One of the most extraordinary qualities that Mother possesses is her ability to be both the Mother and the Child simultaneously. Her all-expansive Love sees no imperfections in her children. She is a mountain of strength and inspiration. At the same time, She seemingly flows through life with the spontaneity of a small child.

Mother has recently said that we will never find the love that we are looking for in the world. The only way we will experience that love is by giving it.

There is a story that beautifully expresses this teaching. A little girl lived with her two parents. She seemed to have everything she needed: clothing, food and toys. When she was about nine years old, she was invited to her little girlfriend's house for a sleepover. When it was time for the two girls to go to sleep, the mother of the little girl came into the room and gave her daughter a big hug, and as she held the child in her arms, she said to her, "I love you." The other little girl also got a hug but she was too stunned to feel anything. She became overwhelmed with sadness, wondering what was wrong with her.

Why hadn't she received hugs and heard these words from her parents? She tossed and turned all night. She decided that she didn't want to live with people that didn't love her. The next day, she decided to run away and come and live with her friend's family. She left the house early in the morning, but when she reached her friend's door she felt too embarrassed to ring the bell. So she went for a walk and sat down on a bench. All day long, she sat and thought and thought.

Meanwhile her parents were very worried about her because they really did love her very much. They hadn't received any affection or tender words from their parents, so they simply didn't know how to give it to their own child.

The little girl felt it was time to go home. As she walked through the kitchen door, she walked right up to her parents who were sitting at the kitchen table, and gave them each a big hug and kissed them on their cheeks and told them both that she loved them. Her parents were speechless with wonder and just stared at her.

Every morning and every evening she continued to do this, hugging and kissing her parents, and telling them that she loved them. For a while they were stiff and awkward, but the little girl persevered. Days turned into months and her parents started reciprocating her affection and even telling her that they loved her too. One night she forgot her ritual and went to read in her bed. There was a knock on the door. Her mom peeked her head in, and in a fake, angry voice said, "Hey, where's my kiss?" The little girl just laughed, and for the first time her mom came over and gave her a big hug and a kiss, and told her that she loved her.

Mother says that we should develop childlike innocence. Maybe it's because of their innocence that children are able to be so brave. In his prayer, St. Francis says, "It is in giving that we receive." There's another story about a child that beautifully expresses this statement.

In America we have a holiday called Valentine's Day. School children will often make or buy small cards called Valentines for their friends and school chums. There was a little boy who didn't have many friends. He was shy and a bit of an outcaste. His mom knew this. Every day she watched through the window as the schoolchildren walked home. Her son never walked with anyone. He always walked by himself, a few steps behind the others.

When Valentine's Day approached, his mom was filled with dread thinking about what would happen at school. Her son would probably be the only one who didn't receive any Valentines and he would feel completely unloved. He would surely be devastated. She planned to bake his favourite cookies and have them waiting to cheer him up when he came home.

The day before Valentine's Day the boy came home and announced that he was going to make all the children in his class a Valentine. With great eagerness he sat at the kitchen table all day and well into the night painstakingly working on his cards, despite his mother's request that he should stop.

On Valentine's Day his mom made the cookies and nervously sat by the window. Sure enough, same as usual, she saw a group of schoolchildren coming down the road, with her son walking a few paces behind. She braced herself for what she thought would be one of the hardest experiences of her life. The door swung wide open; in walked her son, beaming from ear to ear and announcing, "Not a single one!"

"What do you mean?" asked his mother.

"I didn't forget a single one," replied the boy excitedly.

Both of these children are extraordinary examples of Love. They have the kind of attitude that Mother is always trying to teach us. Put others first. Give the love that you wish to receive and you will find happiness. May we all learn this and be blessed with loving hearts.

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