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Word. of. Life. December 2007. “Love is the fulfillment of the law” (Rom 13:10). These words conclude a large section of the letter to the Romans in which Saint Paul presents the Christian life as a life of love for our brothers and sisters.

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Life

Word

of

Life

December 2007


Life

“Love is the fulfillment of the law” (Rom 13:10).


Life

These words conclude a large section of the letter to the Romans in which Saint Paul presents the Christian life as a life of love for our brothers and sisters.


Life

This is, in fact, the new spiritual worship that a Christian is called to offer to God under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who first elicits this love in people’s hearts.


Life

Summing up the content of this section, the apostle states that love of neighbor helps us to fully and perfectly do the will of God contained in the Law (that is, in his commandments). Love for our brothers and sisters is the most beautiful, and the most authentic way to show our love for God.


Life

“Love is the fulfillment of the law” (Rom 13:10).


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But concretely speaking, what does this fullness and perfection consist in? One can understand it from the preceding verses, in which the apostle describes the different manifestations and effects of this love.


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First of all, real love of neighbor does no harm. It therefore makes us live all of God’s commandments, without excluding any, since their first objective is to help us avoid any form of evil into which we could possibly fall, for ourselves or our brothers and sisters.


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Besides not doing any evil, this love then urges us to accomplish all the good that our neighbor may need.


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This Word encourages us to have a concrete love that is sensitive to the needs, hopes, and legitimate rights of our brothers and sisters; a love which is respectful of human and Christian dignity; a love that is pure, understanding, able to share, and open to all, as Jesus has taught us.


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This love is impossible if we are not ready to set aside our individualistic and self-sufficient ways. Therefore, living this Word helps us to overcome those egoistic tendencies (pride, greed, lust, ambition, vanity, etc.), that we have within us and which can be our major stumbling block.


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“Love is the fulfillment of the law” (Rom 13:10).


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How then shall we live the Word of Life for December?


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By keeping in mind the different demands of love of neighbor that this Word calls us to meet.

In the first place, we shall avoid any kind of evil against our neighbor.


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We will pay close attention to God’s commandments and how they apply to our calling, our professional life and the environment in which we live.


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The first condition to live out Christian love is never to go against God’s commandments. In addition, we will observe the very spirit, the motivation and aim of all the commandments. Each one of them, as we have noted, wants to nurture a love in us that is increasingly vigilant, ever more delicate and respectful, one that responds ever more concretely to the needs of our neighbors.


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At the same time, we will develop a spirit of greater detachment from ourselves, overcoming our egoism, as a consequence of living Christian love.

This is how we can do the will of God “fully.” We will show him our love in the way which is most pleasing to him.


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“Love is the fulfillment of the law” (Rom 13:10).


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Here’s the experience of a lawyer who works for the Ministry of Labor.

“One day, I reported to a company owner that his employees had not been paid their due wages according to labor laws,” he stated. “After fourteen days of research, I had finally found the documents that proved that he was not fully respecting labor laws. I asked Jesus for the courage to remain faithful to his words which required me to be truthful, but also to be an instrument of his love.


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“The owner, faced with the evidence, defended himself stating that certain laws seemed unjust to him. I then told him that our mistakes are not justified by the fact that others don’t comply with the rules. The conversation which ensued helped me to understand that he also had my same desire for justice and equality, but had allowed himself to be influenced by his surroundings.


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“In the end he said: ‘You could have humiliated and crushed me, but you didn’t do it. That’s why I now have the moral duty to begin anew.’ However, he had a pressing appointment then and there was no time to finalize a violation report. So he took a blank piece of paper and signed it for me, proving that he was quite ready to change.”


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“Love is the fulfillment of the law” (Rom 13:10).

“Word of Life,” monthly publication of the Focolare Movement.

Text by Chiara Lubich

Graphics by Anna Lollo in collaboration with Fr. Placido D’Omina(Sicilia - Italia)


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