September 3, 2016
“You can find Calcutta anywhere in the world. You only need two eyes to see. Everywhere in the world there are people that are not loved, people that are not wanted nor desired, people that no one will help, people that are pushed away or forgotten. And this is the greatest poverty.” -Mother Teresa of Calcutta-
As a celebration for the canonization of the soon to be St. Teresa of Calcutta, there is nothing more beautiful and inspiring in her witness than her work with the less fortunate.
The other day the Frassati Fellowship went on a mission to Calcutta. We had the blessing of encountering Christ in the poor as we hit the streets of Manhattan, where the lights usually distract people from the few humanity that is still left in this big city.
We walk through Calcutta, we did a Jesus Run in the midst of the NYC people enjoying their Friday night dinners, and more importantly with the beautiful response of those who gave up a Friday night to follow PG Frassati's number one thing to do, and the pillar of his spirituality: love the poor.
When we talk about love it is more than understood for us as a Christian community the basics of it: love must be given, love must be spread, love must be shared, and love must be lived.
Thus our understanding on the subject of love is magnified with the reality that God is love. So are we given God? Are we spreading God? Are we sharing God? Are we living God?
How? When? and more importantly where?
Brothers and sisters, HOW? and WHEN? are questions that can be answered with your own personal relationship with God as we all experience God differently and at different moments of our daily lives. But the question which made Mother Teresa a saint "WHERE?" is what also can define our openness to greatness. In our own experience of Christ, this question is not really a personal question for it takes us away from ourselves, it involves others. The place where we are we giving, loving, spreading , sharing and living God is a question of service, is the unspoken witness we give, and the selfless response to the love we were once given as well.
Where is your Calcutta?
We often believe missionary work can only be done overseas. I personally grew up associating missionary work with India and Africa only. But the reality of life is that as Christians we may fall into the trap of only serving when an overseas opportunity arises (if it ever arises), when Christ is down the subway begging for our attention and love in the face of a homeless person, or at our workplaces building up our patience. We must not be selective with the compassion we give, just like God gives it to us like the sun who shines for all in the morning.
Missionary work in the reality of what is truly means is not measured by the distance we travel to serve (no matter how cool it feels to travel far), not even the level of poverty we encounter, as the spiritual struggle will be the same everywhere. Missionary work is measured by the closeness to the heart of Jesus we live in and how we invite others to join into that closeness.
It is measured by the thirst for Christ you see in yourself and others, and how you try to satisfy this thirst with the joy of the gospel.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, we can go to India or Africa, serve a week, a month or a year, and still never bear fruit in our lives or even in our fellowship if we don't keep up a missionary daily attitude. We can also today look with eyes full of love at the guy at the train everyone despises, give bread to the fallen and get double the grace without going farther.
This is Calcutta, no time, no distance, but that gaze between you and God, that moment when you look at each other, that is Calcutta. The love in between, the love behind, the love in front, that is Calcutta.
The poor, the heathen, the rejected, the oppressed, the one who lives with you, that family member or co-worker...that is Calcutta.
Where the darkness loudly yells, and the hearts walk full of pain, that is Calcutta.
That place we walk everyday and often forget, and even when we look at ourselves in the mirror, that is Calcutta.
At the end of the day, a mission is never a personal choice, we don't really get to choose, we are chosen by the mission itself which carries the thirst of our savior. Poverty and need observe us constantly and call us, just like it called Mother Teresa in the poverty and need of her heart through her long dark night.
Poverty and need are everywhere, are constantly calling to the poverty and need in our hearts at all times...don't make 'em wait.
May we never ignore the Calcutta around us, and if we have... may we commit ourselves, not to the poor we choose, but to the poor who choose everyday.
St. Teresa of Calcutta,
Pray for us!!!!!!!!!!!!