Love begins at home, Mother Teresa insisted when she was alive. Home and family are the twin tutors in love, compassion, patience, and service. The following words, which all center on the importance of family, are from Mother Teresa herself, taken from the book Thirsting for God: Daily Meditations.
“Our first great responsibility is to be a family, a community, revealing first to one another something of God’s own love and concern and tenderness. ‘See how they love one another.’ Being so close to each other it is possible to miss God’s love and goodness that is to be found in those who are so near to us. We need to help each other to forget the everyday deficiencies and to start a new life every day in the joy of Jesus.”
In our Missionaries of Charity community, our first great responsibility is to be a family, a community, revealing first to one another something of God’s own love and concern and tenderness. “See how they love one another.” Being so close to each other it is possible to miss God’s love and goodness that is to be found in those who are so near to us. We need to help each other to forget the everyday deficiencies and to start a new life every day in the joy of Jesus.
The Gospel needs to be brought back to the countries falling away from Christianity. Bring the word to the hungry and thirsting for God, starting with your own family. Charity begins at home.
Our first great responsibility is to be a family. We are to reveal first, to one another, something of God’s own love and concern and tenderness. When others see us, they should say, “See how they love one another.”
Do others notice if you are absent? Do they miss your warmth, your presence? We should radiate the presence of Christ by our compassion. Do we fulfill this responsibility to be God’s love and compassion in the world, in the community, in our family? Let us be his presence to others.
Heavenly Father, you have given us a model of life in the Holy Family of Nazareth. Help us, O loving Father, to make our family another Nazareth where love, peace, and joy reign. May it be deeply contemplative, intensely eucharistic, and vibrant with joy.
+ Help us to stay together in joy and sorrow through family prayer.
+ Teach us to see Jesus in the members of our family, especially in their distressing disguise.
+ May the eucharistic heart of Jesus make our hearts meek and humble like his and help us to carry out our family duties in a holy way.
+ May we love one another as God loves each one of us more and more each day, and forgive each others’ faults as you forgive our sins.
+ Help us, O loving Father, to take whatever you give and to give whatever you take with a big smile. Immaculate Heart of Mary, cause of our joy, pray for us.
Let us ask Our Lady and St. Joseph to make our families what their family was for Jesus at Nazareth. Love does not live on words nor can it be explained by words. This is especially true of that love that is in Jesus and comes from Jesus and finds Jesus—touches him, serves him, loves him—in others. Such love is true, burning, pure, free from fear and doubt. There is no greater love than the love Christ himself has shown us. We must love one another with the same love.
Find at least one good point in the other person and build from there. In the family, you should thank each other, mentioning the good you have seen others do. In short, an understanding love—a love that sees the good in others— will be our goal.
We are commanded to love God and our neighbor equally, without difference. We don’t have to look for the opportunities to fill this command, they’re all around us, twenty-four hours a day. You must open your eyes wide so that you can see the opportunities to give wholehearted, free service right where you are, in your family. If you don’t give such service in your family, you will not be able to give it to those outside your home.