"One day her mother-in-law Naomi said to Ruth, ‘My dear daughter, isn't it about time I arranged a good home for you so you can have a happy life?'"
Ruth 3: 1, The Message
"How to Live Your Life" by Two Women Who Knew What They Were Talking About!
5 Characteristics of Naomi - The Loving Mother - Part I
"Love is the doorway through which the human soul passes from selfishness to service and from solitude to kinship with all (humankind)."
What does it mean to me to be a "loving" person?
How does being "loving" affect family relationships?
"If there is anything better than to be loved, it is loving."
"Follow the way of love…."
I Corinthians 14: 1, N.I.V.
During the past five days, we have studied about the characteristics which were present in the life of the daughter, Ruth - qualities we as women want to have in our lives.
Today, we are going to begin our study on 5 characteristics in the life of the mother, Naomi.
As I shared with you, after nearly completing our survey of the four chapters in the book of Ruth, all of a sudden it hit me how Naomi and Ruth's lives so effectively provide instruction on how, we as women, can and should live our lives from young womanhood until old age.
The first characteristic I find in the life of Naomi is her "loving" treatment of those around her. Our text today is a perfect example, for Naomi was always looking out for the happiness and welfare of others.
Remember, it was Naomi's love that drew her two Moabite daughters into close family ties on earth and in heaven. I truly believe it was Naomi's love that opened the door through which Ruth and Orpah were given a glimpse into the love of their Father, God. Thomas Aquinas so eloquently stated, "To love is to will the good of another." This is exactly what Naomi did, even when she unselfishly told her daughters-in-law to go back home. Her first thoughts were for their happiness and benefit, not her own.
Naomi could easily have turned her nose up at two women who were not of her "people." But as George Appleton noted, rather than "throwing stones, actual or mental," Naomi chose to share her "increased capacity for love." Like the song says, the cup of her life "ran over." And what was the result? Exactly what St Augustine states are the consequences of love: "people are renewed by love…love rejuvenates."
Two of my favorite poets, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning wrote a great deal about love. And no one describes what the absence of love would be like better than Robert Browning: "Take away love and earth is a tomb."
Even though Naomi had a great deal of sadness enter her life, she still did not, as time went by, allow the flicker of love to burn out. Instead, she fueled the furnace of love in her heart with the aid of gentle friendships that had as their foundation a sharing love rather than a getting love.
One of my favorite spiritual writers and poets, Christina Rossetti, penned the touching poem, "O Ye Who Taste That Love Is Sweet:"
"O ye who taste that love is sweet,
Set waymarks for all doubtful feet
That stumble on in search of it.
Sing notes of love: that some who hear
Far off, inert, may lend an ear,
Rise up and wonder and draw near.
Lead lives of love; that others
Who behold your life may kindle too
With love, and cast their lot with you."
This is what Ruth did when she saw and heard; when she experienced firsthand; and when she recognized the loving spirit in Naomi. She, like those whose lives we touch with love, chose to "cast her lot with" Naomi and her God.
"Lord. I see clearly that any affection which I have ever had is scarcely as one drop in the vast ocean of all the seas, when compared with the tenderness of Thy divine heart towards those whom I love…Therefore I cannot even by one thought wish anything other than that which Thy almighty wisdom has appointed for each of them…Lord, bless Thy special friends and mine, according to the good pleasure of Thy divine goodness."
Saint Gertrude the Great
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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