Recently I've been watching the film The Letters, which documents the later life of St. Teresa of Calcutta. Her willingness to serve the poorest of the poor in India, responding to the call God placed in her heart, blew me away. I knew I wanted to be like her, but I just didn't know how.
Not too long ago, I heard a beautiful quote from Mother Teresa that encouraged me. She said:
"Stay where you are. Find your own Calcutta. Find the sick, the suffering, and the lonely right where you are—in your own homes and in your own families, in your workplaces and in your schools."
- Mother Teresa
Find my own Calcutta... That stuck with me. I could be exactly where I am and help and serve people.
My first thought was the LGBTQ community.
When I first began this blog a year or so ago, I didn't really think that it would ever become something more than a place to vent my feelings. Now, over a year later, it's given me the opportunity to reach out to people and communities I'd never thought I'd reach, travel across the country speaking and sharing the love of Christ with people, and most importantly, bring my joy into a place that is suffering a great deal.
In the film, while caring for a man that was dying in her arms, Mother Teresa said, "The greatest suffering is to feel alone, unwanted, unloved."
There is no doubt in my mind that people that identify themselves as LBGTQ, and immerse themselves in the community, experience this crippling loneliness and suffering. I've witnessed it myself -- I've experienced it myself -- and I wouldn't wish that kind of pain on my worst enemy.
There's also no doubt in my mind that this kind of suffering is experienced by those who experience same-sex attractions that align themselves with the call to chastity proclaimed by the Catholic Church. Many people are still shunned, still ostracized, still not given proper pastoral care or communal life.
Much like those poor people in the slums of Calcutta, our brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ community are desperate for the light of Christ, even if none of them are aware of it, even if they don't want it.
But, all this being said, I am not quite sure what to do. I'm not sure where to begin, and I'm not sure if I have the capacity to do what is necessary.
I keep thinking, what can I do? What can I say that will change the tide of the culture, and hopefully help people to see Christ in the world?
Recently, I've discovered that the answer is absolutely nothing.
Only God Himself can do that.
Over and over again in the film, we hear Mother Teresa say that the work that she does is not her work, it's God's work. She called herself a pencil in God's hand, nothing more than an instrument for Him to use.
I need to be that! I need to be an instrument in God's hands; a weapon to be used against heresy, a peaceful rose given to those on the fence or fighting against me.
In the end, I must be willing to be used by God. On my own I can do nothing. On my own I AM nothing!
I see no difference between St. Teresa's Calcutta and mine now; in both places, I see people that need ministering to, and I see that someone has to be willing to minister to them.
I'm not going to be able to do profound work overnight, but every day, I can be doing little things to become holy and fight against the temptations of the Evil One.
It is in the little works I do every day that I will be prepared to do the big works someday. I think we'd all do well to remember that.
So now, every day, I know what I need to be working towards. I know that there's people in this world that need to see the light of Christ's Face, and I want to be the vessel carrying that light.
The LGBTQ community are those in the slums to me, their hearts are my Calcutta; I may never be as great as St. Teresa, but I certainly can try to be as great as Our Lord desires me to be.
Now is the time to get to work, I believe. I've found my Calcutta, and now is the time to enter into the streets.