We find ourselves presently betwixt some very significant dates in the life of our beloved St. Mother Teresa. August 26th, she was born. September 4th, she was canonized. Sept. 5th is the anniversary of her death and her feast day; and September 10, 1946 was her “inspiration day.” She was on a train from Calcutta to Darjeeling, when she heard Jesus’ cry from the Cross: “I thirst.” In these words, she received her “call within a call” to “quench the infinite thirst of Jesus on the Cross for love and souls” by “laboring at the salvation and sanctification of the poorest of the poor.”
I am currently in the midst of a Mother Teresa novena. It is beautiful in its simplicity and full heartedness, with a daily excerpt from the saint’s letter, “I Thirst.” These words and the passionate, erotic LOVE embedded in the Sacred Heart from which they spring, is our deepest source, our surest refuge, our forever home. These words pierce our hearts from the Heart that was pierced for us. This Love that is infinite, that overwhelms my smallness, yet stoops to scoop me up right here in my littleness, in my today-ness and here-ness of my life and thirsting heart.
In 2010, I received the amazing blessing of being able to visit Mother Teresa’s home in Calcutta, with a dear friend. Anyone can pray and volunteer with the Missionaries of Charity! Some go for a week, some for a year, some remain their whole lives because they discover a path worth living. Some return home to their families and friends, to love them with the thirst of Christ, with the attentiveness of Mother Mary.
All throughout the corridors and stairways of the Missionaries of Charity dwelling, in the chapel where Mother Teresa huddled in deep contemplation amidst her dark night lit so bright, are the words plain and simple: I THIRST next to the Crucifix. This was her life. And this is ours. The meeting place of thirsts: Jesus’ and ours.
Sometimes – many times – I don’t know how to pray. I feel I am always beginning again, always an infant in the arms of the Blessed Mother, begging, “Mama Mary, please teach me how to pray! Come, Holy Spirit!” In these words of Christ, “I thirst,” my heart continues to learn. Prayer is coming thirsty and meeting One who is thirsty. Thirsty for what? For my thirsty heart! And I? For what do I thirst? For love, for consolation, for togetherness, for peace and joy, for nourishing encounters, for a new thrust or splash of life, for fulfillment of my call, to live in God’s Divine Will with all my being. And He beckons me to come! Come drink! Drink of His Heart that is gushing with everything for which I yearn: love, consolation, togetherness, peace and joy, nourishing encounter, new splashes and gushes of life, fulfillment of my call, the adventure of living in the Divine Will. Come and drink!
So I come. I come poor. I come to my prayer times with a full day ahead of me or behind me. I come needing, aching. I come with people’s sorrows and concerns on my heart. I come with my own brokenness and lacks of love, my stumblings and fumblings. I come with gratitude for all His gratuitous love, His showing up and surprising me again! I come to Him who is here, who has come and is coming and is with me every breath.
I recently heard a quote that resonated and held my heart so completely: “Seek what you seek, and seek it in God.” I don’t have to give up what I seek! I seek to be romanced! I want romance! I want to be swept off my feet in an amazing Love! And I don’t have to give that up! I don’t have to squelch my heart or give up on the thing – the relationship – for which my deepest fibers really long! This is wonderful and happy news! I breathe a little more deeply.
And where do I find this?
I find this in Christ.
He thirsts for me with a passionate love. He is in love with me. He is drawn to me with all my foibles and silly ways and heart’s delights. He looks upon me with compassionate love, and He comes ever so close, to live with me and in me.
He seeks me, and He finds me.
Thank you, Mama T, for teaching me to stand at the Foot of the Cross with you, with Mama Mary, to drink and to quench. I THIRST with Mama T and with Thee.
Copyright 2019, Marian Veilleux