Great crowds were traveling with Jesus, and he turned and addressed them…Whoever does not carry one’s own cross cannot be my disciple…Anyone of you who does not renounce all one’s possessions cannot be my disciple. Luke: 14:25-33
The good Jesuit priest Ignatius of Loyola founded the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) to be missionaries. Ignatius never got the opportunity to go on mission physically, but he was the catalyst of an order which one day would bring about a Pope Francis with a missionary and merciful zeal. Every day, Ignatius would pray before a cross in Rome these words. I imagine he also sang them:
Take Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have and possess. You have given all to me. To Thee, O Lord, I return it. All is yours, dispose of it wholly according to your will. Give me only your love and your grace, for this is sufficient for me.
When couples marry, a man and a woman leave their parents and become one. In reality, they say those words St. Ignatius used: “Take and receive all my liberty, all I have and possess. Your love is enough for me.”
When a newborn is presented to parents, parents say to their children: “Take and receive all my liberty, all I have and possess. Your love is enough for me.” Beyond the anxieties, they said these words to each of us.
When we are ordained priests or enter religious life, it is not all blessings and bliss. We say to the people of God, “Take and receive all my liberty, all I have and possess. Your love is enough for me.”
So, when we assess what we will need to complete the most essential successes in life, those that manifest our love, whether we understand or not, the outlay will be all we have and possess. Discipleship is of course one of those successes that require us to be “all in for love.”
This weekend our Holy Catholic Church officially proclaimed what the whole world already knows: Mother Teresa of Calcutta is a saint. Having worked with the sisters in Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica and Guatemala, I know all of her sisters are saints who gave everything and received everything they need from God.
She once said, “Look at your hands; you have five fingers. Every morning ask yourself what you will do today for the Lord with these five fingers. At night do the same thing and ask what you will do for Jesus and humanity tomorrow.”
In the parables of the tower and the king preparing for war, Jesus reminds us that we do not live the life of God by accident, that to live our baptisms demands focused attention and deliberate action, courage, faith and hope and love.
Now Jesus is on the cross and says these words to each of us:
Take Beloved, receive… all I have and possess;
My memory, understanding, my entire will.
Give me only your love and your grace, that’s enough for me.
Your love and your grace are enough for me.
Jesus is simply waiting for our response. Jesus is waiting for us to say “Yes” to his invitation to join him on the Cross. This Cross has built more than bridges, but love to shelter us for eternity.
Mother Teresa suggested a “Simple Path,” for humanity to thrive (let’s say it together)
The fruit of SILENCE is
The fruit of prayer is
The fruit of faith is
The fruit of love is
The fruit of service is
PEACE…That would truly be good news!
On the night that Mother Teresa died, September 5, 1997, I had a dream. I wrote the following in my journal that morning.
Mother Teresa +
forgive us God
for all this pomp
tell her we love her
and push us and gently guide us
to get back to work
and quench the thirst
of Jesus on the Cross
a dream I had last night
that I entered a special
and privileged group
everything was given to me
as I went from event to event
they smiled, the ones in charge
and freely gave me and my companions
everything we needed
I was very distressed…
like something was expected
i had to earn my keep… pay back
i became angry in my dream
at these people who gave me things
i tried to ask them what they wanted in return
just a dumb smile
I was looking for the hitch
nobody gives anything without
and then I got it
they were the rich who gave a lot
they were in charge
and wouldn’t look into our eyes
touch our sores
we were the poorest of poor
and they were satisfied
when we are so grateful for their sharing…
which wasn’t totally true love… free of guilt
and then I woke up immediately recognizing how rich I am.
snatched with this thought…
Holy Spirit smiling
and Jesus smiling.
Jesus gives to all… the same plain bread and wine
some places in the world can’t afford the wine
but that’s okay
Working with the Sisters of Charity
they eat what the poor eat
Cities of Joy
Haiti, Jamaica, Guatemala, Cuba
Nigeria, Cameroon, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Tanzania, Mexico, Ghana, Liberia, Los Angeles, Jacksonville, New York, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, Panama, El Salvador….
They are there!
Jesus cries out from the Cross: