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Word of Life (03/2010)


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sa kanyab]The Word of Life, taken from Scripture, is offered each month as a guide and inspiration for daily living. From the Focolare’s beginnings, Chiara Lubich wrote her commentaries on each Word of Life, and after her death in March 2008, her early writings are now being featured once again. This commentary, addressed to a primarily Christian audience, was originally published in September 1979

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Word of Life (03/2010)

  1. 1. Word of Life March 2010
  2. 2. How often in life have you felt the need for somebody to give you a hand, and at the same time realized that nobody can help you in your situation!
  3. 3. It is then that you unconsciously turn to Someone who can make the impossible possible. This Someone has a name: he is Jesus. Listen to what he tells you:
  4. 4. “ Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (Mt 17:20)
  5. 5. Obviously, the expression "to move mountains" is not to be taken literally. Jesus did not promise his disciples the power to perform spectacular miracles simply to amaze the crowds.
  6. 6. In fact, if you look through the whole history of the Church you will not find a saint - as far as I know - who literally moved mountains by his faith. Gianna Beretta Molla Pier Giorgio Frassati Chiara Luce
  7. 7. The expression "to move mountains" is a hyperbole, that is a rhetorical exaggeration, intended to instill into the minds of the disciples the fact that, with faith, nothing is impossible.
  8. 8. The purpose of every miracle that Jesus performed, directly or through his followers, was always to further the kingdom of God or the Gospel, or the salvation of mankind. Moving mountains would not serve this purpose.
  9. 9. The comparison with the "mustard seed" is used to show that what Jesus requires of you is not a great amount of faith, but an authentic faith. The characteristic of an authentic faith is that it is rooted solely in God and not on one's own strength.
  10. 10. If you are assailed by doubts or reservations about your faith, then that means that your faith in God is not yet authentic. It means that you have a faith which is feeble and somewhat ineffective, which is still anchored upon human strength and human logic.
  11. 11. The one who trusts entirely in God lets God himself act and… to him nothing is impossible. The faith that Jesus wants from his disciples is a totally trusting attitude which enables God to manifest his power.
  12. 12. And this faith which is able to move mountains is not reserved for certain exceptional people. All believers are duty bound to allow God to manifest his power in their lives.
  13. 13. “ Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."
  14. 14. It is traditionally believed that Jesus said these words to his disciples when he was about to send them out on their mission.
  15. 15. To get discouraged and frightened is easy when you know that you are a small, unprepared flock, with no particular talents, faced with a great crowd of people to whom you must carry the truth of the Gospel.
  16. 16. You lose heart because you realize that you are facing people whose interests are entirely different from the kingdom of God. It seems an impossible task.
  17. 17. It is then that Jesus assures his disciples that by faith they will “move mountains” of indifference and of apathy in the world. If they have faith, nothing will be impossible for them.
  18. 18. On the other hand, this expression can be applied to all of life’s circumstances, as long as these further the progress of the Gospel and the salvation of people.
  19. 19. At times, when we are confronted with insurmountable difficulties, we might even be tempted not to turn to God. Human logic says to us, “Give up; it's no use anyway.” It is here that Jesus exhorts us not to be discouraged, but to turn to God with trust. In one way or another he will answer us.
  20. 20. That is what happened to Lella. Some months had passed since the day when, full of hope, she first reported to her new job in Belgium among the Flemish-speaking people. But now a sense of dismay and loneliness had taken hold of her heart.
  21. 21. It was as though between her and the girls with whom she lived and worked, an insurmountable barrier had been erected. She felt isolated and estranged among those people whom she wanted only to serve with love.
  22. 22. It was all because she had to speak a language which was neither hers nor those to whom she was speaking with. They had told her that everybody spoke French in Belgium and she had learned it. But coming in direct contact with those people she realized that the Flemish people studied French only in school and in general spoke it unwillingly.
  23. 23. Many times she had tried to move this mountain of segregation that kept her apart from others, but in vain. What could she do for them?
  24. 24. She could still see before her the face of her companion Godeliève, full of sadness. That evening Godeliève went up to her room without touching her supper. Lella tried to follow her, but she stopped in front of the door, timid and scared. She wanted to knock... but what words should she use to make herself understood? She remained there for a few seconds, then she gave up.
  25. 25. Next morning she went to church and stayed at the back behind the last pews, her face burried in her hands so that no one would notice her tears. It was the only place where no other language needed to be spoken, where no explanations were required, because there was Someone who understood beyond words. With the certainty of being understood, she gathered courage and, her soul in anguish, she asked Jesus: “ Why can I not share the cross of the other girls and tell them what you yourself have made me understand when I found you: that every suffering is love?"
  26. 26. There she was in front of the tabernacle, almost expecting an answer from him who had brought light into every darkness of her life. She turned her eyes to the Gospel of the day and read: "Trust - have faith - I have conquered the world." These words were like balm on Lella's soul, and she felt a great peace.
  27. 27. When she went back for breakfast, she met Annj, the girl who did the housecleaning. She greeted Annj and followed her into the storeroom; then, without a word she started to help her prepare breakfast. The first person to come down from the room was Godeliève. She came to the kitchen for a cup of coffee, quite in a hurry to avoid seeing anyone. But there, she stopped; Lella's peace had touched her soul in a manner stronger than any word.
  28. 28. That evening, on the way home, Godeliève pedaled her bicycle beside Lella's, and trying to speak in a way Lella would understand, she whispered, “Your words are not necessary; today your life told me: love means more than words.” The mountain had been moved!
  29. 29. “ Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." Text by Chiara Lubich