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

Monday, February 11, 2008

Word of life February 2008

“Whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:19).

February 2008
Jesus, surrounded by crowds of people, went up the mountain to give his famous sermon. His first words, “Blessed are the poor in spirit ... Blessed are the meek,” already signaled the novelty of the message he had come to bring. They are words of life, words of light and hope that Jesus entrusted to his disciples to enlighten them and give their lives zest and meaning. Transformed by this great message, they were invited to transmit to others the teachings they received and to put them into life.

“Whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Today our society, more than ever before, needs to know the words of the Gospel and let itself to be transformed by them. Jesus must be able to repeat once again: do not become angry with your neighbors; forgive, and you will be forgiven; tell the truth, to the point of having no need to take an oath; love your enemies; recognize that we have only one Father and are all brothers and sisters; do to others as you would have them do to you. This is the sense of some of the many words from the Sermon on the Mount. If they were lived out, it would be enough to change the world.
Jesus invites us to proclaim his Gospel. But before we “teach” his words, he asks us to “obey” them. In order to be credible, we should become experts in the Gospel, a living Gospel. Only then will we be able to witness to it with our lives and teach it with our words.

“Whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

How can we live these words? The best way is to allow Jesus himself to teach us, drawing him to us and among us through our reciprocal love. He will suggest the right words to use when approaching people; he will show us how to open passageways into our neighbor’s heart, so that we can witness to him wherever we are, even in the most difficult environments and in the most complicated situations. We will see the world change: that small part of the world where we live will be so transformed that we will find harmony, understanding and peace. What is important is to maintain his presence among us through our mutual love, to be docile in listening to his voice—the voice of our conscience that always speaks to us if we know how to silence other voices.
He will teach us to obey even the smallest laws with joy and creativity, so as to polish our life of unity to perfection. May it be said of us one day as it was of the first Christians: “Look how they love one another and how they are ready to die for one another.” As our relationships are renewed by love, the Gospel will be seen as capable of generating a new society.
We cannot keep the gift we received for ourselves. We are called to repeat with Paul: “Woe to me if I do not preach [the Gospel]!” (1 Cor 9:16). If we let ourselves be guided by our inner voice, we will discover ever-new possibilities to communicate, speak, write and dialogue. May the Gospel shine forth again, through us personally, in our homes, cities and nations. New life will flourish in us; joy will expand in our hearts; the risen Lord will shine forth with greater beauty; and he will consider us among the “greatest in the kingdom.”
The life of Ginetta Calliari demonstrates this in an outstanding way. When she arrived in Brazil in 1959 with the first group of focolarini, she was shocked at seeing the results of the country’s deep inequalities. She was determined to put reciprocal love before all else and the words of Jesus into practice. She said, “He will open the way for us.” As time passed, a community came to life and grew, a community that now numbers hundreds of thousands of people of every social class and age, inhabitants of the shanty towns and members of the well-to-do classes, people who put themselves at the service of those most in need. They have become a small and united people who continue to show that the Gospel message is true. This is the dowry that Ginetta brought with her when she left for heaven.
Chiara Lubich
(1) Tertullian, Apology, 39:7