By Mary Clare Thimons
It is the 21st century. Nursing homes are filled with people begging for love and attention. In many countries and even in the United States, children go to bed hungry. Inside their mother’s wombs, babies don’t have a say whether they live or die, while I am living in a nice home with love, attention, food, and parents who chose life. I remember learning that Saint Teresa taught the gospel in five fingers: “Whatever you did to the least of my brethren 1) YOU 2) DID 3) IT 4) TO 5) ME” (Matthew 25:40). So, who are the least? Saint Teresa also says:
It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start.
I think that the “least” are those lonely, suffering, and unloved in our own homes.
So what can I do to help those lonely, suffering, and unloved in my own home? I am in fifth grade, the oldest of five children, and have four younger brothers. First, I should pray that the Holy Spirit will open my eyes so that I can see who needs love in my family. For example, “Open the eyes of your servant who wants to love you with her heart. Give me the grace to help those in need, in the world and in my own home. With your blowing winds and tongues of fire open my heart so that I may love the least of my brethren.” The Catholic Church has Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. After looking at them I realized I can do most of these among my family members. For example, if anyone is hungry or thirsty I can make them a snack or get them some water. I can get my younger brothers dressed. I can cheer up a sick family member or visit him in the hospital. I could go to a funeral with my family. I can explain certain thing to my brothers that they do not understand. I can smile and cheer them up when they are sad. It is amazing that forgiving and dealing with them patiently is a Work of Mercy because you have to do it quite often.
Another way I can serve Jesus in my own home is simply by doing the duties according to my state in life, making sacrifices, and praying. Jesus said to Sister Lucia: “The sacrifice required for each person is the fulfillment of his duties in life and the observance of my law. This is the penance that I now seek and require.” When I was baptized I became a child of God, so I love, serve, and obey Him. I am a daughter, and by loving, serving, and obeying my parents I am also loving, serving, and obeying God. By being a sister I can love and serve my siblings. Lastly, as a fifth grade student I can obey my teachers and study and learn my schoolwork. I can also make sacrifices for my family members. Sacrifices can be something you don’t feel like doing, but that’s okay. For example, not having a piece of candy if you want to. Or reading a book to my brothers when I’d rather read a book in my room. Or forgiving my brothers when I don’t feel like it. I can also pray for my family members. A few examples of that are praying a rosary, praying for them at Mass, or praying a Divine Mercy Chaplet.
Mary Clare Thimons won an honorable mention in Category 1 of CLSP and IEW’s Pro-Life Essay Contest.
image: Andreas Møller via Flickr | CC-2.0