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March 1993

God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8)

The offering that Jesus made of himself in obedience to the Father, by dying for us on the cross, is the great proof of God's love for us. This proof is even stronger and more overwhelming if, as St Paul suggests to us here, we know how to see it against the background of the state of humankind and its experience in history. It is a state of extreme moral weakness, distance from God, hardness of heart, and even rebellion against him.

Now, God's response to this state of affairs, which was anything but deserving of benevolence, was to show love, the greatest love imaginable: the gift of his Son so as to turn us, from being so far from him, into members of his family, no longer obstinate and rebellious people, but his children.

God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.

Reading this Word in its context it is not difficult-to grasp its teaching.

If God's love for us is so great, we no longer have any reason to fear. Even with all our shortcomings and our great weakness, we must be sure that God loves us. We should already feel completely at peace, sure that as he has begun, so will he conclude the work of our salvation.

God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.

So this Word wants to instil in us a new trust. Rather than trusting in our own strengths, which so often have shown themselves to lead nowhere, we must let a new trust take over, trust in the immense love of God for us.

It is not a question of the superficial and thoughtless trust of those who think they can obtain salvation cheaply, but the trust of those who recognise their own limitations, who do their part well, knowing that this is the condition for God to reveal in us all the power of his grace.

God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.

How shall we live the Word of Life this month? By believing in the boundless love God has for us, above all when we experience our own moral weakness.

As we know, one of the most dangerous temptations in this respect is discouragement, because it can block the way on our spiritual journey. Discouragement can get the better of us when we are faced with the memory of our past sins, the difficulties of a trial, the persistence of certain faults or the return of certain failings we thought we had overcome.

This Word of Life calls us to respond to this temptation with an attitude of both humility and confidence. Humility in the deep awareness of our own nothingness and fragility; confidence in the boundless love of God. With the simplicity of children we can entrust to him any possible failure, getting up again straightaway without losing ourselves in futile reasoning and analysis of the past.

Knowing how to start again is the most intelligent and constructive thing we can do. It is the secret of true spiritual progress.

Chiara Lubich

 

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