Remember how I created a 2015 Board of Spiritual Directors? I’m slowly but surely working my way through some of the writings of those holy men and women. Currently, I’m reading, Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light: The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta.
There are so many beautiful nuggets of wisdom in Mother Teresa’s writings. One in particular is standing out to me today:
“Once I saw a Sister with a long face going out for apostolate, so I called her to my room and I asked her, ‘What did Jesus say, to carry the cross in front of Him or to follow Him?’ With a big smile she looked at me and said, ‘To follow Him.’ So I asked her, ‘Why are you trying to go ahead of Him?’ She left my room smiling. She had understood the meaning of following Jesus.”
Yes! That’s it! That’s exactly it!
It’s Friday afternoon, and it is so easy (and so tempting!) to put on that long face after a long week of work. When I give in to that temptation to forget my smile or consider a big ‘ol pity party, it’s probably because I wasn’t following Mother Teresa’s advice. Instead of listening to Jesus’ command to pick up my cross and follow Him, I’m usually picking up my cross (often begrudgingly, if I’m honest) and looking behind me.
“C’mon, Jesus, follow me. Let’s get on with it. I know the way. I’ve got things to do and people to see.”
It would be so much easier if I’d just listen. Let Him stumble ahead. Follow His footsteps. Show me the right way.
“Nah, I’ve got this. C’mon, Jesus. This way.”
He loves me so much that He lets me continue along. Now that I’m a mom, you’d think I’d be familiar enough with this move to know better myself. He’s the loving Father watching the stubborn toddler (me!) say, “I DO IT MYSELF!”
“Okay, Catherine. Go ahead. I’m here when you’re ready.”
The inevitable pattern continues. I grumble. I stumble. I fall. I give up. I’m the toddler reaching up for help. “Daddy! Daddy! I CAN’T DO IT! HELP!”
He loves me so much that He doesn’t take the cross away. Like the loving Father that He is, He does better than that. He gave me His Son to show me how to carry it.
“Like this, sweetheart. Just follow Me.”
The cross is waiting for me everyday. Whether I choose to lead or follow makes all the difference.