Mother Teresa | 7. Home and Family


7. Home and Family

"Peace and war begin at home. If we truly want peace in the world, let us begin by loving one another in our families. If we want to spread joy, we need for every family to have joy."

Some parents feel great love and tenderness for their children.

I remember the instance of an Indian mother who had 12 children:

The youngest of all was in terrible shape. I would have a hard time describing what the child looked like, emotionally or physically.

When I suggested taking the child to one of our homes, where we had many more in similar conditions, the mother started to sob:

"Please, Mother Teresa, don't say that! This child is the greatest gift God has given my family. All our love is showed on her. If you take her away from us, our lives would have no more meaning."

We should not live in the clouds, on a superficial level:

We should dedicate ourselves to understanding our brothers and sisters. To better understanding those we live with, it is imperative that we understanding ourselves first.

Jesus, our model in all things, is also our model in obedience. I am fully convinced that he always asked permission of Mary and Joseph for everything.

In Jesus, Mary and Joseph - the Holy Family of Nazareth---we have a beautiful example for us to imitate. What did they do?

Joseph was a humble carpenter in order to support Jesus and Mary, providing their food and clothes--whatever they needed.

Mary, the mother, also had a humble task - that of a housewife with a son and a husband to care of.

As the son was growing up, Mary would worry that he would have a normal life, that he would "feel at home" in the house with her and with Joseph.

It was a home where tenderness, understanding, and mutual respect abounded.

As I said before: a wonderful example for us to imitate.

Everybody today seems to be in a hurry. No one has any time to give others: children to their parents, parents to their children, spouses to each other.

World peace begins to break down in the homes.

Once in a while we should ask ourselves several questions in order to guide our actions. We should ask questions like:

Do I know the poor? Do I know, in the first place, the poor in my family, in my home, those who are closest to me - people who are poor, but not because they lack bread?

There are other types of poverty just as painful because they are more intrinsic.

Perhaps what my husband or wife lacks, what my children lack, what my parents lack, is not clothes or food. Perhaps they lack love, because I do not give it to them!

Where does love begin?
In our own homes.
When does it begin?
When we pray together.

The family that prays together stays together.

Sometimes when I encounter selfish parents, I tell myself:

Is it possible that these parents worry about those who are hungry in Africa, in India, or in other countries of the Third World?!

It is possible that they dream of ending the hunger felt by any human being?!

However, they live unaware of their own children, of having that poverty and that hunger  in their very own homes. Moreover, they themselves are the ones who cause that hunger and that poverty.

Love begins by taking care of the closest ones - the ones at home.

Let us ask ourselves if we are aware that maybe our husband, our wife, our children, or our parents love isolated from others, do not feel loved enough, though they may live with us.

Do they realize this? Where are the old people today?

They are in nursing homes (if there are any).

Why? Because they are not wanted, because they are not much trouble, because...