In 1957, Mother (Saint) Teresa wrote “I am told God lives in me, and yet the reality of darkness and coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul”. This woman, though small in stature, loomed larger than life to most, and throughout much of her public ministry - replete with amazing deeds of genuine charity, she struggled through a blackness that many consider incomprehensible, at least in their contemplation of who they think this saintly person was.
In truth, all human beings experience a “darkness and coldness and emptiness…so great that nothing touches [our] souls”, but in all too many instances we are simply not aware enough of the real presence of God in our lives to recognize that blackness. Not unlike the man who steps out of his storm cellar after a tornado has leveled everything around him and declares, “there’s nothing wrong here”, so too most of us see ourselves as “nothing wrong here” because we are simply unable to see who we truly are. It’s not that we don’t want to see ourselves, but rather that we are too immersed in the distractions of the world to be able to do so. Without God’s graces and our complete trust in Him, we are simply unable to truly witness to who we really are. Saint Teresa’s gift from God was that she was able to truly see, experience, and live the emptiness inside her – despite a universe of distractions, while continuing to serve our Lord in every person she encountered. She trusted in God unceasingly and because of that trust, though she was unable to see the Christ within herself, she was able always to see Him in the struggling, suffering, hopelessness she witnessed in so many that stood before her.
I thought about this today as an elderly woman I had encountered during our neighborhood engagements stood before me with a deep sadness in her eyes, the look of pain on her face, and a sense of complete resignation. After I has introduced myself and the purpose of this brief visit, I asked her name, which she was quick to share. I looked into her eyes, smiled gently and said, we’re going to pray for you and your family. Suddenly, a warm, loving smile blossomed across her face as she reached for my hand and uttered a “thank you” that seemed as though it was offered by way of an angelic choir. It was at that very moment, my mind was suddenly drawn to Saint Teresa and how she found Christ in everyone and knew without any doubt that for the brief moments I was graced with the smile of this woman, both she and I were looking at Christ in one another. A Christ that both of us seemed to need in each other at that exact moment, for in her smile I heard the words, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
And therein lies the beauty of this marvelous, God-Blessed journey that we are on, for each day we are reminded by those we interact with that “God never ceases to draw man to Himself” (Catechism of the Catholic Church #27).
With today’s visits, we have now engaged 2,553 homes in Charlton, and have processed 1,387 Prayer Requests.