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July 1981

He who finds his life will lose it and he who loses his life for my sake, will find it. (Matthew 10, 39)

Two types of life for man emerge from a reading of this new Word of Life: life on earth, the life which man builds for himself in this world and supernatural life given to man by God through Jesus, which does not end at death and which nobody can take away from man. 

You have the choice of two attitudes to life: either you attach yourself to life on earth, taking the view that this is your only possession and then you will he inclined to think about yourself, your affairs, your children, you will retire into your shell, asserting yourself only and you wilI find that the conclusion of your life in the end is inevitably death. Alternatively, you can live believing that you have received a much deeper and more authentic life from God and then you will have the courage to live in a way which is worthy of this gift, to the point of being able to sacrifice your life on earth for this other life. 

He who finds his fife will lose it and he who loses his life for my sake, will find it.

 When Jesus said this he was thinking of martyrdom. Like every Christian, you must be ready to lose your life, even by dying a violent death, in order to follow the Master and remain faithful to the gospel, and you will gain true life in this way. Jesus was the first to lose his life and he gained his life in his glorification. He has forewarned us 'do not fear those who kill the body but kill the soul.' (Mt. 10, 28) 

Now he is saying to you: 

He who finds his life will lose it and he who loses his life for my sake, will find it.

If you read the gospel carefully you will find that Jesus repeats this idea six times in all. This shows what a significant idea it is and shows that Jesus attached great importance to it. For Jesus the call to lose our life is not just an invitation to martyrdom. It is a fundamental law of Christian life. 

We must be ready to give up making ourselves the ideal of our life, we must be ready to give up our own selfish independence. The true Christian, and this means you, if you want to be one, will make Christ the centre of his life. Do you know what Christ wants of you? Love for others. If you adopt his plan as your own, you will have definitely lost yourself and you will have found life. 

The decision not to live for oneself is by no means an attitude of defeat and passivity; as some people may think. It is not a question of despising life or not taking an interest in life, it is a question of committing our personal existence to the path of love. A Christian always has a fairly strong commitment and his sense of responsibility is total. What changes is the aim, the orientation of life. 

He who finds his life will lose it and he who loses his life for my sake, will find it.

While still living on this earth you can have the experience that in the gift of yourself, in love which is lived, life grows in you. After having spent your day in the service of others, after having learnt how to transform your daily work, which is perhaps monotonous and hard, into an expression of love, you will experience the joy of feeling yourself more fulfilled, more human. 

He who finds his life will lose it and he who loses his fife for my sake, will find it.

Following the commands of Jesus which all have love as their centre, after this short existence you will find eternal life. Do you remember what Jesus will judge you by on the last day? 

"Come O blessed .... for I was hungry and you gave me food, 1 was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me....' (Mt. 25, 34-36) 

In order to make you a sharer in the life which does not end, Jesus will look solely at whether you have loved your neighbour and he will consider as having been done to him all that you have done to your neighbour. 

How then will you live this new Word? How are you going to lose your life from today onwards in order to find it? 

The answer is by preparing yourself for the great decisive exam for which you were born. 

Look around you and fill your day with acts of love. Christ presents himself to you in your children, your wife, in your fellow workers, in your fellow members of a political party, in your friends whom you meet socially... do good to everyone. And do not forget the people you hear about every day in the newspapers or through friends or on television... do something for all of them, according to your possibilities. When you have exhausted your possibilities you can still pray for people, both living and dead. This too is love which has value. 

Chiara Lubich 



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