Serving those closest to us. Learning from Our Lady

Let the first among you be your servant, the Lord tells us. For this we have to leave our selfishness aside and discover those manifestations of charity that make others happy. If we did not strive to forget ourselves more and more, we would pass again and again by those around us and not realize that they need a word of encouragement, to appreciate what they do, to encourage them to be better and to serve them.

Selfishness blinds us and closes our horizon to others; humility constantly opens the way to charity in practical and concrete details of service. This joyful spirit of openness to others and availability is capable of transforming any environment. Charity penetrates, like water in the crack of the stone, and ends up breaking the hardest resistance. "Love brings out love", said St. Teresa, and St. John of the Cross advised: "Where there is no love, put love and you will get love".

We treated you with gentleness, as a mother cares for her children. We were so fond of you that we wanted to give you not only the Gospel of God, but even our own persons, as St. Paul told the Christians of Thessalonica. If we imitate him, we will bear fruit similar to his.

In a particular way we must live this spirit of the Lord with those closest to us, in our own family: "Let the husband seek not only his own interests, but also those of his wife, and her wife those of her husband; let the parents seek the interests of their children, and let the children in turn seek the interests of their parents. The family is the only community in which every man "is loved for himself", for what he is and not for what he has (...).

"Respect for this fundamental norm explains, as the Apostle himself teaches, that nothing is done out of a spirit of rivalry or vainglory, but in humility, out of love. And this love, which is open to others, makes the members of the family true servants of the "domestic church," where everyone desires good and happiness for each other; where each and every one gives life to this love with the eager pursuit of such good and happiness."

If we act in this way, we will not see, as so often happens, the mote in another's eye without seeing the beam in our own. The smaller faults of others are magnified, and our own greater faults tend to be diminished and justified.

Humility, on the other hand, makes us first of all recognize our own mistakes and our own miseries. We are then in a position to see with understanding the defects of others and to be able to help them. We are also in a position to love them and accept them with these deficiencies.

Our Lady, Our Lady, Handmaid of the Lord, will teach us to understand that serving others is one of the ways to find joy in this life and one of the shortest ways to find Jesus. For that we have to ask her to make us truly humble.