A “life lesson” became apparent to me after the House of the Dying work experience. I accompanied Mother Teresa on a mobile clinic for Hansens Disease (leprosy) patients.
A week had been skipped because of the delayed arrival of medical supplies. Mother informed of why, but one patient stated “You should have come anyway.” Being a “sacred presence”to others was the insight gained. It was not only the medicine, the distribution of clothes or food, but the charism of positive spiritual energy given to another in a spirit of love. Charisms are the Divine gifts that we are born with and incorporated into our personality. Beginning the day with prayer, meditation and Mass, Mother Teresa first encountered Christ in the Chapel every morning, and then radiated Christ to others with her presence. This was not a one time experience, but repeated on each occasion we were together. My conviction was deepened witnessing other people having the same experience There are countless others who do the same loving corporal works of mercy, but Mother Teresa was gifted by God to be a special witness of love just as Fr. Damien was called to be such a universal witness. The insight into Mother Teresa’s “sacred presence’ has motivated me to discover the charism of each person connected with my life. Although it was not known to Mother, scientists tested people participating in an audience where Mother Teresa spoke. They discovered that the selected participants went into a brain state of “alpha.” In the state of alpha we are in complete relaxation and receptivity. Our pulse and blood pressure slows down and we more apt to breadth more deeply which oxygenates the brain which gives heightened awareness. If you are sensitive to what is taking place it’s can be like a moment of ecstasy. Most people would not say they were in an alpha state, but rather that they just “felt good” after meeting or hearing Mother Teresa.
In travelling on a five or six hour train ride in tropical heat, a Superior would forewarn me that that Mother Teresa would not eat a snack or drink water until reaching the destination convent. Dehydration was evident on her face when wrinkles appeared. The personal sacrifice helped her identify with the words of Jesus, “I Thirst.” The act was a reparative prayer. Mother Teresa delighted in creative simple ways to offer things up to Jesus as an act of love. You never mentioned it to her when you became aware of what she was doing. She was having what I would call a “spiritual alpha state” radiating a sense of joy and peace. It was not narcissistic but a spiritual practice of love between Jesus and herself. Parents might often perform sacrifices in many forms for their spouse or children.That expression is never discussed with the spouse or children, it is a spontaneous or conscious act of love. Transformation takes place as the loving act brings a development towards a higher expression of one’s life and impacts others in a positive way. “What if there is at least ten good people. He replied for the sake of the ten, I will not destroy it.” (Gen.18:32)
Fraternally in the Sacred Hearts,
Fr. Bill Petrie, ss.cc