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April 1994

But when anyone does obey what he has said, God's love comes to perfection in him. (1 John 2:5)

This statement should be read in the light of the reasons for the apostle John's first letter, in which it is found. It was necessary to take a stand against some heretics who, besides denying the divinity of the historical Jesus, also justified ways of behaving that were totally removed from his word.

In this letter John reaffirms that Christian life is sharing in the very life of God, in which we 'dwell' by putting his word into practice. 'Living the word' is not only the condition for possessing eternal life in the future, but even now it generates God's life in us and already is the beginning of eternal life.

But when anyone does obey what he has said, God's love comes to perfection in him.

Undoubtedly, John wants to tell us that genuine Christian life and true love of God are shown not so much through splendid talks and theories, but through what is actually done, putting into practice the commandment 'that you had from the beginning' (1 John 2:7).

But he means more than this. He wants to tell us that living the word of God produces in us the very love of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is the same love which the Son, Jesus, brought to earth and which led him to give himself to us to the point of sacrificing himself, so that we too might love one another as he has loved us.

But when anyone does obey what he has said, God's love comes to perfection in him.

Of course, John does not mean to say that, right from the beginning of our conversion, we possess this love in a perfect way. He takes for granted the journey that a Christian necessarily must make: a journey made up of commitment and generous effort in the face of difficulties.

John wants to tell us that if someone starts seriously to live the word of Jesus, he or she will enter into communion with God and this communion will deepen and unfailingly reach the perfect love Jesus taught us.

But when anyone does obey what he has said, God's love comes to perfection in him.

How shall we live this month's word of life?

It reminds us that Jesus is not interested in splendid words but in facts: what counts is the effort and generosity we put into living his commandment.

One practical aspect to focus upon this month might be to live out all the various shades of love for our neighbour. Love of neighbour always makes new kinds of demands, and we find there is always something to be improved.

Above all, this Word of Life wants to remind us of an immensely important truth: namely that the teachings of Jesus, when lived out, produce the life and love of God within us, and contain a transforming power and a wealth of quite unforeseeable developments. Living the word of Jesus leads us to being perfect in love and is, in fact, the normal way to sanctity, to which all of us are called.

Chiara Lubich

 

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