We are in the liturgical season of Advent. So, a time of waiting, of preparation for Christmas, a time for being alert and praying. But how can we do this? Here too, we are helped by circumstances, by the brothers and sisters who fill our days: the love we can give will be our prayer, welcomed by Heaven.

“Be alert and pray” (…). these few words hold the key to facing the most dramatic events in life, but also the inevitable trials of every day. However, we are immersed in the frenetic and all-consuming pace of modern life, so how can we possibly avoid being lulled to sleep by many “siren songs”? And yet these words of the Gospel are meant for us too…

Even in times like these, Jesus cannot ask us to do something that is beyond our capabilities. Along with this exhortation, he must necessarily show us how to live in accordance with his word.  So then, how can we stay awake and be on our guard? How can we always have a prayerful attitude? We might have made every effort to shut out everything and everyone as a means of self-defence. But that is not right, and it is not long before we realise that, sooner or later, we have to give in.

The path to take can be found in the Gospel and in human experience itself. When you love someone, your heart is watchful, always waiting for that person. Every minute that passes is spent for that person’s sake, watching and waiting. A person who loves is watchful. Being watchful is characteristic of love. …

This is the attitude of those who love Jesus. They do everything for his sake. They find him every moment in the simple expressions of his will, and they will meet him solemnly on the day he comes. …

The smile we give, the task we carry out, the car we drive, the meal we prepare, the activity we are organizing, the tears we shed for one of our brothers or sisters who is suffering; the instrument we play, the article or letter we write, the happy event we share cheerfully, the dress to be cleaned… If we do all these things out of love, they can all become a prayer.

To be alert and pray always, we need to be anchored in love, to love God’s will and every neighbour he puts beside us.

Today, I really want to love. So, I will be alert and pray at all times.

Chiara Lubich

(Chiara Lubich, in Parole di Vita, [Words of Life] edited by Fabio Ciardi, Opere di Chiara Lubich, Città Nuova, 2017, pp. 634-636)

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