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August 1990

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? (Rm. 8:35)

'The love of Christ' which St Paul speaks of here is not Christ has for us. It is the love for us which Christ showed throughout his life on earth. It is the love he showed when he came to seek us out and shared in our poor, sick, and sinful humanity. It is the love he showed when he offered himself on the cross to reconcile us to the Father and obtain for us the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Since Christ is the Son sent by the Father to save us, and he is one with the Father, 'the love of Christ' also means the infinite love which the Father has for the world and for each one of us.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?

If this is what Christ's love for us is like, then for a Christian worries, and above all fear, anxiety and discouragement are pointless. This is what St Paul particular wants to draw our attention to here.

As we know, fear comes when we feel that we are on our own in facing for example the mystery of the next life, the 'powers' St Paul speaks of, or the great forces of nature. We are afraid when we have to face serious difficulties and moments of need in life, things like poverty, illness, death etc. St Paul goes on to give a long list of all these difficulties in the verses immediately following this Word of Life.

Here St Paul wants to tell us that if we keep in mind God's love for us, as shown to us through his son Jesus Christ, we need no longer feel that we are alone. Christ and the Father are with us and, if they are with us, we need no longer be afraid. No difficulty and no danger can frighten us. No power in the world can hinder the plan of salvation Christ and the Father have for us.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?

How can we live this month's Word of Life? We too we may feel the burden of many difficulties, especially in some moments. Our difficulties may be material ones, of all kinds, or spiritual ones, deriving from our past or from our weakness. We too may experience a sense of anguish and fear when faced with the great unknowns which the future holds for us. We may be appalled by the materialism, violence and immorality which surround us. We may feel discouraged about the state of society which surrounds us, thinking it impossible to build a more just world etc...

Here we have a very real opportunity to live the Word of Life for this month. We must bear witness to our faith in Christ's love for us, which means that Christ is with us and the Father's love is with us.

Of course, if Christ and the Father are with us, we too must be with them and then indeed anything is possible. For Christians, to be with them means putting into practice Jesus' words, and particularly the great commandment to love our neighbour.

Love, and especially mutual love, is the fundamental cure for all the ills of our society and of humanity in general. When mutual love is practiced on a large scale, there are no more wars, there is no more discrimination, sectarianism or social unrest: there are no more conflicts. With the love of the Father and of Christ, and through our participation in this love, it is possible to transform the world in accordance with God's plan. Peace is possible. Unity between social groups and between peoples is possible. We can all live as brothers and sisters. A more hones, healthier and cleaner world is possible.

It is up to us to do all our part and through our love to help others to do their part too.

Chiara Lubich


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