Constant Mutual Love
"Jesus Christ is our peace, he who has made from two peoples one people only. (...)
And he himself, before ascending into Heaven, said to his disciples: “I leave you peace, my peace I give you.”
What is that peace which is given by Christ, and in whose bond the unity of Spirit is preserved?
It is the mutual love with which we try to love each other. (...)
It is what blessed Peter speaks of when he admonishes : “Above all things have a constant mutual charity among yourselves.”
What it does mutual love signify, if not “what is mine is yours”?
That what I mean when I speak about my goods to a person whom I love.
On the other hand, if I love you without being loved by you, or if you love me and I do not love you, we cannot speak of mutual charity, because such cannot be mine alone or yours alone: mutual charity is in common, it cannot be separated from the communion of love.
And as well as being mutual it must be constant, otherwise there can be no bond of peace nor fetter of love. That love is constant which is founded on truth, which is not destroyed by rancour or suspicion, but which is constantly cultivated and fed by mutual acceptance and mutual submission; which is nurtured with delicacy an prudence, lest it decline; which knows no deception. (…)
No one should delude himself on the love of God, no one should deceive himself: he who does not love his neighbour does not love God. (…)
How else can one benefit God than by showering benefits on him in whom He shows Himself to be in need?
Because in Himself God has no need of anything: it is in His members that He requires and receives, is loved or despised.
So it is by loving one’s neighbour, through a bond of peace and a fetter of love, that the love of God and the unity of the Spirit are maintained in us.
He who does not love his neighbour detaches himself from the unity of the Spirit, does not love God and does not live the Spirit of God, but lives his own spirit: he lives for himself, and not for God."
From De vita coenobitica, seu communi, by Baldwin of Ford (1120-1190).
Grant us O Father to feel in our midst the presence of Christ thy Son, the promise of those who are gathered in his name, and ensure that in the spirit of truth and love we may enjoy abundance of light, mercy and peace.
(Collect from the liturgy ‘For a spiritual or pastoral assembly’)
Prepared by the "Focolari Movement"