MOSAIC Fall 2016 - Page 27

ADVANCING THE NEW EVANGELIZATION Winning the World for the Sacred Heart of Jesus Mother’s Lesson: “One, One, One . . .” Debra Herbeck T wenty-eight years ago, I was a young wife and mother struggling with my vocation, and a “chance” meeting with Mother Teresa of Calcutta changed my life. As she grasped my hand and pulled me close, her words instantly pierced my heart: “Never forget that your job as a mother is the most important job in the entire world.” I knew without a doubt that she was speaking on God’s behalf. Her timely message enabled me to embrace motherhood with renewed joy and determination. Little did I know then that over the years, Mother Teresa’s life and practical wisdom would also become the foundational inspiration for my ministry to young women. Her simple and revolutionary way of love has taught me so much about how to help young women know the personal love of Christ and how they, too, can be instruments of his love. Below are just a few nuggets that have shaped my life and ministry. “Each individual person has been created to love and to be loved.” This profound truth daily points me to the reason why we endeavor to share Christ’s love with others. We don’t impose a set of beliefs or a way of life, but rather we propose an encounter with Love, and in doing so help others find their true purpose. Every young woman I meet is “hungry for love,” even if she is looking for it in the wrong places. St. Teresa’s example teaches me how to affirm young women in their inherent dignity simply by being present, by listening, by never giving up on them—even when they falter or fail. Doing “small things with great love” speaks essential truths that Mother Teresa so beautifully expressed in her I Thirst letter: “He loves you always, even when you don’t feel worthy. . . . He is the one who always accepts you. . . . You are precious to Him.” Mother also had the ability to empower those around her to set aside their fears and to love others freely. While many came to Calcutta to serve alongside this saint, she often challenged people to identify and love “the poor” right at home. In a narcissistic culture that promotes convenience and comfort, it’s essential to challenge young people and give them opportunities to love and serve others—not just with service projects or mission trips—but daily, especially within their own families. “Just begin one at a time . . . one, one, one.” We are called to share our faith in an increasingly dark world. We can often feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the task and our own inadequacies. St. Teresa felt “so small, so empty, so nothing,” an imperfect instrument that God used to write beautifully. She was never concerned about numbers but focused merely on loving and serving one person at a time. She acknowledged that if she hadn’t picked up that first dying person in the street, she would not have picked up thousands more later on. Perhaps I cannot bring the Gospel to the whole world, but I must begin by choosing to love one person at a time and teaching others to do the same through daily faithfulness. One, one, one, turns into many. Mother’s “one-at-a-time” approach is also reflected in her loving attentiveness to individuals. The poor had names, stories, and a destiny as God’s sons and daughters. Many who spent time with her said she made them feel as if they were the most important person in the world. Mother’s message is surprisingly attractive to young people who are seeking authentic human connection that is deeply personal and meaningful. In an age when we so desperately need role models, St. Teresa of Calcutta gives us a powerful example of selfless love that is both transformative and possible. If each one of us bears Christ’s love to the world, one person at a time in simple ways, we can create a revolution of Love that can change the world. Debra Herbeck has worked extensively in youth and women’s ministry. She is founder and director of the Be Love Revolution (beloverevolution.com), a ministry that helps young women know the personal love of Jesus, to live freely and confidently, and be empowered to spread Love to all they meet. shms.edu 25