April 17, 2015

2015 Indiana Catholic Women's Conference: ‘Loving until it hurts’

Excerpts from Yvonne O’Brien’s talk on women as missionaries in their families and communities.

Yvonne O’Brien“Mother Teresa [of Calcutta] had a term, ‘loving until it hurts.’ She was a witness of love in all situations. She said, ‘Not of all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.’ [She] was such a witness to hope and love to the forgotten of the world.

“There are specific moments in [Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical] ‘God is Love’ where he is speaking to charitable workers. If you just put ‘women’ [instead of ‘charitable workers’], I think we’ve got it down.

“ ‘Seeing with the eyes of Christ, [women] can give to others much more than their outward necessities; [women] can give them the look of love which they crave (Part I, #18).’

“ ‘We are dealing with human beings, and human beings always need something more than technically proper care. They need humanity (Part II, #31a).’

“ ‘[A woman’s] heart sees where love is needed and acts accordingly (Part II, #31b).’

“ ‘[Women] realize that a pure and generous love is the best witness to the God in whom we believe, and by whom we are driven to love (Part II, #31c).’

‘[Women know] when it is time to speak of God, and when it is better to say nothing and to let love alone speak (Part II, #31c).’

“I think relational ministry is what Catholic charity is all about, that look of love for which [the needy] crave. Not just giving them all the resources, but talking with them, asking them how they’re doing.

“Here’s a perfect scenario: You pull up to a red light. You see a woman there, and you put your flashers on. You roll down your window. You shake her hand and say, ‘Hi, I’m Yvonne. What’s your name? How are you today, Mary? I have a goody bag that my kids made. Would you like to have it? Is there anything that I can pray for you today? I hope you have a great day.’

“People may be honking at you, but don’t worry—it’s that person that’s important. Show everybody else that it’s OK to stop and talk with someone. If you get rejected, that’s a privilege because they live with rejection every day.

“Don’t wear sunglasses. They need to see the goodness in your eyes, that look of love.

“Some things to keep in mind when making a goody bag. Keep in mind what you would eat, not necessarily what’s cheap. Also, a lot of them don’t have teeth, so applesauce, gummies, water, homemade cookies that are soft. If you have kids, have them write a note or draw a picture.

“For those of you who don’t know what the Lord is asking of you, don’t waste that time. Do as much good as you can as a single person. Just love the Lord with abandon, and everything else will take care of itself.”


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