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August 1991

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. (John 6:47)

These words are taken from the discourse on the bread of life which Jesus gave at the synagogue in Capernaum following the miracle of the loaves and the fish. Jesus spoke to the crowd which had sought him out after eating the bread he had multiplied. He told them that they should not look for him so as to have bread which does not last, but so as to have the bread that endures and which he alone can give. This bread is himself, his word. He is the living bread which has come down from heaven to give us eternal life.

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.

Here Jesus addresses the deepest longings of humankind. All people have been created for life; we seek life with all our strength. But our big mistake is to look for life in creatures, in created things which, because they are limited and pass away, cannot truly satisfy this longing. As a result, people feel deluded and bitter and this can even lead to desperation.

Only Jesus can satisfy our hunger. Only he can give us the life that does not die, because he is Life.

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.

In order to have this life we must believe in Jesus. We believe in him if we welcome his words and put them into practice.

Faith is undoubtedly a gift of God. For us to have faith in Jesus, the heavenly Father must draw us to him. (John 6:44)

But God wants to give this gift to everyone, provided the conditions he finds are right. The only things which stand in the way of God's gifts are our pride and our attachments, a lack of openness to the light of God and, above all, a lack of generosity and readiness to undertake those changes in mentality and lifestyle which Jesus asks of us. What is certain is that when we live his words, Jesus enters us and with him comes eternal life.

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.

How shall we live the Word of Life this month? We can live it by renewing our choice of Jesus and our total adherence to him. We already know how to do this. Me must welcome his words and put them into practice with ever greater generosity, without reservations and without lessening their meaning, setting aside mere human respect and the fears and excuses born of our natural tendencies and meanness.

To be very practical, let's put into practice with greater commitment this month those words of Jesus which the various circumstances of life bring to mind. For example, if we meet someone, 'Love your neighbour as yourself (cf. Mt. 22:39); if something is making us suffer, 'Whoever wants to follow me ... let him take up his cross' (cf. Mt. 16:4).

In this way the words of Jesus will become light for us and Jesus will enter us with his truth, his strength and his love. More and more our life will be life lived with him, doing everything together with him. Even the prospect of death will no longer make us afraid because true life, the life which doesn't die, has already begun in us through Jesus.

Chiara Lubich


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The Word of Life is published by the Focolare Movement