Do you know that Jesus is thirsting for your love?

| Bishop Andrew Cozzens | September 8, 2016
Pope Francis has approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed Teresa of Kolkata, paving the way for her canonization in 2016. Mother Teresa is seen during a visit to Phoenix, Ariz., in 1989. CNS/Nancy Wiechec

Pope Francis has approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed Teresa of Kolkata, paving the way for her canonization in 2016. Mother Teresa is seen during a visit to Phoenix, Ariz., in 1989. CNS/Nancy Wiechec

On Sept. 4, Pope Francis gave the Church an incredible gift of a new saint: St. Teresa of Kolkata — arguably one of the world’s most famous people when she died. Besides receiving the Nobel Peace Prize and honorary degrees from places like Harvard, she also opened houses to serve the poor on every continent and founded a new religious community that today numbers more than 5,000 and is still growing.

How is it that this small, Albanian missionary, who started by walking alone through the streets of Kolkata picking up dying people to show them love in the last minutes of their lives, ended up becoming an icon for God’s merciful love and captured the attention of the world? What made her different from so many other famous people?

Most people say it was the fire of love that burned in her heart. That fire came in prayer when she was in her 30s. While she was already a religious sister deeply in love with Jesus, she experienced Jesus’ thirst on the cross. Following more prayer and discernment, she founded the Missionaries of Charity “to satiate the infinite thirst of Jesus on the cross for love and for souls.”

Mother Teresa did not just serve the poor. She went and lived among them, becoming one of them. She heard Jesus say to her in her prayer: “My little one, come. Come carry me into the holes of the poor. Come, be my light. I cannot go alone. They don’t know me, so they don’t want me. You come, go amongst them. Carry me with you into them. How I long to enter their holes, their dark, unhappy homes. Come, be their victim. In your immolation, in your love for me, they will see me, know me, want me. Offer more sacrifices, smile more tenderly, pray more fervently, and all the difficulties will disappear.”

The fire that drove St. Teresa of Kolkata and made her a saint was something deeper than that natural human desire we all have to do good. That desire is a reflection of a deeper truth that Jesus shows us. We were made to give our lives away for love, and only when we truly make a gift of our lives will we be happy. Mother Teresa did what she did because of a profound encounter with the love of Jesus, an encounter that changed her, an encounter that she sought to renew every day through daily Mass and adoration.  She came to know how deeply Jesus thirsted for her love, and she desired to satiate his thirst with her life. She used to say that we weren’t really giving unless we give until it hurts, because love must cost us something. Her life invites us to the same experience — to encounter the same love.

Do you know that Jesus is thirsting for you? Have you experienced his thirst in prayer? St. Teresa of Kolkata once wrote to her sisters, “Until you can hear Jesus in the silence of your own heart, you will not be able to hear him saying, ‘I Thirst’ in the hearts of the poor.”

¿Sabes que Jesús tiene sed de ti?

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Category: Only Jesus

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