“To love another person is to see the face of God.”
That is a famous quote from Victor Hugo’s novel, Les Misérables. If you’ve ever seen the play or watched the musical, I hope you sang those words in your head (as I often do!) when you read them. I ask you now to say them again, slowly, and let the beauty of that truth capture your heart. “To love another person is to see the face of God.” Wow. What an incredible blessing it is to have the opportunity to see the face of God so very often throughout each day!
Saint Teresa of Avila said, “Look for Christ our Lord in everyone and you will then have respect and reverence for all.” I try to remember that as I serve the moms of Maggie’s Place every day. The women who we share our lives with are beautiful. They have chosen to give life in a world that tells them the opposite. Their strength shines in the moments they set their goals and take steps to achieve them. Their courage is clear to me with each day of sobriety and each time they tell someone “I love you.” I love these women deeply.
And yet, I would be lying if I said it’s always easy. As we often say at Maggie’s Place, love is messy. Love is a self-sacrificing gift. Sometimes the moms don’t want the love we freely give them. Sometimes my questions about how they are doing are answered with silence as they walk away. Sometimes a mom’s anger at her situation is taken out on me because she knows I won’t turn away from her. Sometimes the mom I’ve been working with relapses and we have to ask her to leave. It is not always easy to love when the moms make choices we know are hurting them. My heart breaks each time.
In the moments I feel discouraged trying to love the moms, I am extra thankful for their beautiful babies. As I hold them, rock them to sleep, feed them or play with them, I am constantly in awe. I feel the depths of God’s love in those moments. Jesus says in the Gospel of Matthew, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.” These little babies are represented before God by their heavenly angels! The MissionCorps often joke about how wonderful it would be if we could just babysit all day. We encourage the moms to secure childcare for their babies, because they will need it when they are working and living after Maggie’s Place. As they try to find the right childcare center, we help with babysitting, as well as our wonderful volunteers.
Pictured above is one of The Michael House faithful volunteers. Karen is a retired obstetrics nurse. She does it all at! She provides regular house coverage for us, babysits, cleans out our refrigerator, organizes our pantries, helps sort donations, prays for us, and more! I think her favorite role is babysitting, though. She loves the time she spends with The Michael House babies, and the moms trust Karen and look to her for advice with their babies.
If you’d like to share the love you have with our beautiful moms and babies, Maggie’s Place is in need of more volunteers interested in babysitting! I grow in my ability to love each day, and I see that growth in our volunteers too. Your time at Maggie’s Place will bring you countless blessings – most notably, you will see the face of God as you love the precious babies and their moms.
By Melissa Peters, a MissionCorps member