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May 1991

Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. (1 John 4:7)

These words are taken from the first letter of John. The love he is speaking about here is true love, pure love, as opposed to the selfish love of the world.' It is the love which is the very nature of God and can come from God alone.' Jesus brought this love on earth and revealed it to us through his teachings, his life and above all through giving himself on the cross. John is speaking, therefore, of the love which urges us to love the Father and our brothers and sisters in the same way as Jesus loved them.

Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

It is on this basis that John explains to us who true Christians are in contrast to any confused or erroneous ideas that might present themselves.

A Christian is a child of God. Christians are born of God and, therefore, share in the life of God.

But what is it that shows that they are Christians? It cannot be something external, like a badge or a membership card, or belonging to a particular social group or some kind of organisational activity. Rather, it is the fact that the love which we have just described lives in them. True Christians, that is to say, true children of God, are people who are animated and guided by the love that comes from God.

Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

John goes on to emphasise the effects of this love. The first of them is knowledge of God. It is not a question of purely intellectual knowledge, which can be found in books, although this too is necessary. Instead, it is the deep knowledge of God which we can have only when we experience God, that is when he himself gives us his light and his love.

John wants to remind us that if we love God, he will manifest himself to us.' If we begin to love in the way that Jesus taught us, God will draw us into an ever deeper union with him. This wonderful experience will make us almost unassailable and unyielding in the face of the errors and the attraction of the world.

Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

How can we live the Word of Life for this month? By living the love which comes from God and which Jesus taught us, and this opens up for us a vast horizon.

So, as not to be vague or abstract, let's keep in mind a few fundamental points: let's be faithful to his commandments for example, for whoever loves God keeps his commandments. In particular, let's serve our neighbours, especially those close at hand, beginning with little things, with the humblest of services. Let's make an effort to be the first to love, like Jesus was, being detached from ourselves and embracing all the crosses, both big and small, that this may involve.

In this way it will not be long before we reach that experience of God, that communion with him, that fullness of light, peace and inner joy to which Jesus wants to bring us.

Chiara Lubich


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