"Will you refuse to do this for me?" Is the question that Jesus put to Mother Teresa of Calcutta in one of her mystical experiences. The life of the future saint was her response to this question. Fr. Sebastian Vazhakala continues his narrative about the Mother of Calcutta. The strength of her experience, and that of all the Missionaries and the Missionaries of Charity, is assimilation to Jesus. Love to the very end, even in times of trial.
Rome (AsiaNews) - In my first meeting with Mother Teresa, I was struck by her simple faith and conviction. From the way she spoke it was clear that what she said were not empty words: her life and work went hand in hand; she practised as she preached. When I met her in 1962 I was not that impressed by her presence, especially since she was not as famous then as now. Instead, it was something about her that attracted me: the way in which she lived the Gospel. My father taught me to live the gospel for the poor, for the needy, for others. And she did the same. Yet there was something special about her, that I realized many years later. When you do God's work, your heart becomes different: It is filled with a joy that radiates outward and the person is more certain, without the temptation to look at others.
For example, we spend time judging what other people do. If, in a situation, we see people in need, we ask who is to blame, we say someone should do something. And it is easy to criticize: The mayor, the bishop, the priest, this, that one should do something.
When she saw the situation in Calcutta, Mother Teresa did not ask: Why is the mayor, the minister, the bishop of Calcutta not doing something? No, she only asked one question: What can I do? Only after her death did people begin to understand that it was this gift of self that was her vocation as a Missionary of Charity, which Jesus himself had asked her to adhere to.
Following her death there were some documents written by her that I cherish in which the Mother speaks of the visions and missions to which she has been called by Jesus and Mary.
The first vision – she describes it herself in those documents - was a large crowd made up of children, the poor, the sick. She was in the midst of them and they all held their hands up to her and said to her: Come, come and save us, bring us Jesus.
In the second vision is the same crowd immense, but full of sadness. Then Mother Teresa saw the Virgin kneeling behind her telling her: These are mine. Bring them to Jesus and bring Jesus to them. Do not be afraid, and teach them to pray the Rosary. And Mary added: Jesus and I will be here with you and with your children.
The third vision is similar to the vision of the crucifix of St. Francis in the Church of San Damian when he hears, 'Go and repair my Church.
In the vision there is Jesus on the Cross, Our Lady somewhat distant and Mother Teresa in front of Mary. Our Lady has her left hand on her shoulder and together they looked upon Jesus on the Cross. And Jesus says: I have asked this of you; they [the crowd] have asked; My Mother has asked you. Do you refuse to do this for me?
This visions took place on September 10, 1946, which from that day forth has been known as "the Day of Inspiration" or "Call within a Call".
Until then, Mother Teresa, who had entered Sisters of Loreto years before, was living as a teacher and was happy and did not understand why she had to leave the convent. But from that day forth, she decided to follow Jesus and to serve the poor.
Jesus had said: My little one, come, come, take me into the wounds of the poor. Come be my light. I can not go alone. They do not know me and therefore do not want me. You go and bring me among them. Bring me to them and them to me... In your love for me they will see me, know me, want me".
This is the work of Mother Teresa, which is the work of Jesus. Every time the mother went out to find the poor, any work that she did, she was with Jesus, she was operating with Jesus.
She would give the example of Mary who goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth, to her sisters. Mary runs joyfully and quickly, bringing Jesus that was forming in her womb to her cousin. Similarly, Mother Teresa and all the sisters today, every morning attend Mass, receive communion, adore the Blessed, and then they go out onto the streets. Every sister, every missionary goes with Jesus. It is what the Missionaries of Charity do, it is not their work, but the work of Jesus; we are his instruments. This was always very clear for Mother Teresa. She always said, I am God's pencil, a pure instrument.
She thought herself nothing. In a dialogue with Jesus, the Mother says to him: Jesus, I am unworthy sinful and weak. And Jesus answers: That's why I want you. This will make known my glory. This is how all that you do becomes God's work and not your own and the Father is glorified by these good works.
In my first meeting in Calcutta with Mother, she insisted on this: what she did was not his work, but of Christ.
To strengthen this unity between her and Jesus, there was a mystical marriage. In one of the dialogues Jesus calls her "My little one, you are my bride." When a piece of iron sticks to a magnet, the iron acquires the same power of the magnet and has the power to attract. Similarly, the mother has become one with Jesus, able to attract. That's why even the world today is so impressed by this woman, this little nun with a great heart of love: her heart was transformed by her union with Jesus.
After all, this is the secret of the life of Mother Teresa, also of her period in the desert, which began in her 50s and continued for the rest of life. At that time she felt abandoned by Jesus, arid in prayer, but she remained faithful to her spousal love for Christ, to the last breath. And this is marriage is it not? It is not loyalty and love to the end?