The Building of a Civilization of Love

The third area of commitment that comes with love is that of daily life with its multiple relationships. I am particularly referring to family, studies, work and free time. Dear young friends, cultivate your talents, not only to obtain a social position, but also to help others to “grow”. Develop your capacities, not only in order to become more “competitive” and “productive”, but to be “witnesses of charity”. In addition to your professional training, also make an effort to acquire religious knowledge that will help you to carry out your mission in a responsible way. In particular, I invite you to carefully study the social doctrine of the Church so that its principles may inspire and guide your action in the world. May the Holy Spirit make you creative in charity, persevering in your commitments, and brave in your initiatives, so that you will be able to offer your contribution to the building up of the “civilisation of love”. The horizon of love is truly boundless: it is the whole world!

- Pope Benedict XVI, WYD 2007 MESSAGE, Growing in love each day

3:12. Not as though I had already attained, or were already perfect: but I follow after, if I may by any means apprehend, wherein I am also apprehended by Christ Jesus.
3:13. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended. But one thing I do: Forgetting the things that are behind and stretching forth myself to those that are before,
3:14. I press towards the mark, to the prize of the supernal vocation of God in Christ Jesus.

-St. Paul to Philippians

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

"For you were called for freedom"

Excerpt from 'Word of Life' for July, from the Focolare Movement.

“For you were called for freedom”

How then should we live this Word of Life? Paul himself tells us how: “For you were called for freedom… serve one another through love.” He explains why we must serve with love: “For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Gal 5:13-14).We are free – this is the paradox of love – when we begin to serve others out of love, when, going against our selfish inclinations, we forget ourselves and we focus on the needs of others.We are called to the liberty of love: we are free to love! Yes, “in order to have freedom, we need to love.”

“For you were called for freedom”

Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan was imprisoned because of his faith and he remained behind bars for thirteen years. During those years, he felt free because he could at least love the prison guards.“When I was put in isolation,” he recounted, “I was watched by five guards: they took turns so that two of them were always with me. Their officers had told them: ‘You will be rotated every two weeks with another group, so that you will not be “contaminated” by this dangerous bishop.’ Later on they changed their minds and said: ‘There will be no more rotations otherwise this bishop will contaminate all the guards.’ “At the beginning the guards hardly ever spoke to me. They only answered ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ It was really a sad situation…. They avoided conversing with me.“One night, this thought came to me: ‘Francis, you are still very rich. You have Christ’s love in your heart; love them as Jesus loved you.’“The next day I began to love them even more, to love Jesus in them, by smiling, offering them a kind word. I began to tell them stories of my travels in other countries…. They then wanted to learn a foreign language: French or English … My guards had become my students!” (Testimony of Hope, Pauline Books and Media, 2000).
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