November 1996

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

"Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour" (Mt. 25:13)

These words conclude the parable of the wise and foolish virgins which is a warning to be vigilant, an invitation to take full advantage of the present time as we await our encounter with Jesus, every encounter with him.

There is a key which can help us to understand and live these words. It is love.

The oil of the lamps is love and the Bridegroom is Jesus who comes to us always, every moment in his will, which might appear to us as sad or pleasant but which, in reality, is him, his love.

Only if we remain in this love will we be able to recognize him and go out to meet him. And what makes it possible for us to remain in this love always is to live the persent, doing well what we have to do, doing all that God asks of us in every moment of our life.

Those who live the present are patient, persevering, meek, poor of everything, pure and merciful because they possess love in its highest and most genuine expression.

"Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour"

In addition, we are watchful and spiritually awake if we always seek to love our neighbor, if in every relationship we see an opportunity to live the works of mercy.

Whatever our role in the world - as fathers or mothers, farmers or office workers, elected officials or heads of state, students or skilled workers - throughout the day there are constant opportunities, direct or indirect, to feed the hungry, to instruct the ignorant, to forgive and bear wrongs patiently, to counsel the doubtful, to pray for the living and the dead.

Let us give a new intention to all our actions in favor of our neighbor, whoever it may be, and every day of our life will serve to prepare us for the eternal day, that of our final encounter with Jesus. So then, why not live always as if it were the last day and the last hour we have?

"Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour"

Let us love that smile to be given, that work to be carried out, that car to be driven, that meal to be prepared, that activity to be organized, that tear shed for our brother or sister who is suffering, that instrument to be played, that article or letter to be written, that happy event to be celebrated with others, that dress to be cleaned...Everything, everthing can help us express our love for God and neighbor. Therefore, to be vigilant, it is necessary to be rooted in love, indeed, "to be love."

Our destiny is like that of the stars. They exist if they are in motion; if they are not in motion, they do not exist. we exist - not in the sense of our physical life, but of the life of God in us - if we do not stop loving even for a moment. Love fixes us in God and God is Love.

May every moment, every neighbor, every cross, every joy be for us - by living this Word of Life - a unique opportunity to go out to meet the Bridegroom with our lamps lit.

Chiara Lubich