To Really See the Very Mystery of Jesus Himself in our Neighbours


If fraternal charity is called to play a major role in this contemplation [outside the cloister], it seems to me that it is to the extent that love-prayer can and must be pursued in those very relations with men in which those who live in the world are constantly involved. Then, in looking at our brothers and listening to them, in being attentive to their problems and having compassion for their afflictions, we will not only strive to love them as Jesus loves them; at the same time a more secret grace will be given to us. If we give them all the attention we can from our hearts, that is not much, to tell the truth; but what counts much more, for us and for our brothers, is the fact that at the same time Jesus’ love for them, which gives them His very heart, is drawing to Him the gaze of our soul and the depths of our heart. Father Voillaume told me once that was truly seeing Jesus in them; and Mother Magdeleine – in a more developed formula, to which I would like to stick – that it came to penetrate, in looking at our brothers and loving them, a little of the very mystery of Jesus himself and His love for each of us. “For,” she added, “since there is only one commandment, the constant love of our brothers, love to the point of wearing oneself out for them, is the fulfilment in act of the love of God and union with Jesus; and it is love that makes contemplation grow, deepen itself, exult.”
Jacques Maritain (1882–1973)


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