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January 1996

Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me. (Rev. 3:20)

These words come from the Book of Revelation when Jesus, through John, speaks to the Church in Laodicea. Through the centuries, all Christians have felt that Jesus spoke these words to them. Pope John Paul II, from the very first day of his pontificate, appealed to us: "Open the doors to Christ!".

It is an invitation to open wide our hearts to Him who alone can make them overflow with joy. Indeed, the metaphor of "dinner for two" has precisely this meaning, the abundance of joy and every other good that union with God brings with it.

But when and how does Jesus speak to each one of us? How is it possible, among so many voices and so much noise, to recognise his voice and open to him the door of our hearts?

We must first of all silence the other voices, the ones that disturb, worry or deceive us. But this is not enough. We must tune in to the wavelength of the voice of God, and this can be done if we decide to love, to let love (true, Christian love) be our life-style. Then we will hear his gentle voice, which cannot be confused with any other, because it is the only one that gives peace and certainty, that encourages and enlightens us.

There are moments which are especially difficult and painful when both within and without there is silence and darkness. These are moments in which only raw faith in his love makes us believe that he is still there, at the door, knocking. And he is there waiting for a sign of our love. If we know how to embrace the small or great suffering, which is the face, the guise under which he presents himself, beyond suffering we will find only love and the joy of being with him.

Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.

This Word invites us to listen to his voice all the time .

But how can this be done, immersed as we are in activities which absorb all our energy and attention? It is enough, at the start of our day's work, or when we are about to do something important for the family, at school, or in the office, to say with complete trust: "It is you whom I want to meet in those people, in that situation. And I want to open the door of my heart to you, you alone!"

Then that day, that conversation, that task, will take on a new dimension, another 'flavour', becoming a meeting with Jesus who, in secret, fills us with the sweetness and light of his presence.

In fact, Jesus himself revealed to us his own particular way and his own 'secret' for living this Word. It is his presence in our brother or sister: each neighbour we meet is an opportunity to open the door to him and communicate with him.

But in reality it is he who welcomes us and heaps his gifts on us. And so perhaps at the end of day spent listening and giving to Jesus in our brothers and sisters, we will feel our heart overflow with a pure and deep joy.

Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.

In this month in which the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity occurs, with these words of Jesus as its motto, he does indeed stand at the door, knocking, and he asks us again and always to re-establish the visible and full unity of the Church. Let's listen to his voice and commit ourselves to reach full communion among the Churches.

Living this Word will bring closer the day when all Christians will be reconciled, when here on earth there will be a foretaste of the meal which will see us all gathered around him - that meal and that table which he himself will prepare as he promised in his Gospel.

Chiara Lubich.


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