John 1:26 describes Jesus as “One standing among you—unknown to you.” A priest asked this week: “How often do we fail to recognize Jesus in front of us, when we least expect to see him?”
Ouch. Yes—that would be me. Instead of seeing a trying moment as a chance to see Jesus, I too-often take it personally and get prickly with someone I know well. Or I am too afraid or lazy to encounter Christ on the street in one who smells bad or is mentally ill, even when I sense a prod from the Holy Spirit to say a kind word.
Love doesn’t cost anything but my fear and pride.
I just finished reading Come Be My Light. It’s Mother (now Saint) Teresa’s letters to her spiritual directors and sisters, woven into a narrative by one of the priests who knew her well.
Mother’s focus was always on Jesus distressingly disguised as people we’d rather not love. She felt the urgency of relieving His thirst (for love of souls) on the Cross by enabling Him to vent his love, through her, to a person in need—right now, this minute—in whatever way she could do it, inadequate as that may have felt.
“[John] saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, there is the Lamb of God.’ And the two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus. (Jn 1:29).”
The two disciples had Jesus right in front of them and did not recognize Him until John opened his mouth. Mother Teresa made it her business to recognize Jesus in everyone. We can pray that God gives us the gift of recognizing Him, especially in those we find hardest to love. That includes everyone we tend to feel superior to!
Mother Teresa said, “[Conflict] is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.” That is, if I’m upset or hurt, I should bring it to God first so my response will be free of selfishness. In Come Be My Light, the Saint of Calcutta shows me that I was born to show Jesus’ love to everyone, regardless of my feelings.
The greatest hurt
Many say that Jesus’ greatest suffering was that of having His love thrown back in His face by so many for whom He was about to die. It’s true, isn’t it, that when our love is rejected it hurts more than anything else? He experienced this on an unimaginable scale. The priest’s question haunts me: When have I rejected showing someone the love Jesus’ has shown to me? Mother Teresa spent her life venting His love to the unloved to relieve his thirst on the Cross. Come Be My Light teaches me by example how to do that.
Click on the book title below to learn more (this post contains affiliate links, which means that at no cost to you, Virtue Connection may make a small commission if a purchase is made):
Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light: The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta
Merry Christmas and happy 2018 Rose!
This is an excellent piece and many thanks for recommending this book! I’ve placed an order.
Ouch for me too! My pride always seems to get in the way of not seeing Christ in people especially those I work with; so I hope reading will St. Theresa’s book will strengthen me in this area.
Please keep up the good work!
God bless you and keep you!
Yes, let’s make 2018 the best one ever — may He increase and we decrease.
There is a nuts and bolts aspect to being a Catholic which I learned from the short pragmatic homilies at the 6:30am daily Mass. They were, owing to their brevity, marching orders about seeing Jesus in others and caring for them. They were perfect messages for people on their way to work.
If I stay on message I can see it as a job with a paycheck (a guy thing). If I practice it diligently I do a better job and receive a bigger paycheck which I see as grace. Of course grace is a gift, but it’s my job to make myself ready to receive it. And you know what? I feel a whole lot better too.
My favorite definition of grace is “the very life of God” — grace is the ultimate paycheck!
COMMENT THAT ARRIVED VIA EMAIL:
I love the art selection Rose.
I find the key and therefore also the stumbling block is to always think first of Jesus rather than myself (or my emotions/reactions) in all situations. For St Mother Theresa, thinking of Jesus first was like breathing; ongoing and automatic. She consciously lived and breathed and had her being in Him.
Thank you Rose for the gift of your blog.
Whenever I am tempted to reject someone for whatever reason–their arrogance, intolerance, etc.–I try, too often unsuccessfully, to remind myself that Jesus loves him/her as much as He loves me. I had never thought of seeing Jesus in those people. You have just added another tool to the toolbelt I use to live the way I should. Happy New Year, dear friend. I look forward to continuing to follow your blog. Thank you for all you do for us!
All blessings to you and yours for 2018, Gretchen!