Life is always full of contrasts. As I was walking in town, I met my friend. We had not seen each other for quite a long time and he was telling me about his new job as a security guard. I was surprised however that he was protecting a building with a number of offices. “Why are you here?” I wondered. His answer surprised me. “I am not guarding the building. No, apparently the owners have a big problem with their father and I am here to make sure he does not touch foot in the premises!” I remember leaving my friend with a bitter taste in my mouth. Imagine, I said to myself, the acrimony and the bitterness that must exist between the father and his children. Why do relationships, even close ones, become so sour?
Still feeling somewhat sad, I opened a book on arriving home. And sure enough, I came across just the reverse side of human nature portrayed in a simple anecdote which Mother Teresa herself recounts. One day she was walking through the streets of Calcutta when she saw some dirty rags on the side of the road moving! She discovered a shriveled women lying on the road, extremely sick and weak. He picked her up and took her home, gave her a warm bath and started her on medications.
But soon she realized that it was too late. The woman was dying and so she took her on her lap and started feeding her some warm broth. The woman, obviously touched by this sudden burst of tenderness, whispered, “Sister, why are you doing this?” Mother Teresa answered simply, “Because I love you!” A bright light echoed through the body of this frail woman and her faded eyes suddenly acquired some kind of color. “Oh! Can you say that again?” “I am doing this because I love you,” Mother repeated clearly and firmly.
“Say it. Say it again!” The dying woman squeezed the hand of Mother and tried to pull her to herself so that she could hear more distinctly these words which for her obviously meant a lot.
“I shall never forget Lourdes. In front of the grotto where Our Lady appeared, I have seen many many beautiful things. But one of them has remained deeply imprinted in my mind and in my heart. I heard a sick person, very much in pain, who was praying just besides me, saying: Holy Virgin, do not pay attention to me and my sufferings. Cure the others!”
I have been in Lourdes three times. I always se the same miracle – pain that sings! Love has that ability – to transform even pain into a song.
Man can live without food but he cannot live without love. We need love desperately. We need to love and to be loved. The issue is that not all loves are the same and not all loves are so good. Like food. I need to eat but not all food is beneficial for me – for a diabetic, sweets are poison, for one who has cholesterol, fats are a killer. Human love in all its beauty and persuaviness can never really satisfy us. It is a reflection of a more powerful and better Love. Experiencing His love is the first and crucial step.
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.