Monday, September 5, 2011

Memories of Mother Teresa

From Ireland's Cardinal Brady:
Mother Teresa wrote in her diaries that her first year of this new mission was fraught with difficulties. She had no income. She had to resort to begging for food and supplies. She experienced doubt, loneliness and the temptation to return to the relative security of convent life. She wrote in her diary: ‘Our Lord wants me to be a free nun covered with the poverty of the cross … Of free choice, my God, and out of love for you, I desire to remain and do whatever be your Holy will in my regard.’

The fact is, anyone who earnestly desires to follow Christ will, sooner or later, come to this same decisive moment in their life. For most of us, it confronts us many times, even many times in the same day! It is that moment when, with the full weight of our own free will, we are invited to first choose and then to trust in God’s will and logic when our own will and ‘logic’ is drawing us in a more comfortable, even a more reasonable direction.

This tension is played out in the Gospel passage we have just heard. Peter rejects the idea of a Christ who will suffer greatly and be put to death.  For him, the cross represents failure and who wants to be part of a failure? It is worth remembering that Peter is also a strong man.  Trusting others, even a good man like Jesus, was never going to be easy. Yet that is what Jesus asks him to do. He asks him to set aside his human instinct for strength, for security, for certainty and logic and to accept the utter poverty of the cross.  By rejecting suffering and death, Christ tells Peter that he is thinking, not as God thinks, he is thinking as human beings do.  St Paul tells us all that we must put on the mind of the Lord.

‘If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’ (Mt 16:24). It is interesting to note that Jesus does not say here that you must take up ‘my’ cross.  Instead he says to each disciple that he must take up ‘his’ cross. There is always a temptation to imagine that we already know beforehand what our cross and time of testing will be. It is often much more difficult to recognise the cross Jesus intends for us personally and to accept it once we have recognised it. It is one thing to know about carrying our cross in the abstract; it is another to live it in the daily anguish of our deeply personal hopes and fears. Each of you I know will have your own personal cross that you carry with you here today. (Read entire article.)

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