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July 2006

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. (Ps 145:18)

God’s embrace is universal. It envelops the whole universe and is attentive to the smallest of his creatures. The poem, the Psalm, that contains this Word of Life is a heartfelt hymn to God who is ‘abounding in love’, who reaches out to all living beings, drawn by their needs.

It pictures every living being in an attitude of prayer, calling upon God for food, and with it all the other necessities of life; and God generously opens his hands. He takes care of each one, supports the weak and those who are at risk of falling. (see Ps 145: 14) He leads the lost back to the right path.

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

This is not a God who is absent, distant or indifferent to the fortunes of humanity, nor to the lot of each one of us. We often experience this nearness. But it is also true to say that at times we can have the impression that he is far from us, and we feel alone, insecure, lost in the face of situations that seem to overwhelm us.

And then: within us feelings of rebellion, dislike – if not hatred – towards one or other of our neighbours. We feel the burden of situations that have gone on for years in the family or in the workplace: lacking trust to a greater or lesser extent, jealousy, envy, tyranny. Or we find ourselves suffocated by a world hardened by passions and ambition, devoid of values, justice and hope. ‘Lord, where are you?’ our heart seems to cry. ‘Do you really love me? Do you really love us? Then why all this?’

And then this Word of Life revives a certainty within us: we are never alone in our human adventure.

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

It is an invitation to revive our faith: God exists and he loves me. I can and must reaffirm this with every action, in the face of every situation: God loves me. Have I met someone? I have to believe that God has something to tell me through that person. Am I busy working? In that moment, I can continue to have faith in his love. Some suffering comes? I still believe God loves me. Does joy come? God loves me.

God is here with me, always. God knows everything about me, shares my every thought, my every joy, my every desire, and bears with me every worry, every difficulty of my life.

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

How can we revive this conviction? Here are some suggestions.

As he himself says: by calling on him! The Lord was already on Peter’s boat when the storm began, but the disciples felt alone and defenceless because he was asleep. They called out to him saying: ‘Lord, save us! We are perishing!’ (Mt 8: 25) and he calmed the wind and the sea.

Jesus himself, on the cross, no longer felt his Father close by. He called on him with the most heartrending prayer: ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ (Mt 27: 46) He believed in his Father’s love and abandoned himself again to him, and he raised him from the dead. How else can we revive our faith in his presence?

By seeking him in our midst. He promised to be present where two or more are gathered in his name (cf. Mt. 18: 20). So let’s get together in mutual love with others who live the Word of Life. Let’s share our experiences of putting it into practice and we will discover the fruits of his presence: joy, peace, light, courage.

He will stay with each of us and we will feel him close by and at work in our daily lives.

Chiara Lubich


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The Word of Life is published by the Focolare Movement