"Be Ready for the Test of Love"
by Amalia Quiroga

"Give, and it will be given to you" (Lk 6:38): how consoling and also how challenging these words of Jesus are for us who live in the community of believers. It is interesting also to look at the context in which we find them in the Gospel. They come after the Beatitudes, the "new" teaching that shows what kind of people truly live by God's love – people who love even their enemies. The verse that brings us these words ends with a fascinating affirmation: "the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given back."

It shows us the measure we ought to use in giving: one with which we cannot go wrong, because it is the measure used by God himself, set by the stature of his power, his mercy, and his faithfulness. And that measure is Love. Love with a capital L, utterly free of cautious calculations, disinterested love that looks only for the good of our sisters and brothers and helps them to grow in the sight of God and of all.

We are called to be living examples of this kind of love, no matter what the way of the world may be at the moment. The world tries to persuade us that love doesn't exist, that we are individuals trying to make out, each one for himself, and that the our universe revolves merely around what we ourselves want.

How is it possible to live the kind of love that Jesus shows us? I believe it is fundamentally a matter of abandoning ourselves like little children, entrusting ourselves completely into God's hands.

We learn to know what love is when we allow the Holy Spirit to "play" us – like musical instruments – bringing forth the sounds and the silences that together produce the melody of love. It is the Spirit of Christ, always at work within us, who makes it possible for us to be, all together, our risen Lord singing his own melody in all the various needs and duties in which we find ourselves.

We are called to be a leaven in the world, making our world rise to believe that Jesus has come to bring us his Kingdom of justice, peace and love. He, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, is looking for followers who continue to bear witness as he did, living his message of new life, a message that cannot be reduced merely to an inward, private kind of piety but that rather expresses unmistakably in the way we behave the two dimensions of the Cross: the vertical dimension, an intense, personal relationship with God in contemplation; and the horizontal, which embraces all the needs and all the expectations of our fellow human beings. God calls us, and his Spirit enables us, with generous hearts to bear witness to them all of God's love for them all.

The parable of the talents (see Matt. 25:14 ) reminds us that each one of us has received a variety of good things from God: life, health, charisms: every inward grace, physical and material good thing we have experienced in our life so far. God has entrusted these values to our care, so that we can invest them, work with them, for the building up of his Kingdom. When we share with our sisters and brothers and in that way use our 'talents' for the good of others, they are multiplied enormously, for ourselves as well as for all.

We need to accept the challenge of our times, and really commit ourselves to the service of our sisters and brothers, our "treasure" (see Lk 12:34). If we do that, we will be transforming the society around us, as the early Christian community in Jerusalem did – so that everyone could see that they were "united, heart and soul" (Acts 4:32). And, as we are speaking of sharing the good things we are given, enjoying them together, let me share with you something that came to me not long ago, that I believe draws out and explains well all that we have been saying.

Of some things given me, God will not expect me to give any account. Of others, he will certainly expect me to give account, "in the nightfall of my life" when I will be called to undergo "the test of love" (St John of the Cross, from Words of light and love, Advice and suggestions 59):

The Lord will not ask me how many square meters the size of my house, but "how many brothers and sisters in need have you welcomed into it?"

He will not ask me about the car I drive, but "to how many people did you give a lift?"

He will not ask me what brandlabels are on the clothes I have in my wardrobes, but "to how many people have you helped to clothe themselves?"

He will not ask me how much I earn, but "how faithful are you to My Word in giving your tithe?"
He will not ask me what degrees or diplomas I have earned, but "have you done your best to make progress, to pass the test, to 'be there'for those around you?"

He will not ask me how many friends I have. but "how many looked upon you as a real sister, a real brother, when you reached out, always attentive to them in their need?"

He will not ask me where I live, but "what kind of witness were you to the Son of God in the way you treated others, and what kind of responsibility did you take for your neighbor?"

He will not ask me about the colour of my skin, but "at heart how genuine were you when you came in contact with others whose color, race, culture, beliefs, were different from yours?"

He will not ask me why I did not respond from the very beginning to the Father's love for me, but rather, whether I want to live forever in his presence, and together with all my sisters and brothers enjoy his love eternally!

And, when time is ended, may we, every one, hear ourselves called by name and invited by the Master: "Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome, naked and you clothed me, sick or in prison and you came to see me" (Matt 25:3436.

Amalia Quiroga, from Argentina, is a leader in the Community Convivencias con Dios, at present assisting in the ICCRS office in Rome. This article appeared first in Venite e Vedrete, official magazine serving the Renewal in the Holy Spirit and Catholic Covenant Communities in Italy. Translated and published with permission.

Article from National Newsletter of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in South Africa – May-June 2008 Edition – with permission.

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