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November 1996

Therefore stay awake for you know neither the day nor the hour. (Matthew 25:13)

The parable of the wise and foolish virgins, which ends with these words, is a warning to be vigilant. It invites us to make good use of the present time as we await our meeting with Jesus, every time that He comes.

There is a key that can help us to understand and live these words. It is love. The oil in the lamps is love. The Bridegroom is Jesus who always comes to us in every moment through His will. It may seem to be sad or beautiful but in reality it is Him. It is His love.

We will only be able to recognise Him, and go out to meet Him, if we remain in His love. We can remain always in His love if we live the present moment. This means doing the little things well and doing all that God asks of us in every moment of our life.

Whoever lives the present is patient, persevering, meek, poor of everything, pure and merciful because he or she possesses love in its highest and most genuine form.

Therefore stay awake for you know neither the day nor the hour.

We can be watchful and spiritually alert by always seeking to love our neighbour. In every relationship we can look for and act upon every opportunity to do works of mercy.

Our role in the world may be that of a father or mother, a farmer or an office worker, an MP or head of state, a student or a labourer. Whatever it may be, we are constantly given direct or indirect opportunities to feed the hungry or to instruct the ignorant, to bear wrongs patiently, to counsel the doubtful and to pray for the living and the dead.

So let’s give this new intention to all the actions that help our neighbours, whoever they may be. Then every day of our life will become a preparation for the eternal day, the day of our final meeting with Jesus.

So then, let us always live as if it were the last day and the last hour.

Therefore stay awake for you know neither the day nor the hour.

Let us love the smile to be given, the job to be done, the car to be driven, the meal to be cooked, the activity to be arranged, the tears to be shed for a brother or sister who is suffering, the instrument to be played, the article or letter to be written, the happy event to be celebrated, or the clothing to be cleaned.

Everything can become an instrument whereby we show our love both to God and to our neighbours. In order to be vigilant we must be rooted in love, or rather we must ‘be love’.

Our destiny is like that of the stars. They exist if they are in motion. If they are not in motion they do not exist. We exist (not in the sense of our physical life but the life of God in us) if we do not stop loving even for a moment. Love sets us in God and God is love.

By living this Word of Life, may every moment, every neighbour, every cross, and every joy, become for us a unique opportunity to go out to meet the Bridegroom with our lamp lit.

Chiara Lubich

 

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The Word of Life is published by the Focolare Movement