I was participating in Mass yesterday at the Pastoral Center during the Catechetical Conference and an idea popped into my head and not a few minutes later popped right back out. Drives me crazy because normally when I receive something while at Mass, I want it to stick with me. Who wouldn’t? Right? It was a long day, setting up St. Mary’s Bookstore on 3 long tables a little after 7 a.m. then selling all day and packing up at 3 to take back to the store and return to the shelves, then close the store at 5. But, I had some great help and got to spend time with great people so I was all good. After dinner I watched a little football with my husband and promptly fell asleep on the couch. When I woke up, I asked about the game and my husband responded that Auburn just couldn’t seem to get out of their own way. And that was it! That was the message I received at Mass! I couldn’t believe it. It’s all about Auburn…no, I mean, it’s all about getting out of our own ways.
This past week my youngest daughter had several volleyball games and as I watched them fall short for the 3rd match in a row, I thought, “they just cannot seem to get our of their own way”. They did more to beat themselves than the other team did to beat them. Not saying the other teams were not good or didn’t deserve the wins but come on….talk, work together.
During Mass, the thought came clearly. Come on. Stop beating ourselves. We all need to get out of our own ways and talk, work together. Because after all, it’s not really about who gets what or who did this or that, it’s about how we treat one another during this mass confusion we call living in this world. Every day we are given many opportunities to be kind, to love, to change lives by what we say or how we say it, by what we do or don’t do. Social media especially has become a major player in how we treat one another. Think about some of the things we read and some of the comments made. We really are not very kind to one another. What if we knew that every comment, every action was to test our reaction? Do we discuss topics and work with one another? Or do we react with anger? We are constantly and continually beating ourselves here. We cannot seem to get out of our own way.
I am not good about this but what if we used all the bad things that happen to us or are said about us as the chance to make a difference? Maybe even by not doing or saying anything. Or, maybe by turning bad into good. I think that’s the major difference between us and the saints. With the Canonization of Mother Teresa I guess all of this has made me start thinking of the simple things she and the other Missionary of Charity sisters did and still do that all of us can do. Granted, few of us are going to serve the poor in India, but there are plenty of poor in our own cities. Wait. I’m getting off course. We all know we can do and be better. My point here is that we need to stop working against ourselves. We need to stop making what is good and holy seem so difficult. We need to take the simple opportunities put before us day after day and complete the tasks. We need to be kind to the meanest and love the haters and do for the ungrateful. We need to stop beating ourselves with unforced errors so to speak. Let’s talk. Let’s work together. Let’s share our good thoughts and let’s stay out of our own way.
This painting in my office by my mother, Jean Dortch, reminds me to go to Jesus, to quench His thirst for us to visit Him, to take time in the Chapel, to spend time with others, to care for those who cannot care for themselves. His Mother, our Mother, heard him speak these words from the cross and she brings us, day after day, to those in need, whether in our own families or in our workplace or as we walk down the street. He thirsts for us to act. Show Mercy. I am once again blessed to be in a book group reading and participating in the “33 Days to Morning Glory” in Preparation for Marian Consecration by Fr. Michael Gaitley. In it he shares Mother Teresa’s letters to her congregation, one from March 25th on “I thirst”: …(Our Lady) was the first person to hear Jesus’ cry “I Thirst” with St. John, and I am sure Mary Magdalen. Because Our Lady was there on Calvary, she knows how real, how deep is His longing for you and for the poor. Do we know? Do we feel as she? Ask her to teach… Her role is to bring you face to face, as John and Magdalen, with the love in the Heart of Jesus crucified. Before it was Our Lady pleading with Mother, now it is Mother in her name pleading with you – “listen to Jesus’ thirst.” 33 Days to Morning Glory
This image also reminds me of Mother Teresa’s Humility List:
1. Speak as little as possible about yourself. 2. Keep busy with your own affairs and not those of others. 3. Avoid curiosity. 4. Do not interfere in the affairs of others. 5. Accept small irritations with good humor. 6. Do not dwell on the faults of others. 7. Accept censures even if unmerited. 8. Give in to the will of others. 9. Accept insults and injuries. 10. Accept contempt, being forgotten and disregarded. 11. Be courteous and delicate even when provoked by someone. 12. Do not seek to be admired and loved. 13. Do not protect yourself behind your own dignity. 14. Give in, in discussions, even when you are right. 15. Choose always the more difficult task.
“Genuine sacred art draws man to adoration, to prayer, and to the love of God, Creator and Savior, the Holy One and Sanctifier.” —Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2502
“Lord, as we look upon the beautiful images of your Son, of Our Lady, and of the saints, help us to see beyond the images and receive the messages you speak through them. Help us to take the time to receive the gifts you promise.” Amazing Graces
Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu was born in 1910 in Skopje, Macedonia. As a teen, she joined the Sisters of Loreto and took the name Teresa. She eventually came to work as a missionary sister in India, where she taught in a Catholic school.
While traveling by train to Darjeeling for a retreat, Sr. Teresa heard her call from God to help the poorest of the poor in the streets. In 1948, she left the Sisters of Loreto, received basic medical training, and then ventured out into the streets of Calcutta. In 1949, a group of young women whom she had previously taught joined her, and in the following year the Vatican gave her permission to start the congregation of the Missionary Sisters of Charity. Her congregation grew rapidly. She opened houses in other parts of India and eventually all over the world.
Mother Teresa credited the sisters’ time before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament with their increase in vocations. The hour visits each day gave them the grace to fulfill their mission of going out into the streets and serving the poor and the sick. Mother Teresa also believed that, by visiting Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration, we join with others all over the world in praying for the peace and salvation of all the world.
In 1973, during the General Chapter of our congregation, there was a unanimous cry, “We want daily adoration of the Blessed Sacrament!”
We have much work to do for the poor. Still we have not had to cut back on our work in order to have that hour of adoration. (Often this is the excuse some people give for not having adoration every day.)
I can tell you I have seen a great change in our congregation from the day we started having adoration every day. Our love for Jesus is more intimate. Our love for each otheris more understanding. Our love for the poor is more compassionate. And we have twice as many vocations. (Amazing Graces)
Every First Friday of the month we are fortunate to have Eucharistic Adoration in the Chapel next to our Church. Also, we have a twenty-four hour Adoration Chapel on the campus at our High School. These places of opportunity to spend time with Jesus are well visited. May we visit often and see the “change” in our communities as we share a “more intimate” love for Jesus.
Today we celebrate the feast of Blessed Mother Teresa. As is my normal routine, after my daily reading I clicked to find a short story of Mother Teresa and decided to put a quote from her on my site for today. When reading through the lists, I noticed this quote and thought I might choose, “If we want a love message to be heard, it has got to be sent out. To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.” As one who tells my children things over and over and over, I loved this message of refueling, of continual burning, of sending out. But, I passed over to read more choices only to find the exact same quote two or three spaces down. Now if that’s not confirmation, I don’t know what is. And so, today we have this quote from Mother Teresa, “If we want a love message to be heard, it has got to be sent out. To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.” There is so much in this message from her today. She was definitely all about the love of Christ. She was all about His message to be heard and His love and His message to be sent out. She was all about not hiding her lamp under a bushel. She was all about refueling the lives of those she came in contact with and she was all about taking opportunity, living open to His call and loving and loving and loving. Today, spread the message of love. Light your lamps and keep them refueled. Burn brightly in the name of Christ and make a difference, if only to one person. And love. And love. And love.