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July 2001

You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you. (Psalm 16(15):2)

St ThťrŤse of Lisieux said that it is better to speak with God than to speak of God, because in our conversations with others there is always the danger of bringing in self-love. She is right, but if we are to reveal God to others we also need to speak of him.

In any case, it is certain that before everything else we should love God with that special love which is the foundation of Christian life and which is expressed through prayer and by doing his will. So we should indeed speak with those around us, but first of all we need to speak with God.

But how should we speak? We can say the simple prayers that every Christian says, but by saying some very brief prayers throughout the day we can make sure that our hearts are truly centred on him: that he is the ideal of our life, that he really does have the first place in our hearts, and that we sincerely love him with all our strength. I am referring to those short prayers that are especially recommended to those who are in the midst of the world and who do not have the time to say long prayers. These prayers are like 'burning arrows of love' that shoot out from our hearts towards God. They give us a magnificent way to focus our hearts on God. 

In this month's Roman Catholic Liturgy we find a short verse that we can use as a very beautiful prayer. It says:

You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.

Lord, I have no good apart from you. Letís try to repeat this during the day, especially when circumstances try to attract our hearts towards things, people or ourselves. Letís say: "'You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.' Not that thing, not that person, not even myself Ė You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you."

Letís try to repeat it when agitation or haste would tempt us to do something that is not the will of God in the present moment: "'You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.' My good, therefore, is what you want, not what I want."

When curiosity, self-love or the thousand attractions of the world get in the way of our relationship with God, letís say to him with all our heart, "'You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.' You are my only good, and not the satisfaction of my greed or pride."

Letís try to repeat it often. Letís try to repeat it when shadows darken our soul or when suffering knocks at our door. It will help us to prepare for our encounter with him.

You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.

These simple words will help us to trust in him and train us to live in the constant company of Love. By being more united to God and filled with his presence, we will continually lay the foundations of our true being as his image and likeness.

Everything in our life will flow in the right direction. Then, when we speak, our words will not be just words, or worse still, empty chatter; they will be like burning arrows capable of opening the hearts of others to accept Jesus. So let us take every opportunity to pronounce these simple words. At the end of the day we will find that they are like a medicine, a tonic for our souls. St Catherine of Sienna would say that they transformed our heart into a glowing flame.

Chiara Lubich

 

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