If you want to love the poor, love your family first and foremost.
Many look with awe and admiration at the life of Mother Teresa and her profound love of the poor.
Her example can be intimidating and it can seem like an impossible goal to achieve.
However, Mother Teresa believed that everyone can love the poor, but that it must start in the home.
She said these words to the American people when receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Ronald Reagan.
So, my sisters, brothers, and fathers, you are going — and all our poor people, thousands and thousands and thousands of people that we deal with, I bring their gratitude to you. And keep the joy of loving. Love them, and begin in your own family first. And that love will penetrate right through the furthest place where no one has ever been — there is that tenderness and love of Christ.
She most famously said elsewhere to “find your own Calcutta.”
Stay where you are. Find your own Calcutta. Find the sick, the suffering, and the lonely, right where you are — in your own homes and in your own families, in homes and in your workplaces and in your schools. You can find Calcutta all over the world, if you have eyes to see. Everywhere, wherever you go, you find people who are unwanted, unloved, uncared for, just rejected by society — completely forgotten, completely left alone.
In many ways this is more difficult than loving the poor! We don’t always see the poor everyday, but we do live with our own family members, or see them very frequently. They are the ones we need to love first.
If we don’t love our own family, how can we expect to ever love the poor?
Love your family.