“Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord God you have an everlasting rock.” (Is 26:4)

By Leticia Magri

The Word of Life we’re aiming to live this month is taken from the book of the prophet Isaiah, a wide-ranging and rich text that is cherished in the Christian tradition. In fact, it contains beloved writings such as the announcement of Emmanuel, “the God with us” (Is 7:14, Mt 1:23), or the figure of the “suffering servant” (Is 52:13–53:12), which forms the background to accounts of Jesus’ passion and death.

This verse is part of a song of thanksgiving that the prophet places on the lips of the people of Israel when, having overcome their terrible ordeal of exile, they finally return to Jerusalem. His words bring hope to the heart, because God’s presence beside Israel is faithful and unwavering as a rock. God himself will sustain every effort made by the people as they rebuild their civil, political and religious life.

While the city believed to be “lofty” will be razed to the ground (Is 26:5) because it was not built according to God’s plan of love, the one built on the rock of his closeness will enjoy peace and prosperity.

How can we overcome the temptation to let ourselves be brought down by the difficulties we face nowadays, which can make us close in on ourselves and cultivate feelings of suspicion and mistrust towards others?

As Christians, the answer is certainly to “rebuild” with courage, first of all by trusting in the relationship with God, who in Jesus became our neighbor as we journey through life, even when we travel along the darkest, narrowest, steepest and most winding pathways.

But this faith does not mean passive waiting. On the contrary, it asks us to be active, creative and responsible protagonists in building a new city founded on the commandment of mutual love. This city has open doors and welcomes everyone; especially “the poor and oppressed” (Is 26:6) who have always been the Lord’s favorites.

As we travel along this path, we are certain to enjoy the companionship of the many men and women who hold dear the universal values of solidarity and the dignity of every person, as well as respect for creation, our common home.

“Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord God you have an everlasting rock.”

In the Spanish village of Aljucer, an entire community is committed to building fraternal relationships based upon open and inclusive forms of participation. They tell us:

“In the summer of 2008, we set up a cultural association, with the aim of carrying out activities of various kinds, both of our own initiative as well as in collaboration with other associations in the area. Our goal was to promote spaces for dialogue and international humanitarian projects.

“For example, every year since the beginning, we have promoted a solidarity dinner for the Fraternity with Africa project, to finance scholarships for young Africans committed to working in their country for at least five years. These are dinners that bring together about 200 people and are supported by shopkeepers and other groups.

“We have also been very happy to work for many years now with another association. Together we organize an annual event that is open to people active in such fields as culture, music, painting and literature, as well as representatives engaged in politics, business and medicine. It is an opportunity for all of them to share experiences from their working lives and the deeper reasons for the choices they have made.”

“Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord God you have an everlasting rock.”

Christmas is approaching. Let us already begin to prepare for it by welcoming Jesus in his Word, which is the rock upon which to build the city for all people, as Focolare founder Chiara Lubich wrote in her Gospel commentary from September 2006.

“Let us be the very embodiment of his word, let us make it our own, let us experience the power it unleashes in us and around us, if we put it into practice.

“Let us fall in love with the Gospel to the point of allowing ourselves to be transformed by it and thus enable it to overflow onto others...

“It will no longer be we who live: Christ will be formed in us. We will be our free from ourselves, from our limitations, from all that enslaves us. In addition, we will see the revolution of love explode—the revolution that Jesus, who is free to live in us, will kindle in society around us.”

Read more:

Chiara Lubich, Only at Night We See the Stars, New City Press: 2002.

Chiara Lubich, The Cry of Jesus Crucified and Forsaken, New City Press: 2001.

Next month:

“Learn to do right; seek justice.” (Is 1:17)