Mother Teresa was born in 1910 as Agnes Bojaxhiu in Skopje, Albania, now Macedonia. She entered the Sisters of Loreto at 18, traveling to Ireland to learn English so that she could become a missionary in India where her ministry was to teach lessons in English. After about twenty years in India she found herself questioning her ministry and the focus of her true calling. She experienced a ‘call within a call,’ as she described it, which led her to leave her congregation and to begin picking up the poorest of the poor out of the gutters in the most disgusting, filthy slums imaginable in Kolkata, taking them off the streets and helping them to die with dignity. She took the most unloved, abandoned people, at first mostly Hindu, and gave them a clean place to die with someone to care about them and for them. She took the forgotten and helped them to feel remembered. Amidst adversity, she soon attracted some followers who helped her in the work of helping the poorest of the poor, eventually founding the Missionaries of Charity.
May we ask for the intercession of St. Teresa of Kolkata especially when we feel like we are in darkness! May we pray for St. Teresa’s intercession that we might be moved to help the poor among us, whether they are in material, emotional, or spiritual poverty! May we imitate St. Teresa in taking on the challenge of reaching out to those who are different than we are, especially the marginalized, so that we can help one person at a time to come to peace and healing! May we realize that our efforts, small or large, do elicit change, even if we do not see the results! May we learn to do small things with great love, just as Jesus taught us in His gospel message! And may we offer our efforts to Jesus as an act of love, that He may use our hands, feet, and hearts as His own to minister to His beloved people! Let us continue to meet in the Heart of Jesus! Peace!
©Michele L. Catanese
Note: Next post will be Sept. 26.
The first photo was found at http://whhspatriotpress.com/3892/news/mother-teresa-made-a-saint/
The second photo is one of mine, an unknown insect sitting on the leaf of a potted plant outside the information center in Anacostia Park in Washington, DC. It actually struck me as a whimsical photo at the time I took it, but I chose to use it here because it seemed to fit the theme of noticing that which many others do not notice. The insect is actually quite vibrant and beautiful in its own way, (even for one like me who does not have a particular fondness for insects.) Yet of all the photos I took that day, this remains my favorite. It goes to show that with a little noticing, things do begin to look different...and that which would not originally be seen as beautiful, truly has its own exquisiteness and worth, transformed in the eye of the beholder.
Next is also one of my photos, taken in Orange Beach, Alabama. I chose it because it shows the shadow of an encroaching fog as it was simultaneously getting dark one evening. Without the lights on the pier there would be great danger, both for those who might walk out upon it and for boats trying to find shore. Because of the lights, the people on the beach could discern the location of the pier, as was true for the fishermen who were out on the water, though unseen in the angle of this shot. It made me see just how important light in the darkness really is. It keeps us safe.
It makes sense that after the photo of the pier I chose to use the lovely icon, Mother of God Light in All Darkness by Fr. William Hart McNichols. As intercessor, Mary leads us to her Son Jesus who is the Light of the World. In this icon we see Mary holding Jesus in her lap; in His hand is a lit candle which she is helping to shield as if from a draft (an attack?) which threatens to extinguish it. Of course, the Light of God cannot be extinguished, but symbolically we see that her prayers are important for us and offer guidance and protection. Both Mary and Jesus look outward to us in this icon; they have their eyes fixed on us, noticing what we need in the midst of any darkness which may be surrounding us, lighting the way home with mercy and love. This icon can be found at http://fineartamerica.com/featured/mother-of-god-light-in-all-darkness-016-william-hart-mcnichols.html
Finally, the last photo is also one of mine, and also taken at Kenilworth Marsh in Anacostia Park in Washington, DC. It shows lotus plants blooming in the ponds with their massive leaves open toward the light of the sun. Many of the flowers are not yet in bloom, but rather are still buds. But the light will do its work and assist in their flowering. I chose this because the lotus is often associated with India and with spirituality: these seem to be showing us that we need light to blossom so that what is small can become great in the eyes of God. That is, our works may seem insignificant to us, but to God they are magnificent works of mercy and love, especially because we are bringing Jesus to His people.