Diary of a Ghetto Priest | We are called to be saints
A saint is someone who loves the Lord and serves Him completely and serves his/her neighbours without reserve. A saint is someone surely living on earth filled with God.
When Mother Teresa visited Jamaica on July 30, 1986, she was living at Good Shepherd with the homeless residents at 51-65 Tower Street; four sisters were with her. There were about 50 elderly men and women in that shelter.
Why do priests, sisters, and brothers take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience? The Lord says in St Luke 14, 25-33 "If you come to me, unwilling to sacrifice your love for your father, and mother, your husband or wife, your children, your brothers and sisters, you cannot be my disciple."
Our God is absolute in His love for us, He gives everything to us - the world with sun, and moon, the land, the trees, the animals, the food that we eat.
When we think of human life, our hearts beating for 50 or 70 years or even 100 years, when we think of our breath that gives life, our walking, our running, the unbelievable functions of our heart, our mind, our will, the laughter and tears, the beauty and strength of our limbs, our arms and legs, what can we say but God is great and wonderful. He even died for us on the cross. We too must be absolute in giving ourselves to God.
Our brothers and sisters, who are cast aside and forgotten, do not have the joy of life that we enjoy! Such is the case of the poor man beaten and forgotten on the streets.
The Priest and the Rabbi walked past him, but the Good Samaritan, who was not orthodox, was kind from the depth of his heart to pick him up, feed him, clothe him, heal him and bring him back to life.
Mother Teresa has done this all her life. She is a Saint. She has lit a flame for all the world to see. Mother Teresa is the one who enflamed me and the brothers to pour out our lives for the poorest and most forgotten of people.
When Mother Teresa visited our first home in the ghettos of South Side, central Kingston, we were overjoyed. I picked her up at Tower Street in my old van and brought her to Faith Center at 3 Laws street. On the way, some gunmen shouted at us, but we were undisturbed. At Faith Center, she came out and was enfolded by hugs from our homeless and abandoned Down Syndrome-afflicted men and women, the elderly and cripple in wheelchairs, and those who were in bed.
HARD TO BE FAITHFUL
Mother Teresa visited each resident and prayed with them, repeating as if it were a mantra, "You did it to me." The love, the charity, and warmth exuded from her. She played with our retarded men and girls. She smiled and laughed, and you could feel an inner presence of fiery charity that kept her going from bed to bed, though she was elderly. She prayed with the brothers:
"The fruit of service is prayer.
The fruit of prayer is faith.
The fruit of faith is love.
The fruit of love is service.
The fruit of service is peace."
A simple woman with profound faith, Mother Teresa, now Saint Teresa spoke to me about the Brotherhood, "Go to India, Go to Africa. Be a missionary and God will enrich you." She explained, "I am just a pencil in God's hand, God has made of me who is nothingness, something." And, "I seek to do something beautiful for God."
Mother Teresa urged our men to be saints - all our brothers.This is what the world needs. Saints are not without sins, they are committed people who keep on going, who try to be perfect and holy, totally consecrated to God, who never stop praying and working for the poorest of people without any personal reward.
Missionaries of the Poor (MOP) is so happy! We live our lives daily without earthly reward, it is easy to be a saint but hard to be faithful. I want Jamaicans to try to be saints, I want Jamaicans to be a holy people rejecting the world and the darkness around us.
Jamaicans have a deep foundation in Christ. Like St Teresa, our brothers and myself seek to be on fire with love.
"If ever I become a saint," says Saint Teresa "I will continually [be] absent from Heaven, I will constantly try to bring light in the darkness of the earth."
She told the sisters, "I want you to be a fire of love among the poor."
This is why MOP lives in the ghettos giving free service, taking in the homeless and abandoned into our homes - in Uganda, Kenya, Haiti, India, Philippines, Indonesia, East Timor and Jamaica.
Everywhere we go we are known as Jamaican Brothers. The world knows us by our work and our Jamaican music, as we joyfully serve Jesus Christ crucified on the Cross.
We are asked to be the living Christ and living saints among the poorest of people. There is nothing so worthwhile being on earth than to be saints.