January 1996

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

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me" (Rev. 3:20)

These words can be found in the Book of Revelation, Jesus addressed them, through John the Apostle, to the Church of Laodicea, and throughout the centuries Christians have felt that they have been addressed to them. From the first day of his pontificate, John Paul II has exhorted us: "Open the doors to Christ!"

It's an invitation to open wide our hearts to the only one who can fill them with joy. The metaphor, "dinner for two," conveys, in fact, the idea of the abundance of joy and of every other good that comes from union with God.

But when and how does Jesus speak to each one of us today? How is it possible, in the midst of so many voices and so much noise, to recognize his voice and to open the doors of our heart to him?

First of all, we need to silence the other voices, the ones that disturb us, that worry and deceive us. But this is not enough. We need to tune in to God's voice and we can do this by deciding to love: by making true, Christian love our lifestyle. Then we will be able to hear his gentle voice, which cannot be confused with any other because it is the only one that gives peace and security, that encourages and enlightens us.

There are also moments that are especially difficult and painful, when there is silence and darkness within and outside of ourselves. They are moments in which only sheer faith in his love enables us to believe that he is still there, always at the door knocking. And he is waiting. He is waiting for a gesture of love on our part. If we are able to embrace that small or not so small suffering which is the countenance, the disguise in which he presents himself, then beyond the suffering we will find love and the joy of being with him.

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me"

They are words which remind us to listen constantly to his voice.

But how can we do it, immersed as we are in acivities that consume all our energy and attention? It is enough to do this: at the beginning of a day of work, or when we are about to devote ourselves to something demanding in the family, at school, in the office, let us tell him with complete trust: "I want to meet you in those persons, in that situation. I want to open the door of my heart to you, to you alone!"

Then each day each conversation, each commitment will take on another dimension, another "flavor," that of an encounter with Jesus who secretly inundates us with the joy and light of his presence.

In fact, Jesus revealed to us his own way, his "secret" for living this Word of Life. It is his presence in our brothers or sisters. Thus every neighbor we meet gives us an opportunity to open the door and communicate with him.

In reality, it is Jesus who welcomes us and who fills us with his gifts. So then, perhaps at the end of a whole day spent in listening and giving to Jesus in our neighbor, we will feel our hearts overflowing with a pure and profound joy.

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me"

As we celebrate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity during this month, whose theme this year are these very words of Jesus, he is at the door knocking, asking us again and always to recompose the visible and full unity of the Church. Let's listen then to his voice and commit ourselves to reaching full communion among the Churches.

Living these words will bring us closer to the day of reconciliation of all Christians. It will be an anticipation already here on earth of that dinner in which we will all be reunited around him, that dinner and table which he himself prepares for us as he promised in his Gospel.

Chiara Lubich