By Brooke Summers
A theme that the Lord has been speaking to me lately is holiness. Not an unattainable, unreachable, lofty type of holiness. But an everyday holiness. Often when I read the lives of the Saints, I feel like I will never reach the level of holiness that they did. Or I begin to feel like I am so lacking in my faith because I am not doing the things that they did. And truthfully I should feel called on by reading the lives of the Saints….I mean they are SAINTS! But why are they Saints? Because they said “yes” to Jesus and the call He placed in their lives. They said “yes” in the little ways, faithfully, so He continued to use them; and in the end they were able to say “yes” to Him in the big ways. [pullquote1 variation=”blue”] “What is God calling me to do?” [/pullquote1]
What is God calling me to do? Am I being faithful in the little ways? Am I loving God with all my heart, soul, and strength? Am I joyfully serving my husband, children, and people who God is placing before me everyday? Am I proclaiming the Gospel with every area of my life?? If the answer is “no” to any of these questions, then I am straying from God’s plan to make me holy. Saints are all different with various gifts, talents, and stories that all glorify God. I am a married woman with a 18 month old and a baby on the way – I cannot do the same things that Mother Teresa did. We have different callings.
In December of 2011 I had the great privilege of visiting the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India on a two-week short-term mission trip. I traveled with my husband and 9 month old son. Upon arriving at the Mother House (the main headquarters) I was in awe of how hard the sisters worked day in and day out, CONSTANTLY serving others. They get up very early in the morning, go to Mass, clean (and I mean a very old school sort of cleaning – washing everything by hand, scrubbing floors until they were shining, etc. every day) and work at the other centers taking care of the sick all day long. I began to feel sad that I could not serve God in the same capacity that they did. I could not even go to the different places that the sisters served because they feared my 9 month old son might catch a cold at the other places. Determined to serve in some way I began cleaning benches with a towel while my son napped in a baby sling that I was wearing.[pullquote1 variation=”blue” align=right ] “How greatly mothers sacrifice for God” [/pullquote1] This did not last very long because many of the Sisters and tourists that were visiting the Mother House were very interested in holding my son. One of the Sisters that I befriended during our time in India told me “How greatly mothers sacrifice for God” – I was surprised that this woman who pours out her life in ways that I cannot even begin to understand, could look at me and tell me that motherhood is such a great way to sacrifice for God. Sure motherhood is sacrificial, I will not deny that – but as mothers we get to squeeze our kids chubby little cheeks, tuck them in bed at night, and receive sweet hugs and kisses from our babies. She tucks in strangers, bathes children that are not her own, and loves those whom others deem un-lovable. How could she look at me and tell me I am sacrificial as a mother??? I said “Yes but Sister, look how you are able to serve God in so many ways that I cannot as a mother”. She said “Yes, but I am never awakened at night by a crying baby.” It hit me in that moment that it takes both of us doing what God has put before us to fully accomplish His task. We are working side by side building the kingdom in our own little ways.
Does that mean I am exempt from trying to live a simple life, full of love, compassion, and self-sacrifice like Mother Teresa? Absolutely not! I can praise God for the gift of her example and ask Him to give me the grace to see Jesus in others the way she did. But for me to be holy I must joyfully do all that God puts before me. God created each of us uniquely. So He intends on using each of us in a unique way. My path to becoming holy will always look different from some other Saints, but that does not mean that God is not giving me the opportunity to be a Saint. If I spend too much time focusing on the things that I cannot do for God, I will not allow Him to use me as He desires.