I came across an amazing video while searching for something from my son’s college in California. In 1982 Mother Teresa visited the college and gave the commencement address to that year’s graduates. Can you imagine having had Mother Teresa at your college graduation!?
I found a quiet moment to watch it, miraculously without interruption, and how beautiful she was. Her smile and her peace, the funny and inspiring stories she told about the people she came across in her day-to-day life serving the poorest of the poor.
The graduation day was in the heat of a California summer, but her words felt so perfectly timed for the coming of Advent. Encouraging the students to be bearers of Christ, she spoke of the moment that Our Lord came to Mary, “the most beautiful of creatures, so pure, so holy, she, in accepting him in her life, immediately, she went in haste to give him to others.”
As soon as she said those words I looked for a pen to write them down. There was no pause, no doubt, no checklist: “Immediately she went in haste to give him to others.” That was during the first Advent. How very different from the Advents of my life.
I’ve written in Advents past that the Visitation is one of my favourite Rosary decades. I always feel the sense of mystery, and at the same time a sense of terror! Mary is so newly pregnant with the Son of God! What all of that means to a young, unmarried Jewish girl can’t be expressed. An angel tells her she has been chosen from all eternity to bring about the Saviour of humankind, and without hesitation, in haste, she makes her way to Elizabeth. She has been named the Mother of God, but her first thought is to go and serve someone else. But then, where else should she go? The secret miracle they shared united them. No one else on the planet but these two could yet share this promise of redemption. The joy and wonder and holy fear with which they met each other.
Advent invites each of us to remember the joy and holy fear of our own salvation. We rightfully look forward to Christmas, but Mother Teresa’s words reminded me that that joy comes with a calling. “This, the joy, the presence of Jesus, you must be able to give wherever you go. But you cannot give what you do not have. That’s why you need a pure heart, that you will receive as a fruit of your prayer, as a fruit of your oneness with God. And if you seek God, immediately you will love one another … The fruit of prayer is always the deepening of faith, and the fruit of faith is always love, and the fruit of love is action. We must put our love for Jesus in loving action.”
The above comes from a Dec. 1 story in B.C. Catholic (British Columbia).