I experienced many human weaknesses, many human frailties, and I still experience them. But we need to use them. We need to work for Christ with a humble heart, with the humility of Christ. He comes and uses us to be His love and compassion in the world in spite of our weaknesses and frailties.
One day I picked up a man from the gutter. His body was covered with worms, I brought him to our house, and what did this man say? He did not curse. He did not blame anyone. He just said, “I’ve lived like an animal in the street, but I’m going to die like an angel, loved and cared for!” It took us three hours to clean him. Finally, the man looked up at the sister and said, “Sister, I’m going home to God.” And then he died. I’ve never seen such a radiant smile on a human face as the one I saw on that man’s face. He went home to God. See what love can do! It is possible that young sister did not think about it at the moment, but she was touching the body of Christ. Jesus said so when He said, “As often as you did it for one of my least brothers, you did it for me” (Matt. 25:40 RSV). And this is where you and I fit into God’s plan.
Let us understand the tenderness of God’s love. For He speaks in the Scripture, “Even if a mother could forget her child, I will not forget you. I have carved you on the palm of my hand” (see Isaiah 49:15-16). When you feel lonely, when you feel unwanted, when you feel sick and forgotten, remember you are precious to Him. He loves you. Show that love for one another, for this is all that Jesus came to teach us.
I remember a mother of twelve children, the last of them terribly mutilated. It is impossible for me to describe that creature. I volunteered to welcome the child into our house, where there are many others in similar conditions. The woman began to cry. “For God’s sake, Mother,” she said, “don’t tell me that. This creature is the greatest gift of God to me and my family. All our love is focused on her. Our lives would be empty if you took her from us.” Hers was a love full of understanding and tenderness. Do we have a love like that today? Do we realize that our child, our husband, our wife, our father, our mother, our sister or brother, has a need for that understanding, for the warmth of our hand?
I will never forget one day in Venezuela when I went to visit a family who had given us a lamb. I went to thank them and there I found out that they had a badly crippled child. I asked the mother, “What is the child’s name?” The mother gave me a most beautiful answer. “We call him ‘Teacher of Love,’ because he keeps on teaching us how to love. Everything we do for him is our love for God in action.”
We have a great deal of worth in the eyes of God. I never tire of saying over and over again that God loves us. It is a wonderful thing that God Himself loves me tenderly. That is why we should have courage, joy, and the conviction that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.
I feel that we too often focus only on the negative aspects of life- on what is bad. If we were more willing to see the good and the beautiful things that surround us, we would be able to transform our families. From there, we would change our next-door neighbours and then other who live in our neighbourhood or city. We would be able to bring peace and love to our world, which hungers so much for these things.
If we really want to conquer the world, we will not be able to do it with bombs or with other weapons of destruction. Let us conquer the world with our love. Let us interweave our lives with bonds of sacrifice and love, and it will be possible for us to conquer the world.
We do not need to carry out grand things in order to show a great love for God and for our neighbour. It is the intensity of love we put into our gestures that makes them into something beautiful for God.
Peace and war start within one’s own home. If we really want peace for the world, let us start by loving one another within our families. Sometimes it is hard for us to smile at one another. It is often difficult for the husband to smile at his wife or for the wife to smile at her husband.
In order for love to be genuine, it has to be above all a love for our neighbour. We must love those who are nearest to us, in our own family. From there, love spreads toward whoever may need us.
It is easy to love those who live far away. It is not always easy to love those who live right next to us. It is easier to offer a dish of rice to meet the hunger of a needy person than to comfort the loneliness and the anguish of someone in our own home who does not feel loved.
I want you to go and find the poor in your homes. Above all, your love has to start there. I want you to be the good news to those around you. I want you to be concerned about your next-door neighbour. Do you know who your neighbour is?
Taken from the book: Mother Teresa, No Greater Love.