11-07-2021Weekly Reflection© LPi

On December 10, 1979, a very petite holy woman known as Mother Teresa of Calcutta spoke these words in her Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech, “But I am sure in the families and many of our homes, maybe we are not hungry for a piece of bread, but maybe there is somebody there in the family who is unwanted, unloved, uncared, forgotten, there isn’t love. Love begins at home. And love to be true has to hurt. I never forget a little child who taught me a very beautiful lesson. They heard in Calcutta, the children, that Mother Teresa had no sugar for her children, and this little one, Hindu boy four years old, he went home and he told his parents: I will not eat sugar for three days, I will give my sugar to Mother Teresa. How much a little child can give. After three days they brought into our house, and there was this little one who could scarcely pronounce my name, he loved with great love, he loved until it hurt. And this is what I bring before you, to love one another until it hurts, but don’t forget that there are many children, many children, many men and women who haven’t got what you have. And remember to love them until it hurts.”

Living authentically and walking with holiness always involves sacrifice. It has to hurt. Only actions springing from true and deep sacrifice demonstrate true integrity. Without sacrifice, even what is apparently a generous gesture can be nothing. It is no wonder that the widow who contributed from her poverty received great admiration from Jesus and the young child in our story above the interest of Mother Teresa. It is easy to make the houses of our lives look like they are in perfect order when in fact they are in shambles within. Religion can sometimes make this hypocritical masquerade easy to accomplish. We can find ourselves in all the right holy places, reciting all of the correct prayers, participating in community collections, and reciting the proper doctrines only to find ourselves empty, shallow, self-focused, and overly anxious about personal concerns.

The one who learns to discover their inner poverty, their spiritual poverty, is the only one who can truly place him or herself at the mercy of God. It is only when we allow ourselves to be empty that we realize Who we actually need to fill us. This is the real meaning of trust. Many of us are afraid to take the plunge. We allow ourselves to detach from only so much, always keeping a watchful eye on the protection of our securities. We understand the value of poverty, but we do not want to become too poor. As long as we are able to recognize this tension, our reluctance to let go and our struggle, we can continue our journey of humbly learning how to love so deeply that it hurts. God understands and waits.