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May 1999

Those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them. (John 14:21)

The focus of Jesus' farewell discourse is love: the love of the Father for the Son and our love for Jesus, which means keeping his commandments.

Those who were listening to Jesus would have easily recognised in his words an echo of the book of Wisdom: 'love of her is the keeping of her laws' (Wis. 6:18); 'she (Wisdom) is easily discerned by those who love her' (Wis. 6: 12). And especially in the words 'I will reveal myself to them' there is a particular parallel to Wis. 1:2 where it says that the Lord reveals himself to those who believe in him.

Now the meaning of this month's Word of Life is this: those who love the Son are loved by the Father, and are loved in return by the Son who reveals himself to them.

Those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.

Such a revelation of Jesus, however, requires love. It is unthinkable for a Christian not to have this dynamism, this store of love in their heart. A clock that is not wound, that does not work and does not tell the time, could be said to be no clock at all. Likewise a Christian who is not always striving to love does not deserve the name of Christian.

The reason for this is that all God's commandments can be summed up in one: to love God and to love our neighbour, in whom we see and love Jesus.

Love is not merely sentimentalism but translates into real life, into service of our brothers and sisters, especially those who are beside us, starting from the little things, from the humblest of services.

Charles de Foucauld says: "When you love someone you are most truly in them, you are in them through love, you live in them through love, you do not live in yourself, you are 'detached' from yourself, 'outside' yourself."

And it is because of this love that Jesus' light gains ground in us, according to his promise: "[To] those who love me ... I will reveal myself" (cf. John 14: 21). Love is the source of light: by loving we have a greater understanding of God who is love.

This leads us to love even more and our relationship with our neighbours grows.

So this light, this loving knowledge of God, is the seal and the proof of true love. And we can experience it in various ways, because in each of us light takes on a different colour, a particular shade. But it has similar characteristics in everyone: it enlightens us on what the will of God is, it gives us peace, calm and an ever new understanding of the Word of God. It is a warm light that encourages us to walk along the path of life with ever greater confidence and determination. When the shadows of our existence make our path uncertain, when we even find ourselves at a standstill because of the darkness, this Word of the Gospel will remind us that love makes the light shine and that a concrete gesture of love, even a small one (a prayer, a smile, a word) is enough to give us that small gleam which lets us keep going.

When you go at night on a bicycle with a dynamo for its light, if you stop pedalling you plunge into darkness, but if you start pedalling again the dynamo gives the electricity you need to see your way.

Life is the same. It is enough to set love in motion again, true love, the sort that gives without expecting anything in return, to make faith and hope shine in us again.

Chiara Lubich

 

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