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September 1987

Whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. (Rom. 14:8)

St. Paul uses some incidents involving misunderstandings and intolerance in the community in Rome to remind people of a principle which embraces the whole Christian life. It is a truth that can almost be taken for granted, but which is of fundamental importance because of its practical consequences.

The principle is: we are the Lord's. The reason for this is very simple - God is our creator and saviour. He created us and gave us his Son so that we might' share in his life and his joy, on earth initially and fully after our death. Jesus died and rose again so that we would belong to him and through him belong to the Father.

Whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's.

If we belong to the Lord, then it follows as a consequence that the whole of our life and activity should express our belonging to him, our striving to be close to him.

How should we go about this? By trying to carry out his will wherever we are, in the place he has called us to be: in our family, in the factory, in the office, at school, in hospital, in parliament etc. We should commit ourselves to carrying out his will in the various trials of our life, which God permits in order to purify us and make us co-workers with Christ for the sanctification of the world.

Whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's.

Of course, this applies not only to our life, but still more to our death. The moment of our death, indeed, determines our full and definitive belonging to the Lord. How are we to live our death? By responding fully to God's call and abandoning ourselves, trusting in his mercy with the hope of meeting him in eternal life.

Of itself death is bitter and traumatic, however it all changes totally if it is lived in the Lord and for the Lord.

Whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's.

During this month, in order to live this Word of Life well, let's say to the Lord repeatedly: 'I am yours.' This is a sincere expression of love which is bound to please the Lord. It follows that if we should do his will so as to belong to him, then we will seek to do his will with all our heart.

The will of God can be applied so widely, in every field, as we know. For now let's try to concentrate at least on the commandment to love our neighbour which is what Jesus desired most. We can find ways to show greater care for the sick and the elderly; ways to respond to the needs of those who live with us; ways to care for the education of our children. We can, re-discover the different ways we could give a good example, as we are called to do, particularly to children, by keeping away from them anything which could scandalise or damage their spiritual life. We should realise afresh that our neighbour deserves our respect for his ideas, his outlook and above all his good name, and so we should avoid spreading idle gossip that may damage his good name. Our natural surroundings too should be respected, and let's not forget to pay more attention to the Highway Code. These are all ways in which concretely and effectively we witness that our life and the life of our neighbour, belong, not to us, but to the Lord.

Chiara Lubich

 

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