Sometimes in life one comes across nuggets of gold. And it is always a joy. At the Seminary in Yona, I picked up recently a small booklet, Come Be My Light, which impressed me by the intensity of the emotions expressed and the beauty of the faith it revealed. It was written by Sister Nirmala Joshi, the Superior General who took the place of Mother Teresa of Calcutta after her death.
This booklet speaks of miracles, miracles of love. "God is in love with us and keeps using you and me to light the light of love in the world". I still remember Mother Teresa saying these words in a packed Basilica in Rome. "Let His light of truth be in your life so that God can continue loving the world through you and me. Put your heart into being a bright light."
A man, who had to live a wretched life, was picked up by Mother Teresa and brought to one of her homes. As he was dying, he told her 'I lived like an animal on the street, but I am dying like an angel, loved and cared for.'
Love cannot wait. Carlo is a young man from Rome, Italy. He was married. Two children. For a long time he volunteered his services in one of the homes for the sick in Calcutta. Now he was dying of cancer. He phoned Sister Nirmala asking her to pray for him. Sister told him, 'Why don't we pray for healing?' He was young. He had a family. His answer was transparent, "Sister, I am going to God. You pray for me." Sister Nirmala was very much touched by these words. She prayed for him very specially that night. The next morning she got a call from his brother saying that Carlo went home to God in deep peace that very night.
"Works of love are works of peace." A little boy, who had heard that abandoned children in a home in Calcutta, India had no sugar, did not eat sugar for a whole week. Instead he collected it and brought it to Mother for these children. The poor children in a home in Gujarat, Western India gave up their Christmas dresses and had them brought to Mother in Calcutta. "Give them to the poor children in the slums and the streets of the city," they - extremely poor themselves - told her!
Newly married couples from Europe and the States travel to Calcutta to spend their honeymoon serving in the homes for the dying and handicapped. A couple friends of mine curtailed all the expenses on their wedding feast so that they could make a significant donation to the poor...
This happened in Australia. An alcoholic man was beaten by another man. When the police insisted for the name of the culprit, he refused to give it. When the police left, the Sisters asked him why he declined to give up the name. His answer was amazing in its simplicity. "His suffering is not going to make my suffering less". He forgave his brother! The Face of God is love.
Love challenges us to give until it hurts. While on their way to help a sick woman, three missionary sisters were shot in Yemen in the Arabian peninsula. Sister Nirmala asked her council whether they should close that foundation. They all answered in one voice that they should continue.
Six Missionary Sisters who chose to remain with the poor were taken hostage in Sierra Leone, Western Africa. Four of them were shot. Three died on the spot while the fourth one before dying, forgave the one who shot her and prevented him from being killed. She died two weeks later of her gunshot injuries.
And these real life stories of simple heroism continue…
The secret is powerful and accessible. "We will not be able to sustain our life of love for the poor and the forgotten if we are not souls of prayer, silence, contemplation, asceticism and compassion. That is why Mother spent an hour and a half each morning in prayer, meditation and the Eucharistic sacrifice. Mother also spent one hour in adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament in order to receive divine love, light and energy…."
An Aids victim from Argentina, South America, was taken to one of her homes, already very sick and depressed. As he began to recover slowly, he started helping the Sisters and also showing a great love towards Mary. One day he was heard praying, "My Mother, my Queen, I had pleasure in the women of the world. They were my delight, but I gained nothing but emptiness and sickness. My Mother, I give you my heart and my soul, my whole being. In you, I find peace and joy. I have found the most beautiful Lady of my life!" He had just found Tenderness.
"The more you are intimately in love with Jesus, the more holy you will become. The more holy you become, the more you will be a channel of His love, compassion and presence to the poor." These words of Mother Teresa are clear and loud. Do you hear them?!
(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.