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February 1989

Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. (1 Cor.10:12)

One of the problems facing the community at Corinth was the excessive self-confidence shown by some people there. They permitted themselves great freedom and behaved like people who were convinced that they had no further dangers to face. Confident in their call to faith and their sacramental life, and proud of their cultural superiority, they were drawn too easily to mix with pagan circles and took part in banquets where meat was eaten that had been sacrificed to idols without any concern about the scandal this might give their weaker brothers and sisters.

Therefore let any one who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.

There is no doubt that faith and the sacraments assure our salvation, but only on condition that we do our share well by putting into practice all Jesus' teaching and suggestions.

Jesus teaches us not to expose ourselves to temptation in an imprudent way and teaches us not to have a bad effect on the spiritual life of our brothers because of our behaviour.

Therefore let any one who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.

Nobody can be so sure that they will never fall from one moment to the next. Nobody is protected from temptation, whether from our passions which attract us to evil, or from some hard trial which comes from the world outside or from the evil power, the devil, who is continually lying in wait in order to harm us when we are not on our guard.

We need to be very watchful. Salvation is for those who take refuge humbly in God and not those who expose themselves to danger in a foolhardy way.

Therefore let any one who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.

How can we live this month's Word of Life? There is a widespread fashion today, which tries to combine Christian faith with a false worldly freedom. This is precisely what St Paul is denouncing. The false worldly freedom says you can look at anything you like, read anything you find, go to any sort of show, or visit any sort of place and you need not worry about the damage this can do to your spiritual life or the scandal you may give to your neighbour. This way of behaving is not in keeping with the prudent way of deciding our own actions and concern for the good of others which St Paul is suggesting to us in this Word of Life.

We should not be over-confident about our own strength and we should not expose ourselves to temptations in an imprudent way. We should avoid occasions of temptation and stop what we are doing at once when we realise there is danger.

We should then love, love God in his will and love our neighbour because love is the best safeguard against any evil.

Chiara Lubich

 

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