Mother Teresa, who served the poorest of the poor in Calcutta, India said, “Stay where you are. Find your own Calcutta. Find the sick, the suffering, and the lonely right where you are — in your own homes and in your own families, in your workplaces and in your schools. You can find Calcutta all over the world, if you have the eyes to see. Everywhere, wherever you go, you find people who are unwanted, unloved, uncared for, just rejected by society — completely forgotten, completely left alone.”
I think it’s easy to forget as eager people trying to do big things for the Lord our truest calling: to love. That means right now. Here, where you are. She’s saying if you can spread the Gospel to kids far away, you can spread the Gospel to your friends. If you can build a house in Mexico, you surely can clean your house and help your parents. Yeah, I know. The truth can be sassy sometimes.
Where do we Love?
It blows my mind to think that God in His great wisdom placed me right here. He could have chosen me to be any other person, in any decade, in any family, in any other country, etc .– but it was here that He carefully placed me. Whatever state of life I’m in, whatever place I’m in, my vocation is to love. Not down the road. But today, right now.
So we must find our Calcutta, our little place of love. But frankly, that little place of love probably has already found you. It’s the places we’re already in. Our Calcutta is our dining room tables, our classrooms, the grocery store, the soccer field, our local soup kitchen. For Bl. Giorgio Frassiti, his Calcutta was the pool hall. Being skilled at pool, Frassati would go and bet his friends saying, “If you win I’ll pay you money, if I win you come to the holy hour with me at the cathedral.”
Your Calcutta might not be the same as Mother Teresa’s or Bl. Giorgio Frassati’s, and that’s a beautiful thing. God has placed you in a position, with your joys, your past, and your gifts, to love like no one else can. One place is not better than the other. We’ll have many Calcuttas because the call to doesn’t seize when we get home from school. It’s 24/7. And our Calcuttas will change and evolve.
Why do we Love?
The heart of Mother Teresa’s words is based on the fact that each one of us has immeasurable worth. We are sacred and precious. But the fact is that all of us, in some way, have a destructive gap between how we see ourselves and how God sees us — sacred and His beloved.
While our worth is unshakable, our circumstances and the ways others have treated us can move us far from the truth of how God sees us.
Think about the girl at school who no one talks to,
The person that you sent a 3 paragraph text message filled with piercing words,
The person who has same sex attraction,
The family member who everyone is resentful towards because the mistakes they’ve made,
The person who is known for their hook ups,
The homeless person who talks to himself,
The person with Down’s syndrome…
How do they see themselves? Do they see their lives as valuable and worthy? Do they feel like they’re seen, known, and lovable? Maybe not. And this is a tragedy.
Our mission with every single person we talk to is to help them move closer to how God sees them — even if it’s just by a little bit. We must somehow reveal and capture their human dignity by the way we encounter them.
We need Saints of (insert your hometown here)
Mother Teresa didn’t build a hospital. She didn’t convert all of India to Catholicism. Yet she’s a saint because she loved the people God entrusted to her, holding nothing back and not counting the cost.
But the truth is St. Mother Teresa isn’t there to feed the hungry in your neighborhood. St. Thomas Aquinas isn’t there sitting in your classroom to speak Truth. St. John Paul II isn’t there to reclaim the beauty of our sexuality in your friend groups. It’s you. You’re who God put in your neighborhood, your school, and your community to be a saint.
There are eyes that need to be looked at right now. Voices that need to be heard. Broken hearts that need to be held. The Holy Spirit’s is always ready to call you do the wild and challenging, but we can miss that thinking our call to love is a future or a different one. So friends let’s stop looking to do radical things, but instead let’s love radically.