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Fill Your Heart with Love

Posted by imawheatwatcher on December 14, 2008

Octboer 2001 General RS meeting
Thomas S. Monson
First Counselor, First Presidency

To illustrate the second part of our formula—namely, fill your heart with love—I turn to a beautiful account recorded in the book of Acts which tells of a disciple named Tabitha, or Dorcas, who lived at Joppa. She was described as being a woman “full of good works and almsdeeds.”

“It came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber.

“And forasmuch as … the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them.

“Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which [Tabitha] made, while she was with them.

“But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up.

“And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive.

“And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord.” 7

To me the scriptural reference to Tabitha, which describes her as a woman “full of good works and almsdeeds,” defines some of the fundamental responsibilities of Relief Society; namely, the relief of suffering, the caring for the poor, and all which that implies. Women of Relief Society, you truly are angels of mercy. This is demonstrated on a grand scale through the humanitarian outreach to the cold, the hungry, and to suffering wherever it is found. Your labors are also very much in evidence in our wards and in our stakes and missions. Every bishop in the Church could testify of this truth.

I remember when, as a young deacon, I would cover a portion of the ward on fast Sunday morning, giving the small envelope to each family, waiting while a contribution was placed in the envelope and then returning it to the bishop. On one such occasion, an elderly member, Brother Wright, who lived alone, welcomed me at the door and, with aged hands, fumbled at the tie of the envelope and placed within it a small sum. His eyes fairly glistened as he made his contribution. He invited me to sit down and then told me of a time many years before when his cupboard had been empty of food. In his hunger, he had prayed to Heavenly Father for food to eat. Not long thereafter, he gazed out his front window and beheld someone approaching his door, pulling behind her a red-colored wagon. It was Sister Balmforth, the Relief Society president, who had pulled that wagon almost half a mile over the railroad tracks and to his door. The wagon overflowed with food collected from the sisters of the ward Relief Society, with which Sister Balmforth filled the empty shelves in Brother Wright’s kitchen. He described her to me as “an angel sent from heaven.”

Sisters, you are the epitome of love. You brighten your homes, you lead with kindness your children; and while your husbands may be head of the home, you surely are the heart of the home. Together, through respect for each other and sharing of responsibilities, you make an unbeatable team.

To me it is significant that when children need care and loving attention, they turn to you—their mothers. Even the wayward son or neglectful daughter, when he or she recognizes the need to return to the embrace of family, almost inevitably comes to Mother, who has never given up on her child.

Mother’s love brings out the best in a child. You become the model for your children to follow.

The first word a child learns and utters is usually the dear expression “Mama.” To me it is significant that on the battlefields of war or in peace, frequently when death is about to overtake a son, his final word is usually “Mother.” Sisters, what a noble role is yours. I testify that your hearts are filled with love.

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