I picked the above up from church yesterday. It’s a simple sticker that says, “Beyond Your Selfie.” As I looked at it I thought…this should be everyone’s life motto. Take a moment and consider living in such a world. It would almost be heaven on earth.
Mother Teresa is one who definitely lived beyond her “selfie.” If you haven’t seen it, you should really watch the movie, The Letters. This movie is based on the true account of Mother Teresa’s life. It’s amazing what this woman did as a result of her love for Jesus and her love for the outcast. Other than Jesus, I dare say, not another human being has lived a life with such compassion in their heart.
Gonxha Agnes Bojaxhiu, who would later be called Mother Teresa, left her home at the young age of 18 to live the life of a missionary. From then, until her death at 87 years old, this dear lady served the Christ she loved. During that time span, Mary Teresa wrote many letters and within these letters there are glimpses of her that she never wanted the world to see. Before her death she expressed her desire that these letters be destroyed, but thankfully they were kept safe and are now published for all to read in the The Private Writings of the “Saint of Calcutta” . The writings are extremely personal and it seems as if her heart bleeds upon every page. The following is one such letter in which she is asking the Archbishop for permission to live among the poorest of poor in India…I hope it touches your heart as it did mine…
“From the age of 5 1/2 years,-when first I received Him [Jesus]-the love for souls has been within. It grew with the years-until I came to India-with the hope of saving many souls.”
“Your Grace, let me go, and give myself for them, let me offer myself and those who will join me for those unwanted poor, the little street children, the sick, the dying, the beggars, let me go into their very holes and bring in their broken homes the joy and peace of Christ. I know you are afraid for me. You are afraid that the whole of this will be a failure.-What about it? Is it not worth going through every possible suffering just for one single soul? Did not Our Lord do the same: what a failure was His Cross on Calvary-and all for me, a sinner.
I can tell you sincerely from my heart, I will lose nothing. From my Superiors down, I know they will laugh at me. They will think me a fool, proud, mad etc. What if the good God wants my name? I am His and His only.-The rest have no hold on me. I can do without all the rest if I have Him. Fear not for me-nor for those who will join me-He will look after us all. He will be with us.-If for a glass of water, He has promised so much, what would He not do for victim hearts given to the poor? He will do all. I, I am only a little instrument in His hands, and because I am just nothing, He wants to use me.
Your Grace, don’t let me be unfaithful to Him now…Day after day, hour after hour, He [Jesus] asks the same question: “Wilt thou refuse to do this for Me?” Let me go, your Grace- let us trust Him blindly.-He will see to it that our faith in Him will not be lost. Don’t delay, Your Grace, don’t put it off. Souls are being lost for want of care, for want of love…
I feel sometimes afraid, for I have nothing, no brains, no learning, no qualities required for such a work, and yet I tell Him that my heart is free from everything and so it belongs completely to Him, and Him alone. He can use me just as it will please Him best. To please Him only is the joy I seek.
You will say, what could you and your few Indian girls do? We could do nothing, but Jesus and we few victims can do wonders. Let me go and begin this work…I don’t know if the Holy Ghost has filled your soul with those desires and thoughts, for I am praying that He should do so. During these days of prayer and penance, pray for, pray often, that I may love Him more.
Your devoted child in J.C. [Jesus Christ]
[March 30, 1947]
Against much opposition, the Archbishop granted her permission to live among the poor and dying, and this she did for the rest of her life.
According to Hebrews 12:1-2, we are surrounded by a “great cloud” of witnesses…such great ones as Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Rahab and many other heroes of the faith. I have no doubt that Mother Teresa is also among them. Paul encourages us to take strength in this knowledge. Our heroes, who’ve already run their race, are with us and they are cheering us on! Paul put’s it like this, as paraphrased by the ERV, “We have all these great people around us as examples. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we, too, should run the race that is before us and never quit. We should remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that so often makes us fall. We must never stop looking to Jesus. He is the leader of our faith, and he is the one who makes our faith complete.”
One day our race will be over. The time to run is now. So let us, with confidence, lace up our sneakers, lay aside any weight, look to Jesus who is at the finish line and run like we’ve never run before!
On Your Mark…Get Set….Go!
Daily Prayer: Lord, give me eyes to see, a heart that breaks, and a faith that takes action. I realize my faith without good works might as well be dead, because it serves to do nothing to help the hurting. Thank you Lord, for the testimonies of those who’ve gone on before me. Thank you for the life and faith of Mother Teresa…it inspires me so much. I want to know you as intimately as she did. Help me to fall more in love with you every day. In Jesus name, Amen.
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We should look beyond Selfie and there is bigger world which is always in need of our small contributions!
In 1987 my former wife and I went to Asha Daan in what was then Bombay, India. This facility was set up and run by Mother Teresa’s order to care for the dying people and children on the streets of the city. We spent a week in the city and came home with a young boy named Nishakant. He had spina bifida and was very sick with infections in his stunted legs that went right down into his bones. It took months to heal, including many hospitalizations. What those nuns do in India is nothing short of angelic. Thank you for sharing this letter from 40 years prior to our visit. It really sets the context for what we saw.
Wow…thank you for your reflection of India. I would love to go and see it too. I’m presently reading The Private Writings of the “Saint of Calcutta”… I think you would like it. Thank you so much for your response. Blessings and Peace