Word of Life – Jan 2012

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.”

These words of St. Paul to the community at Colossae speak of the existence of a world in which true love reigns, together with full communion, justice, peace, holiness and joy. There, sin and corruption can no longer enter. It is a world where the will of the Father is perfectly fulfilled. It is to this world that Jesus belongs. He opened it up to us by means of his resurrection, by having passed through the arduous trial of his passion.

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.”

St. Paul says we are not only called to Christ’s world but that we already belong to it. Faith tells us that through baptism we are engrafted onto him, and as a re­sult we participate in his life, his gifts, his inheritance and his victory over sin and the forces of evil. We have, in fact, risen with him.

As long as we are on earth, however, our membership in this world of Christ is not full and totally unveiled. It is not yet stable and definite. As long as we live, we will be exposed to a thousand dangers, difficulties and temptations that can cause us to hesitate, slow down on our journey or even detour toward false destinations.

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.”

We can understand, then, the exhortation of the Apostle: “Seek what is above.” Materi­ally you walk this earth, but spiritually you can leave it; give up the rules and passions of the world in order to let the thoughts and sentiments of Jesus guide you in every situation.

“What is above,” in fact, points to the laws of a higher realm, the laws of the kingdom of heaven that Jesus brought on earth and wants us to fulfill here and now.

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.”

How then can we live this Word of Life? It encourages us to not be satisfied with a mediocre life made of half-measures and compromise. It encourages us to conform our lives — with the grace of God — to the laws of Christ.

This Word of Life urges us to live and give witness in society to the values that Jesus brought on earth. It could be a spirit of concord and peace, service to our neighbor, un­derstanding and forgiveness, honesty, justice, integrity in our work, faithfulness, puri­ty, respect for life, and so on.

The possibilities are as vast as life itself, but so as not to re­main in the realm of the ab­stract, let us this month put into practice the law of Jesus that is a kind of synthesis of all the others: to recognize Christ in every neighbor and place ourselves at their service. We will thus prepare ourselves for the final exam of our life.

Chiara Lubich

生活聖言 (2011年12月)


















Word of Life – Dec 2011

“Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths” (Lk 3:4).

The Word of Life, taken from Scripture, is offered each month as a guide and inspiration for daily living.

“Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths”

During this season of Advent we are invited to live a new Word of Life. The Evangelist Luke takes it from the book of Isaiah. The first Christians applied it to John the Baptist, who had preceded Jesus.

The Church, in the period before Christmas, presents us with the figure of John the Baptist, inviting us to rejoice because he is like the messenger announcing the arrival of the king. The time is coming when God will fulfill his promises, forgive sins and grant salvation.

“Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths”

While this Word of Life is an expression of joy, it is also an invitation to a complete and radical change of direction in our life. John the Baptist invites us to prepare the way of the Lord — but what can be the way?

Jesus’ coming was proclaimed by John the Baptist, but before entering public life to begin his ministry Jesus spent some time in the desert. That was his way. In the desert he found profound union with God, but he also encountered temptation, and by experiencing that he made himself one with all of us. He came out victorious.

We see Jesus follow this way again in his death and resurrection. Since Jesus followed his way to the end, he himself has become “the way” for us who are still on the road.

He is the way we must follow in order to fulfill our calling as human beings to enter into full communion with God.

Each of us is called to prepare the way of the Lord who wants to enter into our life; and we must make the paths of our life straight so that he can come in. We have to prepare the way for him, removing every obstacle one by one, such as those arising from our limited way of seeing things, from our weak will.

We need courage to choose between our way and his way for us, between our will and his will, between a program we have thought of (which may or may not turn out) and the one created by his all-powerful love. Once we have made the decision, we have to work at conforming our own stubborn will to his.

How? Those who have become fulfilled Christians, the saints, teach us a good, practical, intelligent method: do it right now. Moment by moment, let us try to remove the obstacles that keep us from doing his will so that it will be no longer our will living in us, but his. In this way we will have lived the Word of Life:

“Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths”

Chiara Lubich

生活聖言 (2011年9月)



















Word of Life – Sept 2011

“But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found” (Lk 15:32).[1]

This passage is found at the end of a well-known parable called “The Prodigal Son.” This parable was told by Jesus to his disciples to demonstrate and manifest the greatness of God’s mercy. It closes an entire chapter of the Gospel of St. Luke in which Jesus narrates two other parables to illustrate the same theme.

One is the episode of the lost sheep. In order to search for that one sheep, the owner left the other ninety-nine in the desert (see Lk 15:4-7).

The other is the story of the lost coin and the joy of the woman when she found it. She calls her friends and neighbors so they may rejoice with her. (see Lk 15:8–10).

“But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.”

These are words of invitation that God addresses to you, and to all those who believe, to rejoice with him, to celebrate and to participate in his joy at the return of the sinner who was first lost and then found again. These words in the parable are addressed by the father to his elder son who shared fully in his life. When this elder son returns home from a hard day’s work, he refuses to enter his house where they are celebrating the return of his brother who had left them to squan­der his inheritance.

The father goes out to his faithful son, just as he went out to his lost son, and tries to convince him to join them. The contrast between the father’s sentiments and those of his elder son is evident: on one side, the father with his immeasurable love and great joy that he wanted everyone to share; and, on the other, the son full of contempt and jealousy toward his brother whom he no longer recognizes as such. He refers to his younger brother, in fact, as “your son … who swallowed up your property with prostitutes” (Lk 15:30).

The love of the father and his joy at the return of his prodigal son serve to emphasize still more the ill feelings felt by the other son who had remained with his father. These ill feelings reveal, however, a cold and — one could say — false relation­ship between this son and the father. We can deduce from the narrative that it is work and the fulfillment of his obligations that matter most to this son; he does not love his father as a son should. Rather, we feel that he obeys his father as a hired worker would obey his boss.

“But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.”

With these words, Jesus points out a dangerous trap that you could fall into: that of a life lived for the sake of appearances, in search of personal perfection which can lead to judging others as less perfect than yourself. As a matter of fact, if you are “attached” to your own perfection, you concentrate on building yourself up to the point of being filled with self-admiration. You act like the son who re­mained at home, who enumerates his merits before his father: “Look, all these years I have served you, and not once did I disobey your orders” (Lk 15:29).

“But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.”

With these words Jesus goes against the attitude of those who see their relationship with God as one based only on the observance of the commandments which is not enough. Jewish tradition is also very clear on this.

In this parable Jesus puts the spotlight on divine Love illustrating the fact that God who is Love takes the first step without considering whether the person deserves it or not, but with the desire that the person be open to establishing an authentic relationship of communion. As one can imagine, the greatest obstacle to God who is Love is precisely the life of those who ac­cumulate actions and deeds while God wants their hearts.

“But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.”

With these words, Jesus invites you to extend the same measureless love that the Father has toward those who stray. Jesus calls you not to judge according to your own standards the love that the Father has for each and every person. In inviting his elder son to share his joy for the return of his long-lost son, the Father also asks from you a change of heart: you should welcome as brothers and sisters even those people for whom you nur­ture sentiments of superiority and even of scorn.

This will work in you a true conversion because it will purge you of your conviction that you are “better.” It will save you from religious narrow-mindedness and allows you to welcome the salvation won by Jesus as a pure gift of God’s love.

Chiara Lubich

生活聖言 (2011年7月)














Word of Life – July 2011

“Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mt 26:41)

These are words that Jesus address­ed to Peter, James and John when he found them overcome by sleep dur­ing his agony in Gethsemane. He took these three apostles with him — the same three that had witnessed his transfiguration on Mount Tabor — to have them close to him during that extremely difficult time. This was their opportunity to prepare themselves through prayer together with Jesus, because the events about to take place would be a terri­ble trial for them as well.
“Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

In order to understand these words, we should keep in mind the cir­cumstances in which they were said. What Jesus was giving his disciples was more than words of advice. We should see these words as reflecting his state of mind, that is, how he was prepar­ing himself for the trial.

Facing his imminent passion, he prayed with all his soul, wrestled with the fear and horror of his death and totally entrusted himself to the love of the Father so that he might be faith­ful to God’s will to the end and help his apostles to do the same.

We see Jesus here as the model for all those who must face trials and, at the same time, the brother who stands by our side in those difficult times.
“Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Jesus often gave exhortations to be vigilant. For him, to be on guard meant not to ever let ourselves be over­come by spiritual “sleepiness.” It meant to be always ready to welcome the will of God, to discern its signs in everyday life and above all to be able to see difficulties and sufferings in the light of God’s love.

Vigilance and prayer are inseparable, because prayer is indispensable for overcoming trials. The fragility of human nature (“the flesh is weak”) can be overcome by the power coming from the Spirit.
“Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

How then should we live this month’s passage? We too should ready ourselves to meet trials: the small and big ones of each day. They are the trials which we cannot help but en­counter from one day to the next. Now the first condition for overcom­ing a trial, any trial, Jesus advises, is to be on guard, to “watch.” It is a matter of discerning, of realizing, that God per­mits them not to discourage us, but so we can grow spiritually as we over­come them.

And at the same time we must pray. Prayer is necessary because there are two particular temptations to which we are vulnerable in these moments. One is to think we can go it alone. The other is the opposite feeling, that is, the fear of not making it, as if the trial were greater than our strength. Jesus instead assures us that our heavenly Father will not leave us without the power of the Holy Spirit if we stay on guard and we ask him with faith.

Chiara Lubich

生活聖言 (2011年6月)

「你們不可與此世同化,反而應以更新的心思變化自己,為使你們能辨別什麼是天主的旨意,什麼是善事,什麼是悅樂天主的事,什麼是成全的事。」 (羅12:2)










Word of Life – June 2011

“Do not conform yourself to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Rm 12:2)

This word of life is found in the second part of Saint Paul’s letter to the Romans. The apostle is describing the actions of a Christian as the expression of the new life — real love, real joy and real freedom — that God has given to us. It is Christian life understood as a new way of facing the various situations and problems encountered in everyday life with the light and the strength of the Holy Spirit.

In this verse, which is closely connected to the preceding one, the apostle describes the goal and underlying attitude that should characterize our behavior, that is, to make of our lives a song of praise to God, an act of love carried out across time in the constant quest of his will, of what is most pleasing to him.

“Do not conform yourself to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.”

It is clear, of course, that in order to carry out the will of God we need to know it. Saint Paul infers, however, that is not always easy. It is not possible to fully grasp the will of God without a special insight to help us discern what God wants from us and avoid the illusions and errors that we could easily fall into.

This particular gift of the Holy Spirit is called “discernment.” It is indispensable to us if we want to acquire an authentic Christian mentality.

“Do not conform yourself to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.”

How can we acquire and allow this important gift to mature in us? Undoubtedly we need to know the tenets of our faith well.

But that is not enough. Saint Paul affirms that it is above all a matter of living in a certain way, that is, it is a question of generosity, of determination in living the Scriptures, because it implies setting aside one’s fears, uncertainties and mediocrity. It is a question of availability and readiness to carry out the will of God. This is the way to acquire the light of the Holy Spirit and achieve the new mentality asked of us here.

“Do not conform yourself to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.”

How then can we live this month’s word of life? By trying to merit that light that is so necessary for carrying out the will of God well.

Let us resolve, then, to know his will as it is expressed in his Word, in the teachings of the Church, in the duties required by our state of life and so on.

Let us remember, however, the great importance of living our faith. As we have just seen, true light comes from living as we should and from loving. Jesus manifests himself to those who love him by putting his commandments into practice (cf Jn 14:21).

We will then be able to do the will of God and, by doing so, offer him the most beautiful gift we can. It will be pleasing to him not only because of the love that it expresses, but also because it will spread around us much light and a spirit of Christian renewal.

Chiara Lubich

生活聖言 (2011年5月)