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June 2010
(First published in July 1981, then June 1999)

Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. (Mt 10:39).

On reading these words of Jesus, two kinds of life stand out: earthly life, which is built in this world, and supernatural life, which is given by God through Jesus and is a life that does not end with death and which no one can take from us.

Faced with our own existence, there are two attitudes we can have. One is to be attached to earthly life, considering it our only 'good'. This leads us to think only of ourselves, our own issues, the things of this world. We close ourselves in our shell, affirming only our ego, finding at the end of it all, inevitably, only death. Or, on other hand, believing that we have received a much deeper and truer existence from God, we can have the courage to live up to this gift, even to the point of knowing how to sacrifice our earthly life for the other life.

Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.

When Jesus said these words he was thinking of martyrdom. Like every Christian, we have to be ready to follow the Master and stay faithful to the Gospel, to lose our lives, dying, if needs be, even a violent death. With that, by God's grace, we will be given true life. Jesus was the first who 'lost his life', and he regained it glorified. He warned us not to be afraid of those who 'kill the body but cannot kill the soul' (Mt 10:28). Today he says:

Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.

If you read the Gospel carefully, you will see that Jesus goes back to this thought as many as six times. This shows how important it is and how much Jesus values it.

But Jesus does not only see urging us to be ready to lose our life as an invitation to accept martyrdom. It is a key law of the Christian life.

We must be ready to give up making our own self the ideal of our life and to give up our own self-centred independence. If we want to be true Christians we must make Christ the centre of our existence. And what does Christ want from us? Love for others. If we make our own this plan he has for us, we will certainly lose ourselves and find life.

This attitude of not living for oneself is certainly is not a matter, as some might think, of giving in to things and being passive. Christians always have a strong commitment and their sense of responsibility is total.

Even during our time on this earth we can experience that in giving ourselves, in love lived out, life grows in us. When we spend our day at the service of others, when we transform our work, which may be dull and hard, into an expression of love, we will have the joy of being more fulfilled.

By following Jesus' commandments, which are all centred on love, after this brief life, we will find eternal life as well.

Let's remember what Jesus' judgement will be on the Last Day. He will say to those on his right: 'Come, you that are blessed ... for I was hungry and you gave me food ... I was a stranger and you welcomed me, was naked and you gave me clothing ...' (Mt 25: 34-36).

To make us sharers of the existence that does not pass away, he will only look to see whether we have loved our neighbours, and he will consider as done to himself whatever we have done to them.

How can we live this Word? How can we, from this very day, lose our life to find it? Christ presents himself to us in our children, our wife or our husband, the other people at work, in our political party, in our moments of leisure, and so on. Let's do good to all. And let's not forget those we come to know about every day through the newspaper or through friends or through the media... Let's do something for everyone, according to what we can. And when it seems to us we have done everything possible, we can still pray for them. Love is what counts.

Chiara Lubich

 

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