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April 2001

If you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God (Col. 3: 1)

These words, addressed by St. Paul to the Colossians, tell us that there is a world where true love, full communion, justice, peace, holiness and joy reign; a world where sin and corruption can no longer enter; a world where the will of the Father is perfectly fulfilled. It is the world to which Jesus belongs; the world that he opened up for us with his resurrection after first passing through the harsh trial of the Passion.

Certainly we are called to this world of Christ, but in fact we already belong to it by virtue of our baptism.

But Paul knows that even though we are baptised, and are therefore Ďraised with Jesusí, our presence in this world exposes us to thousands of dangers, temptations, and above all to those "attachments" to which we so easily fall prey if our heart is not in God and in his teachings. We might become attached to things, to people, to relatives, to ourselves, our ideas, health, time, to our rest, studies, work, to consolations or satisfactions. All these things may be good, but they are not God, and so they must not take the first place in our hearts. This is why Paul exhorts us:

If you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.

So what are the "things that are above"? They are the values that Jesus brought on earth and which now distinguish his followers from others. They are love, harmony, peace, forgiveness, fairness, purity, honesty, justice, and so on. They are all the virtues and riches that the Gospel offers. With them, and through them, Christians remain truly risen with Christ and are given an immunity from the false promises of the world, such as consumerism, hedonism, and the "Whatís in it for me?" mentality, which can never really fill our hearts.

But how can we "seek the things that are above" in every day life? How can we keep our hearts anchored in heaven, while living in the midst of the world?

Letís allow ourselves be guided by the thoughts and feelings of Jesus, whose inner gaze was always turned towards the Father and whose life reflected in every moment the law of Heaven, that is the law of love.

If you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

During this month in which we celebrate Easter, one practical way to live this Word is to make sure that everything we do during our day is motivated by the art of loving. Every single action will then become precious and fruitful. For example, let's try to treat everyone that we meet in the same way that we would wish them to treat us, making ourselves one with them by bearing their burdens and sharing their joys.

Letís not wait for others to take the first step towards us when the peace and harmony of our families or our environment is threatened. Letís take the first step ourselves. And because, humanly speaking, all this is not easy, indeed at times it may seem impossible, let us always focus our gaze on high and ask the Risen Lord for the help he will not hesitate to give us.

By looking to the "things that are above" so as to live them on earth, we will be able to bring the kingdom of heaven into the various parts of the world that the Lord has entrusted to us.

Chiara Lubich

 

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