Scripture Reading: Matthew 25:31 -46
Let us start today’s reflection with this beautiful prayer from St. Clare, “By your most cruel death give us lively faith, a firm hope, and perfect charity, so that I may love with all my heart and all my soul and all my strength. Make me firm and steadfast in good works and grant me perseverance in your service so that I may be able to please you always”. Beloved, once again, the Holy Spirit reminds you that the life you live today is simply a gift from God, a manifestation of his love and compassion. Therefore, this life is supposed to be lived for him. Our lives must bear testimony of the goodness and faithfulness of God who owns the life. This life, the scripture says, ‘is like a puff of smoke’. It is transient, unimaginable short when compared to eternity. Hence St. Teresa of Avila puts it this way, “Life passes so quickly that we ought to think of how to die than how to live”. This statement of St. Teresa is instructive of what the Holy Spirit tells us at today’s reflection. Believers in Christ should always cast their gaze towards our heavenly home when we shall spend eternity with God. In our lead scripture today, our Lord in his homily says that our ability to share in eternity with him depends on how we treat and care for our neighbour in the course of our life here on earth. Hear Blessed Teresa of Kolkata, “I have found the paradox, if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurts, only more love”.
Share this true story with me:
“A Novitiate (a person undergoing a religious training in a Seminary or Convent) was posted to a remote village. Part of the exercise was that each Novice has to live in different houses in the village. This particular Novice was assigned to a family, consisting of a mother, a grandmother and three female children. The eldest of the children was twelve years. She had oversized head and almost completely paralyzed. She had to be fed and washed on bed and since she had no control over her bowel and bladder movements, she often passed stools and urine on bed. The house was stinking and the family was very poor. The only wage earner of the family was the mother who worked as a coolie (an unskilled laborer) when there is same to do. For three days, this Novice was unable to eat or drink nor sleep. She felt that she would not be able to stay in that house. But she prayed earnestly and gradually started encouraging herself with words such as, “If her mother, grandmother and her sisters could stand it not for one month, but years why would she not be able to do same”. Under the influence and conviction of the Holy Spirit, she said to herself, “I am a Religious who proclaims to the world that I am committed to serving people especially the poor and neglected”. She decided to love the girl and actually did. From this point, she took over the responsibility of feeding, bathing and cleaning her daily. Gradually, she began to experience a sense of joy and fulfillment in what she was doing.
Listen to Blessed Teresa of Kolkata. “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love”. When it was time to leave the family and say good-bye to the girl, the Novice cried out of sadness at having to leave the girl. Christian love is manifest in deep personal commitment to take care of the suffering person, not minding who is involved. The mind of Christ is that you should take care of as many as come your way daily. The Novice in our story today, opened herself to the working of the Holy Spirit, and so was able to sec Jesus Christ in the sick girl and not the difficulties associated in taking care of her. She found expression in the word of Jesus Christ in Verse 40 of our reference, which says, “I tell you, whenever you did this for one of the least important of these brothers of mine, you did it for me”. Beloved, let’s rely, therefore, on the Holy Spirit for the grace needed to love even the ‘unloved’, to care for the rejected and the nothing of the earth. Yesterday, the Holy Spirit laid it in my heart that all Users of Daily Strength should form small groups – (Daily Strength Charity Group) for the purpose of visiting the sick, poor, widows, orphan and leprosarium, etc. Wherever, there is starvation, pain and rejection around you, let the small group visit and bring in the joy of Christ. Through this, we act out our salvation and the mind of Christ.
- Take this prayer of St. Francis of Assisi very seriously:“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. Where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned. It is in dying that we are bom into eternal life.” Amen.
- Take the prayer points of yesterday
Exercise: Start up your Daily Strength Charity Group (DSCG) and God of the poor will bless us.
Memory Verse: Matthew 25:40