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May 1989

The spirit you received is not the spirit of slaves bringing fear into your lives again; it is the spirit of sons, and it makes us cry out, 'Abba, Father!' (Rom. 18:15)

St Paul is describing the wonderful effects of the Holy Spirit in us, which Jesus has obtained for us through his death and resurrection. Among these effects there is one which includes them all: divine sonship. The Holy Spirit makes us adopted children of God. Communicating his grace to us, he transforms our entire person and instils in us the same love and sentiments that Jesus had. (Phil. 2,5) Therefore he brings us into a new relationship with the heavenly Father, the relationship of a son, like Jesus.

The spirit you received is not the spirit of slaves bringing fear into your lives again; it is the spirit of sons, and it makes us cry out, 'Abba, Father!'

St Paul uses the example of the slave to help us to understand the radical newness and greatness of our situation as Christians. Unlike the slave, who is a stranger, a person who is temporarily added on to the family but does not form part of it, a son or daughter is a member of the family and has a very special relationship with the father.

The same thing should be said of us Christians. We are no longer strangers but sons and daughters who form part of the family of God in all respects.

The spirit you received is not the spirit of slaves bringing fear into your lives again; it is the spirit of sons, and it makes us cry out, 'Abba, Father!'

Then, St Paul directs our attention to a special aspect of this relationship as a son: the absence of any kind of fear. Christians live in trust, at peace and in love. We fulfil the will of the Father, not out of fear, but out of love. Furthermore, we ask him for everything that we need and we are sure that the love of the Father will not leave us wanting. In fact, we continually experience his providence.

The spirit you received is not the spirit of slaves bringing fear into your lives again; it is the spirit of sons, and it makes us cry out, 'Abba, Father!'

How can we live the Word of Life this month?

By believing in the Father's love for us and by trying to have a true relationship as a son or daughter with him.

If we are convinced that God is our Father, we will strive first of all to see his love in his commandments and we will put them into practice with a new attitude out of love and no longer because we are afraid of being punished.

We will also see his love in all that he wills or allows to happen to us. So we will abandon ourselves to him in trust, believing in the plan of love he has for each one of us.

This month we will try, in particular, to put aside every fear and cast all our cares in God: whether regarding our health, the future, our work, our families, etc. and, if we have faith, we will see God intervene in extraordinary ways as our Father.

Chiara Lubich

(Many thanks to S.E. who supplied the 'lost' commentary to this Word of Life)

 

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