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    red grapes in a bowl

    Let Yourself Be Eaten

    Put yourself at the service of your neighbors.

    By Chiara Lubich

    July 14, 2024

    If we are united, Jesus is among us. And this has value. It is worth more than any other treasure that our heart may possess, more than mother, father, brothers, sisters, children. It is worth more than our house, our work, or our property; more than the works of art in a great city like Rome; more than our business deals; more than nature which surrounds us with flowers and fields, the sea and the stars; more than our own soul.

    It is Jesus who, inspiring his saints with his eternal truths, leaves his mark upon every age. This too is his hour. Not so much the hour of a saint but of him, of him among us, of him living in us as we build up – in the unity of love – his mystical body, the Christian community.

    But we must enlarge Christ, make him grow in other members, become like him bearers of fire. Make one of all and in all, the One. It is then that we live the life that he gives us, moment by moment, in charity.

    red grapes in a bowl

    The basic commandment is brotherly love. Everything is of value if it expresses sincere fraternal charity. Nothing we do is of value if there is not the feeling of love for our brothers and sisters in it. For God is a father, and in his heart he has always and only his children.

    However many neighbors you meet throughout your day, from morning to night, in all of them see Jesus. If your eye is simple, the one who looks through it is God. God is love, and love seeks to unite by winning over.

    If we are united, Jesus is among us.

    How many people, in error, look at creatures and things in order to possess them! It may be a look of selfishness or of envy, but whatever the case, it is one of sin. Or people may look within their own selves, and be possessive of their own souls, their faces lifeless because they are bored or worried. The soul, because it is an image of God, is love, and love that turns in on itself is like a flame that, because it is not fed, dies out.…

    Out of love for Jesus, let your neighbors possess you. Like another Eucharist, let yourself “be eaten” by your neighbors. Put your entire self at their service, which is service to God, and your neighbors will come to you and love you. The fulfillment of God’s every desire lies in fraternal love, which is found in his commandment: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another” (John 13:34).

    From Called to Community: The Life Jesus Wants for His People chapter thirty-one.

    Chiara Lubich, Essential Writings: Spirituality, Dialogue, Culture (New York: New City Press, 2007), 102, 80–81.

    Contributed By ChiaraLubich Chiara Lubich

    Chiara Lubich, the founder and spiritual leader of the Focolare movement, was born Silvia Lubich in Italy.

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