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May 2010

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

Love is at the centre of Jesus' farewell discourse: the love of the Father for the Son, our love for Jesus which means keeping his commandments.

Those who were listening to Jesus would have had no trouble recognising in his words an echo of the Book of Wisdom: "love of her is the keeping of her laws" (Ws 6:18) and, "She is easily discerned by those who love her" (Ws 6:12). And especially revealing himself to those who love him finds a parallel in Wisdom 1:2 where it says that the Lord manifests himself to those who believe in him.

Now the sense of this Word of Life is: the Father loves those who love the Son, and the Son in turn loves them and 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 driving force of love in their hearts. A watch doesn't work, doesn't tell the time, and you can say it isn't even a watch, if it has no spring or battery to drive it. It's the same with Christians. If they are not always striving to love, they don't deserve the name of Christian.

The reason for this is that all of Jesus' commandments can be summed up in one: love of God and love of neighbour in whom we recognise and love Jesus.

Love is not just a matter of feelings, but is to be translated into real life, in serving our brothers and sisters, especially those near us, beginning with the little things, the most humble acts of service.

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 of yourself."

It is through this love that the light of Jesus makes its way into our hearts, just as he promised: "To those who love me ... I will reveal myself" (see Jn. 14:21). Love is the source of light. By loving we understand more of God who is love.

This makes us love even more and deepens our relationship with our neighbours.

This light, this loving knowledge of God is therefore the seal, the proof of true love, and we can experience it in various ways, because in each of us the light takes on a different colour, a particular shade. But it has common characteristics: it helps us to understand the will of God, it gives us peace, calm, and an ever new understanding of the Word of God. It's a warm light which encourages us to walk along the way of life with growing confidence and swiftness. When the shadows of our existence make our way unsure, when we even find ourselves blocked by the darkness, this Word of the Gospel will remind us that love makes the light shine and that a concrete act of love, however small (a prayer, a smile, a word), will give us the glimmer we need to go on.

When you ride a bike with a dynamo at night, if you stop pedalling you are plunged into darkness, but as soon as you start pedalling again, the dynamo generates the electricity needed to light your way.

It's the same with life: it's enough to set love in motion again, true love, love that gives without expecting any return, in order to rekindle in us faith and hope.

Chiara Lubich

(First published in May 1999. A commentary was also published in the UK in March 1977, written by Fr. Jonathan Cotton, O.S.B. )

 

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