Have you ever felt an all- consuming desire to embrace immensity?
Or perhaps: you have sensed in the depths of your heart dissatisfaction with what you do, with who you are ?
If so, you will be happy to have a formula that will give you the fullness that you long for: something that does not leave regret for days: that drift away half empty...
There is a word of the gospel that sets us thinking and, once we understand it a bit, it will make us jump for joy. Summing up all that we should do in life, it recapitulates all the laws that God has inscribed in the depths of every human heart. Listen to it:
“Do to others as you would have them do to you, for this is the law and the prophets.” (Mt 7,12). “Do to others as you would have them do to you, for this is the law and the prophets.” (Mt 7,12).
It was known to Seneca and in the Orient, the Chinese thinker Confucius taught it. It was introduced by Christ, even though it was universally known. The Old Testament included it. So did others. This tells us how close it is to God’s heart: how he wants all people to make it the basic rule of their lives.
Listen to it again: Pleasing to the ear, it sounds like a slogan.
“ Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
Let us love every neighbor we meet during the day in this way. Let us imagine we are in another’s situation, treating them as we would want to be treated if we were in their place.
The voice of God within us will suggest how we can express our love in a way suitable for every situation.
Are they hungry? I too am hungry – let us think. And we give them something to eat.
. Are they in darkness and doubt? I am too. And we offer words of comfort and share their suffering: we don’t give up until we find light and relief. We would want to be treated in the same way.
Do they have a disability? I will love them till I can feel in my own heart and body the same infirmity. Love will suggest to me how I can help them feel equal to others, for indeed they have an extra grace, because as Christians we know the value of suffering.
And the list continues, without any distinction between those whom we find pleasant and those whom we do not, between young and old, friend or enemy, fellow citizen or stranger, beautiful or ugly... The gospel includes everyone.
I seem to hear whispers of dissent... I understand... perhaps I appear to over simplify, but what a change these words demand from us! How far removed they are from our usual way of thinking and acting!
So take courage! Let’s try it. One day spent like this is worth a lifetime. At the end of the day we will no longer recognize ourselves.
A joy we have never felt before will overwhelm us. A new power will fill us. God will be with us, because he is with those who love.
The days that follow will be full. We may slacken from time to time, or be tempted by discouragement and want to stop. We may want to go back to living as before...
But no! Take courage! God is giving us his grace. Let us always begin again. By persevering we will see the world around us slowly change.
We will realize that the gospel brings a more interesting life—it gives light to the world, lends flavor to our existence and carries in itself the principle for resolving all our problems.
We will not be satisfied until we have communicated our extraordinary experience to others: to our friends who can understand, to our relatives, to anybody we feel the urge to share it with. Hope will be born anew.
“Do to others as you would have them do to you. Text by Chiara Lubich