Saint Teresa of Calcutta once said,
“We cannot separate our lives from the Eucharist . . . Jesus has made Himself the Bread of Life to give us life. Night and day, He is there. If you really want to grow in love, come back to the Eucharist, come back to that Adoration.”
The Power of the Eucharist
The reality of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist, as Saint Teresa so beautifully reminds us, is at the heart and soul of what it means to be Catholic.
The Eucharist is the principal source of strength and nourishment for our souls precisely because it is Christ himself whom we receive. The power of the Eucharistic Christ—present at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and in Adoration—gives us the perseverance and fortitude to stand up to the convictions and truths of our faith: to be the disciples that Christ calls us to be.
Yet, despite her intense devotion to our Eucharistic Lord, there were many times when Mother Teresa experienced a “dark night of the soul”—when she felt that God was not listening; when He felt very distant from her and her prayers.
Our Lord Himself experienced this on Calvary when, in his human nature, he was allowed to experience the emptiness and darkness that we’ve all felt at some point in our lives, when our cry is:
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Mother Teresa on Sacrifice… In Her Own Words
But his cry from the Cross is not an act of desolation but one of hope!
The fact is no matter who we are, all of us experience the darkness of struggle and it’s from that darkness that we grow in our faith. Those of us who, like the great saint of Calcutta, walk in the darkness of divine abandonment, have a child-like sense of trust that God will act in His time, which in turn cultivates an intense closeness to the Holy Spirit who leads us from darkness into the Light of Life.
Saint Teresa once spoke on the relationship between holiness and sacrifice, saying,
“[For] a sacrifice to be real [it] must cost, must hurt, must [make us] empty ourselves […] Give yourself fully to God. He will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in His love than in your own weakness.”
This is what it means to be a saint in response to our baptismal call to holiness: to be perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect (teleios; tamim: mature, whole, complete)—to be the person that God created and calls us to be.
With absolute trust and confidence, we must not be afraid to place our hearts and lives in the hands of Christ.
The Lord made himself totally vulnerable on the Cross in a complete and perfect act of love and sacrifice. We too must not be afraid to break ourselves open and pour ourselves out in love; to live our faith with passion and conviction in a world that rejects the beauty of truth.
Like Mother Teresa, we must empty ourselves of every earthly thing we believe we can’t live without … so that Christ can fill us from within.
We must become blind to the ways and thinking of this world so that Christ can lead us to life!
The Value of Humility
Saint Teresa lived a life of heroic humility.
To be humble is to live with the realization that I am constantly in the presence of God. To realize that everything I think, say and do is done in His presence. To acknowledge that everything that I am, everyone I meet, and all that I experience in this world is His creation. To understand that every one of my sins—every time I go against the Christ and the teachings of his Church—I am separating myself from being able to have a personal encounter with God himself.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, Mother Teresa’s love for the Eucharist, her abandonment to God’s will, and her deep humility should inspire us to keep our eyes are fixed on Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Peter knelt before Jesus and said,
“Depart from me for I am a sinful man.”
Mary Magdalene wept at the feet of Jesus and dried her tears with her hair.
The Roman centurion told Jesus that he was not worthy that he should enter under his roof.
This great saint of the poor and the poor in spirit points us toward our ultimate end and purpose—a deep and abiding relationship with the Jesus Christ though the recognition of our own sinfulness that allows us to encounter the love and mercy of God.