Mother Teresa, the great humanitarian helped the poor of India while living among them. She built homes for orphans, nursing homes for lepers and hospices for the terminally ill.
Recently, when reading about her life, I was stuck by the amazing amount of unconditional love she had for the people she served.
How could she demonstrate so much love, I wondered?
I feel a tremendous amount of love for my wife and my family, my co-workers, church family and close friends.
But sometimes when I try and feel love for the people we serve here at the Mission, I just feel sorry for them.
Poor guy, doesn’t have a home and has to sleep outside.
Poor mother, she needs coats and food for her kids.
And I even have a hard time feeling sorry for them when they are unwilling to accept help and don’t care what happens.
Or I might even get angry at them if I think they are lazy drunks, taking advantage of us or giving me a hard time.
A far cry from the unconditional love shown by Jesus, Mother Teresa and other great leaders.
Sure, I am demonstrating compassion and love through my actions, but where is that emotion of true concern and love which I sometimes lack?
I’m slowly coming to realize that unconditional love is more than just a feeling and has to come from a power higher than myself.
The Apostle John wrote in 1 John 4:8 that “God is love.” God does not merely love; He is love itself.
Jesus gave the parable of the Good Samaritan as an example of sacrifice for the sake of others, even for those who may care nothing at all for us, or even hate us, as the Jews did the Samaritans.
Sacrificial love is not based on a feeling, but a determined act of the will, a joyful resolve to put the welfare of others above our own.
But this type of love does not come naturally to humans.
Because of our fallen nature, we are incapable of producing such a love.
If we are to love as God loves, that love—that agape—can only come from its true Source.
The search for love begins with our relationship with God.
If you are looking for true love, open yourself up to the One who loves you more than anyone else in the whole world.
It is only when we allow God to direct and guide our actions, that we are given the strength to love others unconditionally.
While agape love is not based on feelings, the feelings of love will often follow true expressions of love.
As our lives begin to demonstrate the “fruit of the Spirit” our emotional state changes for the better.
But we must not seek after the emotions. Instead, seek first His kingdom and ‘all these things will be give to us’ ( Matt. 6:33).
If you would like an opportunity to practice some unconditional love, come down to the Mission and experience what we are all about.
Prayer of St. Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
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