The best you can

9_4_Blessed MotherTeresa“Once a successful businessman went to work in one of Mother Teresa’s shelters for the poor in India.  His frustration at not finding the little woman there was overturned on the day before his departure when she returned.  He was moved to tears of joyous surprise when, on admitting that his whole life was self-concerned, instead of being like hers, she held his shoulders and looked deep into his eyes saying: ‘Know that God appreciates you are doing the best you can.'”

And He says the same to you today: “Know that God appreciates you are doing the best you can.”

Laying bricks

We run two small homes for older adults who are no longer capable of living alone and who have limited support and no resources.  We are only able to house 6-7 residents at one time.  There are many more elderly who could use our help.  We also do foster care for children in need.  We have cared for 26 children since we began this endeavor in 1992.  But there are millions of children around the world who are in great need.

“People say, ‘What is the sense of our small effort?’  They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time.'” (Servant of God Dorothy Day)

“The whole work is only a drop in the ocean.  But if we don’t put the drop in, the ocean would be one drop less.” (Bl Teresa of Calcutta)

So we just lay our bricks, take our steps, and put in our drops one at a time day by day . . .

“Give God that nothing”

I am re-reading a slim volume on Mother Teresa, titled I Loved Jesus in the Night.  This book increases my hope whenever I pick it up.  Today while reading, I was reminded of something I wish I would remember  more often–and that is that nothing in our life need be wasted.  We can offer whatever we suffer, however small or insignificant it may seem, to God for the sake of others.  Whenever I do remember this truth, it makes such a world of difference for me.  It lifts me out of my small world of seemingly petty sufferings–mostly of my own making–into God who holds all things in His massive Heart.

If at the time of prayer or meditation it seems to you that not only have you been distracted in your prayer, but that you have done nothing at all, never leave that time or that place of prayer angry or bitter with yourself.  First–turn to God and give God that nothing.  (Mother Teresa)

P.S. I am continually struck by how much Mother Teresa was influence by her namesake, St. Thérèse, who wrote in one of her early letters: “If I felt that I had nothing to offer to Jesus, I would offer Him that nothing.” (LT 76)

One less kiss

You did not give me a kiss

Following up on yesterday’s gospel which is one of my very favorite readings:  I did a study once on all the New Testament scriptures that talk about women at the feet of Jesus.  I usually meditate on various of them this time of year because most of them occurred near and at the time of the Lord’s Passion (like yesterday’s reading).  Luke 7 recounts a story similar to yesterday’s Gospel, but in a different context, and in it, it is said that the woman “covered his feet with kisses” (Lk 7:38).  Jesus himself remarks on this to Simon (at whose house he was) and actually upbraids him for not welcoming Him in the same fashion. “You did not give me a kiss . . . ”  Let not the same be said of us.  Let us then not hold back our kisses for His sacred feet.  Mother Teresa once said something to the effect that if we don’t put our drop in the ocean, the ocean is one drop less.  The same can be said for kissing the feet of Jesus: if we don’t give Him our kiss, He has received one less kiss . . . and it will be missed by Him.  And note . . . for those of you who hold back because of your faults and failings . . . it was the kiss of a sinful woman that He valued.

One drop less

What difference, really, can one person make?

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One of our sisters is currently going into Detroit one day a week to work with the homeless.  As you can imagine, she can easily experience being overwhelmed by the greatness of the needs she encounters.  Any of us can have that same experience: e.g. what difference are we making in the fight against abortion or trying to amend the pending health care package so it will exclude provisions for assisted suicide . . . or “just” trying to instill the truth in a teenager’s mind.

A saying from Mother Teresa comes to mind: “The whole work is only a drop in the ocean.  But if we don’t put the drop in, the ocean would be one drop less.” 

Don’t cease to put your drops in, drop by drop.  Each one counts.