AN ELDERLY MAN visited his wife every day in the nursing home where he had had to put her because of that terrible disease called Alzheimer’s. She did not remember anything or recognize anyone, and it had become impossible to take care of her at home. However, it was one thing not to be able to take care of her well and something completely different to abandon her to her fate. He had lunch with her every day in the nursing home and talked to her about whatever came to his mind. Friends and relatives frequently asked him, «Why do you continue to go be with your wife every day if she doesn’t even recognize you?’
«Because though she doesn’t recognize me, I do recognize her. Not only that, but I also love her. She is my wife,» he always replied.
We have spoken a lot this month about helping one’s neighbor, about being generous to the poor, and about making a commitment to service to humanity, because the world is a hostile place. Today I want to add something more to all this: If we know how to do good to people outside our close circle because we have learned to be caring, how much more should we think about those within the circle, those who are our responsibility: parents, spouses, children, grandchildren, siblings Today is a perfect day to ask ourselves: How much time do I dedicate to my relatives and loved ones? What works of love and caring do I do for them?
According to 1 Timothy 5:8, the person who «does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith.» This is an important warning for us about the danger of helping those outside at the cost of those within. We are the pillar of our family; our children seek our arms, and our spouse needs our listening ear. Let us not stop providing for them.
May your children never pray the prayer of a little child who said, «Lord, I would like to become a television set so I can live what the television in my home gets to live: gather the members of my family around me, be taken into account when I speak, and become the center of attention.» You are a key piece in your home that cannot be missing.
«But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever» (1 Timothy 5:8).