Monday, September 5, 2016

The Only Adequate Response amid Political and Cultural Confusion

“Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses
than to teachers,
and if he does listen to teachers,
it is because they are witnesses.”

(Bl. Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, n. 41)

Chas Fagan's St. Teresa of Kolkata

The witness of our newest St. Teresa is simple but provocative: It was the decision to do little things with great love--for the Lord's beloved least, those who are most undesirable and most unwanted.

The great love with which Mother Teresa rattled the world was simply a matter of willing the good of those who are most in need.  It was a matter of loving those who are most Other, those who are most despised, those who are most easily dismissed and discarded.

This is the answer in a world seemingly turned upside down and inside out.  It is the necessary and sufficient Response to increasing turmoil; it is the only way to right-size the disorders of our day. 

Indeed, the way of self-sacrificing love changes everything it touches.  It provides a piercing new perspective on those whom we may have previously feared or written off or ignored.

So, in honor of St. Teresa of Kolkata, perhaps we might consider naming those whom are the least in the world as we see it today.  Are they: 
  • immigrants and refugees?  
  • the elderly or the unborn or the incarcerated?  
  • the unemployed or the underemployed?
  • the homeless or the home-bound? 
  • those trying to survive in violent neighborhoods or in failing schools?
  • the disabled or those with special needs of any kind?
  • addicts of all kinds?
If we actually dared to identify those most in danger of being dismissed as "unclean" or "unworthy," then we would be poised to find some small thing to do on their behalf.  If we could do just one small thing with great love, we would walk the path of Mother Teresa, sharing the love of Jesus with those on the margins.

Perhaps it would be praying for our these little ones of the Lord--it's a spiritual work of mercy, after all.  Perhaps it would be finding some way to learn more about their perspective or their challenges, to find points of contact where we might make some small gesture of solidarity on their behalf.

Isn't it time to take measure of our love?  If it is to be truly Christian love, then it cannot stop with our family and friends. Indeed, to paraphrase a quote from St. Francis de Sales, one which Mother Teresa seemed to embody: "The measure of love is to will the good of the Other, without measure."

St. Teresa of Kolkata, pray for us!

P.S. Mark your calendars for Friday, 9.9.16, and join Catholics around the U.S. in a small gesture filled with great love--a National Day of Prayer for peace in our communities!