The Gospel of John tells us, “Jesus said to his disciples, ‘As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love.’”
The love of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – is perfect. Our human love is far from it! We each have personal ways of giving and receiving love, yet even within those personalized ways, we fall short. Sometimes we expect others to show us love in a certain way, then we’re disappointed when we don’t receive it. Sometimes we think we’re showing someone our love for them, but they don’t understand or feel it. Often our love goes unnoticed, and occasionally, our love is outright rejected. Other times, we fail in love by being unkind or selfish – maybe because we’re tired or frustrated or stressed.
In all of these situations, it comes back to one thing – we need God & His perfect love. If we remain in Him as He tells us to do, He will help us love more perfectly. He will be glorified by our love. As I’ve been trying to live this out, my heart has been continually moved by Jesus’s words, “Remain in my love.” So many images come to mind, but perhaps this is the best way I can describe it:
Jesus – Love incarnate – holding my heart close to His Sacred Heart, and reaching for my hand. He is with me (and all of us!) every step of this journey as I strive to live loving Him and His people. One of my common prayers throughout the day is, “Jesus, I can’t do this myself – please let me borrow Your heart to love this person right now.” I recognize that my love is imperfect, but I pray that Jesus makes my heart like His so I can love better each moment.
It states in our Maggie’s Place community covenant: “The demands of being a successful organization are never to be more important than the demands of loving people. It is the quality of our love and service to women and their children that define our excellence.” The quality of our love grows first and foremost as we grow closer to Christ, but it also grows as we grow in relationship to the moms of Maggie’s Place. When we open our hearts to love and serve them, we enter into a form of spiritual motherhood. Motherhood is an incredible example of how we, with all of our imperfections, can remain in each other’s love. The love of a mother never stops – it follows you wherever you are. Some of the most beautiful experiences I’ve had during my time here are the moments where love is recognized and reciprocated.
Just this morning, I was having a bit of a rough start to the day. Then the phone rang! It was a mom, Susy, who had moved out of our house a couple months ago. She called because she wanted to share with me good news and great things that are happening in her life. Her joy was contagious, even over the phone! Then she invited me to go with her to a church service this weekend – a special one for Mother’s Day. She said, “Even though you’re younger than me, you’re still like a mom to me so I wanted you to come.” It hit me then how the moms of Maggie’s Place remain in our love, whether they are current or alumnae moms. Susy recognized my love for her while she was in the home, yet she has given me so much more than I have given her because she has let me experience her love. She taught me how to love better by her love for her children and family, her courage and witness to life, her perseverance in sobriety, her faith, and her love for our community.
My prayer is that the Maggie’s Place community as a whole can remain in the love of Christ, today and every day.
By Melissa Peters, a MissionCorps member