, to Love itself. We can turn to him with the same confidence and trust that Jesus had when he called him Abba, Father. We too, like Jesus, can speak with him often; we can tell him all our needs, our resolutions and plans, and we can tell him over and over again of our exclusive love for him.

We too eagerly await the moment in which we can be in profound contact with him through prayer, which is dialogue, communion, a relationship of intense friendship. In those moments we can pour out our love: we can adore him beyond all creation, glorify his presence everywhere in the universe, praise him in the depths of our hearts and alive in our tabernacles, think of him present wherever we are, in our room, at work, in the office, while we are with others …

“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”

Jesus teaches us another way to love God. For Jesus, loving meant doing the will of the Father, putting mind, heart, energies, life itself at his disposal, for Jesus gave himself completely to the plan that the Father had for him. The Gospel shows him to us as being always and totally turned toward the Father (see Jn 1:18), always in the Father, always intent on saying only what he heard from the Father, on carrying out only what the Father told him to do.

He asks the same of us: loving means doing the will of the beloved, without half measures, with all our being: “with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Love is not just a sentiment. “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I command?” (Lk 6:46), Jesus asks of those who love only with words.

“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.

How should we live this commandment of Jesus? Certainly by cultivating a filial relationship, a relationship of friendship with God, but above all, by doing what he wants. Our attitude towards God, like that of Jesus, will be that of always being turned toward the Father, listening to him, in obedience, in order to carry out his work — that alone and nothing else.

To accomplish this, we are asked to be radical in our choices and way of life, because we cannot give less than everything to God: all our heart, all our soul, all our mind. And this means doing whatever he asks of us well and completely.

Living his will and conforming ourselves to it will often require burning our own will, sacrificing anything we have in our heart or mind that does not concern the present moment. It could be an idea, a feeling, a thought, a desire, a memory, an object, a person …

In this way, we are all intent on doing whatever is asked of us in the present moment. Speaking, talking on the phone, listening, helping someone, studying, praying, eating, sleeping, living his will without wandering off; carrying out actions that are complete, whole, perfect, with all our heart, soul and mind; having only one motive for everything we do — love — so that we can say, in every moment of the day: “Yes, my God, in this moment, in this action, I love you with all my heart, with all my being.” This is the only way we can say that we love God, that we reciprocate his being love toward us.

“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”

To live this Word of Life it will be helpful to examine ourselves from time to time to see if God is truly foremost in our lives.

So then, to conclude, what should we do this month? Renew our choice of God as our only ideal, as the all of our life, putting him back in the first place, living with perfection his will in the present moment. We want be able to say with sincerity: “My God and my all,” “I love you,” “I am all yours,” “You are God, you are my God, our God of infinite love!”

Chiara Lubich

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