Sunday, September 5, 2010

What Is Your Calcutta?

How important can our one small, unspectacular life be? Consider this: the good that each of us can accomplish, even with limited resources and restricted reach, not even a Mother Teresa could achieve. The family, friends and coworkers whom we alone can touch, with our unique and unrepeatable mix of gifts and qualities, not even Mother Teresa could reach. No one else on the planet, and no one else in history possesses the same network of acquaintances and the same combination of talents and gifts as each of us do.

There is no need, then, to travel to far-off lands to contribute to Mother Teresa’s mission, or to follow her example. Wherever we are, with whatever talents and relationships God has entrusted us, we are each called not to do what a Mother Teresa did, but to do as she did -- to love as she loved in the Calcutta of our own life.

This excerpt from a wonderful post (read the rest here) that really got me to thinking...what is my own Calcutta? Where am I called to be Mother Teresa in my own life?

For now, I think it is my home and my family and possibly even the children and families that I interact with at the school where I teach Pre-K. I am constantly struggling with the feeling that I don't serve enough or do enough. But...when I stop to reflect on and pray about my life and my situation, I realize that I am doing what I am called to do in the way of service right now by raising small children, being a wife and getting children ready to enter kindergarten and begin their school careers. When I stop to really think about it, I am doing a lot of the same the work that Mother Teresa did - caring for the needy, tending to the sick, feeding the hungry. I just need to remember that as I am doing this work, I need to be doing it with the intention of introducing the face of God to those who do not know Him yet through my actions.
Since [the poor of Calcutta]were left with nothing and no one to mirror to them the face of God, Mother Teresa was sent to show them in his name, in concrete works of love, how beloved of God they were.
Well...I don't always do a great job at that face of God part. They definitely did not see the face of God in my face this morning when they were not behaving at an event we were attending. If they did, it was the face of Jesus at the temple while turning over the moneychangers tables!

I saw a beautiful example of someone being Mother Teresa in their own Calcutta over the past few weeks and showing the face of God to everyone around her through it all - my mom! My grandmother was admitted to the hospital 3 weeks ago and in a two week span, things went from bad to worse until she passed away a week ago today. My mom was by her side every minute. She stayed at the hospital with her, comforted my grandfather, and kept the family informed and updated. Even when it wasn't pleasant to watch what my grandmother was going through, and most of the time it was not, my mom was there doing what she could to love and comfort her and my grandpa. One thing that helped all of them was that they prayed the rosary a lot. Even when my grandmother was the very sickest, my mom would pray a decade with her which was about all my grandmother could handle sometimes. My mom was there with Granny while she slipped away from this world into Jesus' arms. Afterward, my mom put aside her own exhaustion and sadness to be with my grandpa and help him make arrangements. She has been by his side every minute - watching him suffer even though she is grieving as well. And since the funeral last Thursday, she has been there helping clean out the house. I know she has to be so tired but she hasn't complained and or stopped thinking of what others need - even having the foresight to get granola bars for everyone to eat in between the funeral and the ride to the cemetery when there wasn't time for lunch. She has reflected God's face at every step of this ordeal - always giving Him glory and depending on Him for her strength.
The importance of Mother Teresa's example, even for those who bear much milder Calcuttas, is in showing how far faith and love can reach in this life -- even in the night, even buffeted by pain, with every wind against it. Her victory in the night is proof that the exercise of faith and love is ultimately our free choice, never beholden to circumstance, a decision accessible at all times.

May we always make the choice, despite our circumstance, to remember that God can give us the chance to help others - to help them through their own pain as well as to help them know the face of God.

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