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April 1992

Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. (Phil. 3:8)

Here Paul is speaking about the great change that came about in him through his meeting with Christ. Even before his conversion he was an enthusiastic believer, full of zeal for God's cause, and he genuinely sought the will of God which he found expressed in the Law of Moses.

Yet, looking back at that period, in the new light of Christ, he sees it as something to be thrown away, as something utterly worthless.

Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.

What is it that makes Paul so harsh in his judgement? He is critical of the underlying attitudes and values governing his life then. Beneath his zeal and his love for the Law, beneath his thirst for justice and personal holiness, lay self-centredness, the search for spiritual results, as if perfection were simply the fruit of a person's own effort.

Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.

His meeting with Jesus turned Paul's attitude upside down. In a blinding flash of light, he understood that holiness is a fruit of God's grace and is to be found in the love that Jesus brought on earth. In Jesus crucified he saw the personification of true love: Jesus humbled himself and made himself one with us, to the point of giving his life so as to pass on the gift of his spirit, making us able to love as he loves. From that moment, Paul entrusted his past to the mercy of God and set his sights wholeheartedly on Jesus. He wanted to choose him and be possessed by him in order to be perfectly one with him.

Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.

How shall we live the Word of Life this month? As we have seen from Paul's experience, it speaks to us about Christian life as a discovery and choice of Jesus, as a break with one's own past life and the firm decision never to separate ourselves from him again.

Now, we too have had the good fortune to meet Jesus, to know him and to choose him. So this is how we can live this Word. We can resolve to reply with all our strength to such a great grace, by renewing our choice of Jesus through putting his Word into practice always more generously. Let's try to follow Jesus by copying the radical nature of his love and his complete lack of self-centredness. This is what struck Paul so much and transformed him completely.

We too will become great apostles, bearers of the kingdom of God, because, through that love, Jesus will shine out in us and among us, giving a sure witness of himself and kindling faith in God in the secularised and materialistic world around us. Through our lives we will cry out to many people that God exists, that he loves us, and that we must love him.

Chiara Lubich

 

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