In the Gospel for this Sunday (Luke 16:1-13) Jesus challenges each of us to choose to believe in Jesus and strive to be the best of friends with Him so as to be truly wealthy. In this passage Jesus compares the attitude of those who are savvy about gaining an advantage in worldly things to the common attitude of those who are seeking God. Sometimes those who choose to follow God, for a variety of reasons, are not willing to try to really know Him or are not willing to trust in His goodness. The root of this fickle attitude is rooted in the tendency of the soul to be willing to serve some purpose or someone other than God. Our decision to believe in God and serve Him must be decisive: “No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon.” (Luke 16:13)
To be decisive in our decision for God means to daily choose to live in the will of God and to make conversion to His will the center of one’s life. Conversion always has a practical, human side. Due to our fallen human nature, it is way too easy for us creatures to deceive ourselves into thinking that words are enough to show our choice for God. No, our choice for God must be demonstrated by our actions.
When thinking of examples of making trusting decisions to following our Lord, I am reminded of St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
Here is summary of her call to work solely for the poorest of the poor and establish the Missionaries of Charity in the world:
“At the age of eighteen, moved by a desire to become a missionary, Gonxha left her home in September 1928 to join the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, known as the Sisters of Loreto, in Ireland. There she received the name Sister Mary Teresa after St. Thérèse of Lisieux. In December, she departed for India, arriving in Calcutta on 6 January 1929. After making her First Profession of Vows in May 1931, Sister Teresa was assigned to the Loreto Entally community in Calcutta and taught at St. Mary's School for girls. On 24 May 1937, Sister Teresa made her Final Profession of Vows, becoming, as she said, the "spouse of Jesus" for "all eternity." From that time on she was called Mother Teresa. She continued teaching at St. Mary's and in 1944 became the school's principal. A person of profound prayer and deep love for her religious sisters and her students, Mother Teresa's twenty years in Loreto were filled with profound happiness. Noted for her charity, unselfishness and courage, her capacity for hard work and a natural talent for organization, she lived out her consecration to Jesus, in the midst of her companions, with fidelity and joy.
On 10 September 1946 during the train ride from Calcutta to Darjeeling for her annual retreat, Mother Teresa received her "inspiration," her "call within a call." On that day, in a way she would never explain, Jesus' thirst for love and for souls took hold of her heart and the desire to satiate His thirst became the driving force of her life. Over the course of the next weeks and months, by means of interior locutions and visions, Jesus revealed to her the desire of His heart for "victims of love" who would "radiate His love on souls." "Come be My light," He begged her. "I cannot go alone." He revealed His pain at the neglect of the poor, His sorrow at their ignorance of Him and His longing for their love. He asked Mother Teresa to establish a religious community, Missionaries of Charity, dedicated to the service of the poorest of the poor. Nearly two years of testing and discernment passed before Mother Teresa received permission to begin. On August 17, 1948, she dressed for the first time in a white, blue-bordered sari and passed through the gates of her beloved Loreto convent to enter the world of the poor.
After a short course with the Medical Mission Sisters in Patna, Mother Teresa returned to Calcutta and found temporary lodging with the Little Sisters of the Poor. On 21 December she went for the first time to the slums. She visited families, washed the sores of some children, cared for an old man lying sick on the road and nursed a woman dying of hunger and TB. She started each day in communion with Jesus in the Eucharist and then went out, Rosary in her hand, to find and serve Him in "the unwanted, the unloved, the uncared for." After some months, she was joined, one by one, by her former students.
On 7 October 1950 the new congregation of the Missionaries of Charity was officially established in the Archdiocese of Calcutta. By the early 1960s, Mother Teresa began to send her Sisters to other parts of India. The Decree of Praise granted to the Congregation by Pope Paul VI in February 1965 encouraged her to open a house in Venezuela. It was soon followed by foundations in Rome and Tanzania and, eventually, on every continent. Starting in 1980 and continuing through the 1990s, Mother Teresa opened houses in almost all of the communist countries, including the former Soviet Union, Albania and Cuba.”
My brothers and sisters, like St. Mother Teresa, our Lord Jesus desires that we choose to serve only Him and pray to
believe in His goodness. When we practice placing our trust in Him
and not self or something else, such as money or a false god, we will
see Him work miracles. Jesus is especially pleased when we show our
trust in Him through receiving the Sacraments of our Catholic Faith
(including both Confession and the Holy Eucharist) and in our
personal prayer. May all that pleases Jesus, especially love of God
and love of neighbor, grow in our hearts!
Through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, St. Michael
and St. Paul, may the grace of the Divine Will grow within us!
In Christ through Mary, Fr. Kasel
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