Wednesday, December 21, 2011

More from: Finding Calcutta

I get caught sometimes between the radical nature of following Christ and a society which depends upon money to make things work.  We in the church seem to have bought into the money thing--we believe we have to have more and more money to accomplish God's work.  Here's how Poplin describes the complete opposite of this when she worked with  the Missionaries of Charity:

She [Mother Teresa] believed the Missionaries were only able to do the work they do by the power, love, and mercy of God.  I came to understand why this must be true.  Most social workers--liek me in my early adult years--move in and out of private middle class lives to serve the poor, generally receiving payment for the work.  By contrast, the Missionaries live the lives of the poor.  Their everyday routine is feeding, cleaning and tending the sick, dying, and the poorest of the poor--with no salary.  No abstract system of food stamps or special programs supplement their efforts.  To me, the work would have soon become boring, physically grueling and even discouraging, but not for them.  Mother Teresa said, "A Christian is a tabernacle of the living God."  That is the way they saw their work--as him "dwelling in them."  She also said, "I wouldn't touch a leper for a thousand pounds; yet I willingly care for him for the love of God."

...I thought of how differently I frame my life than these sisters even though I am a Christian.  I forget that God wants to make his home with me, direct my steps and give me his power to do his will.  I often think I chose my own work by my good sense and careful control of circumstances, rather than that God formed me for specific purposes.  I flatter myself that it is out of my goodness that I do things for others.  Nevertheless, when I am most honest, I confess that many of the "good" things I do are really as much or more for me than for those to whom they are given.  I find it hard to live out what the apostle Paul said, "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives within me."  --pp. 32-33
Okay.  I'm guilty. 

Lord, change me.

2 comments:

Kathy said...

"They" say it's kind of like stepping off a cliff; or letting go, with your big toe, of the edge of the deep end of a swimming pool.

But before we can truly serve God, we have to "let go" -- especially of "that one thing" stuck in our hearts -- and each one of us, individually and personally, knows what it is.

Kathy said...

I know it is Christmas -- a time for "Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men" -- not a time for controversy and polemics... but, I think if the Bible were written today, the herald angels would say: "Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Persons: Male, Female, Other. Check one."

You have just written 2 posts about Mother Teresa. In an earlier post about Authority you wrote, quoting: "Therefore the spiritual authority of Jesus is an authority not found in a position or a title, but in a towel."

This is very interesting. You may have identified one of the central problems in the Church. The key word is "spiritual." There is a difference between spiritual authority and ecclesial authority.

Just because Mother Teresa is the greatest servant doesn't mean she should be Pope.