Many of us remember the impact Blessed Mother Teresa had on our world, and clearly her legacy is proving to be a beacon of God’s love, especially for the poor and marginalized. On the topic of love, she once said: “There is a terrible hunger for love. We all experience that in our lives, the pain and the loneliness. We must have the courage to recognize it. The poor may be right in your family. Find them and love them!”
In today’s Gospel from John (15: 9-17), Jesus tells us again to remain in Him and to get to know Him—then we will find love. How do we remain in Him? How do we get to know Him? These are common questions from all of us seeking the ultimate love. The quest to understand one’s purpose and meaning in life is something which grows stronger as we age. Eventually, we come to realize we are not in control, and despite all of our struggles to force God to do things according to our plan, we are powerless. Our only recourse is to surrender to God’s Grace, accept the love He offers us, and trust in His plan for our lives. This is hard to do for those who are type “A” personalities—always pushing themselves to do and be superman or superwoman.
In our own relationships, the more we know and understand a person, the more we grow in love for them. At the same time, as we grow closer to others, we can develop the bad habit of taking them for granted. So many times it is not our intention, but life is busy and we assume those closest to us know of our deep love for them. Often, it takes traumatic events to snap us out of these bad habits.
Last summer, a dear friend and prayer group member lost her battle with cancer at the young age of 52. Walking with Jackie in her journey to the Lord solidified in my heart the importance of expressing love and appreciation through loving actions. Her death opened my eyes to those hungry for love, those in my own family, and those in my community. It is painful to see the hunger for love dwelling so close to home, even in our own hearts sometimes. But if we have the courage to recognize it as Blessed Mother Teresa says, we can find the power dwelling in the depths of our hearts to respond with great love, the love Jesus commands us to have for one another.