The Artful Dodger says to Oliver Twist: “Consider yourself at home. Consider yourself one of the family. I’ve taken to you so strong. It’s clear we’re going to get along. Consider yourself well in. Consider yourself part of the furniture. There isn’t a lot to spare! Who cares?! Whatever we got we share!

“Make yourself at home in my love” is one paraphrased translation of Jesus’ desire, “Remain in my love.” The image suggests a warm welcome that invites integral participation in the life of a family, learning from one another the ways of love, for loving one another is at the heart of Jesus’ commands.

Making a home with others isn’t easy. We each have our way of doing things. Habits and practices that seem perfectly rational to us can drive others crazy. This is the gift of living in community.

Learning to love requires openness and adaptation to others in a way that we remain true to who we are and our core values. Making a home with Jesus is no different. The good news is that we are not asked to be someone different than who we are.

We make room for Christ in the home of our hearts by becoming aware of and then letting go what is in the way of growing into the essence of our best, most loving self. With joy, the Dodger’s companions sing: Consider yourself our mate. We don’t want to have no fuss, for after some consideration, we can state consider yourself one of us!

—Jenéne Francis, Provincial Assistant for Pastoral Ministries, Chicago-Detroit Province and Wisconsin Province