|The Absinthe Drinkers|
by Edgar Degas - Google Art Project
In a way, Therese is the saint of urbane (or at least urban) darkness of the kind illustrated by Degas, while Teresa was called by Jesus to "be My light" in the dark hovels of material poverty and destitution.
That invitation of Jesus to the then-Loretto sister Teresa has an interesting quality. He called to her, "Come, be My light." Not "Go to the poor and be My light for them," but "Come" as if to say, "Come to Me where I am, in the dark hovels of the poor and you be My light." It is very similar to the invitation Blessed James Alberione received in "a time of particular darkness": "From here [the Tabernacle] I want to enlighten" in the sense that "I am your light, and I want to use you to enlighten others."
|From our new comic book on St Teresa.|
There is something very profound in this call to "be light." To "be light" is to be Jesus for the people we are with. I think this gives an answer to those pitiful critics who accuse Mother Teresa of betraying souls by not seeking the deathbed conversions of those she and her sisters cared for. (Yes, there really are people who think that Mother Teresa was effectively dispatching people to hell.) This is mistaking words for deeds, like the fundamentalists who buttonhole strangers to ask "Are you saved?" and are satisfied if their targets recite the sinner's prayer. Maybe Mother Teresa and her sisters know something that the anxious soul-savers do not know: that "whatever you do for the least, you do for Me" (Mt 25:40) is real, and that just as the Missionary of Charity serves Jesus in the poor, the poor are able to see Jesus in them: Jesus who is "in your midst as one who serves" (Lk 22:27). (If the poor are "meeting Jesus" are they not being evangelized?)
Mother Teresa is becoming for me a sign of what God can do with a single person who places herself fully at God's disposition. God can do the same amount of good in us, even if it is hidden from us and everyone else. Don't know how to place yourself at God's disposition? The Morning Offering is one place to start, and then there's always Offer it up!: practically a secret code for this mysterious grace that can expand and transform the world when just one person gives God free access to their life.
Are you ready to be His light in the world?