Temperance and sobriety

In the First Reading, the Prophet Isaiah lists a series of works of mercy, which will give the Christian the possibility of manifesting the charity of his heart, and which consist in loving others as the Lord loves us: sharing bread and shelter, clothing the naked, banishing threatening gestures and slander. Then," sings the responsorial Psalm, "your light will break forth like the dawn (...), your light will shine in the darkness, your darkness will become noonday. The charity exercised around us, in the most diverse circumstances, will be a witness that will attract many to the faith of Christ, for he himself said: By this they will know that you are my disciples. The same common rules of living together, which for many people remain something external and are only practiced because they make social intercourse easier, for Christians must also be the fruit of charity - of their union with God, who fills these gestures with supernatural content - an external manifestation of appreciation and interest. "Now I guess," writes St. Thérèse of Lisieux, "that true charity consists in bearing all the defects of our neighbor, in not missing his weaknesses, in edifying ourselves with his lesser virtues; but I have learned especially that charity must not remain enclosed in the depths of the heart, for one does not light a light to put it under a bushel basket, but on a candlestick so that it may give light to all in the house. It seems to me that this torch represents the charity that should illuminate and rejoice not only those whom I love the most, but all those who are in the house," the whole family, each one of those who share our work.... Charity that will manifest itself in many cases through the usual forms of politeness and courtesy.

Another important aspect, in which we Christians must be that salt and light of which the Lord speaks to us, is temperance and sobriety. Our age "is characterized by the search for material well-being at any cost, and by the corresponding oblivion - it would be better to say fear, real dread - of everything that can cause suffering. In this perspective, words such as God, sin, cross, mortification, eternal life... are incomprehensible to many people, who are unaware of their meaning and content". For this reason, it is particularly urgent to give generous witness to temperance and sobriety, which manifest the lordship of the children of God, using goods "according to needs and duties, with the moderation of the one who uses them, and not of the one who values them too much and is dragged down by them".

Today we ask Our Lady that we may know how to be salt, which prevents the corruption of persons and society, and light, which not only enlightens but also warms, with life and word; that we may always be on fire with love, not extinguished; that our conduct may clearly reflect the kind face of Jesus Christ. With the confidence that she inspires in us, let us ask in the intimacy of our hearts: Lord our God, you who have made of so many saints a lamp that both illuminates and warms in the midst of men, grant that we may walk with that kindling of spirit, as children of light.