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