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From the Soil of Ottoman Empire to Toil in the Soil of Almighty’s Empire

‘M’other ‘O’btained ‘T’otal ‘H’arvest ‘E’ver ‘R’ecognised ‘T’hrough ‘E’arnest ‘R’eadiness in ‘E’arning ‘S’ouls for ‘A’lmighty

Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu was a labourer who left the soil of Ottoman Empire to toil in the soil of Almighty’s Empire in the slums of Calcutta. As she took identity card in the Empire of Almighty, He gave her a mighty name Teresa and appointed her in the slums of Calcutta to turn the poor’s tears into cheers. ‘Sister Teresa’ left the Loreto Order to become ‘Mother Teresa’ to the orphans in the streets of Calcutta. This act spread leaves of goodness on the paths she travelled, and many readily followed her path of goodness. She invested rupees 5 in Almighty’s bank for which Almighty gave a 5000fold interest. This interest interested her to invest more to have more interests. Her interest to entrust everything in God’s hand resulted in hundredfold rewards on earth in the form of awards. She knew the act of blending human effort with God’s grace to make effectiveness in every activity. Let her sainthood be an inspiration for us to perspire to inspire the upcoming generations.

Almighty’s Empire is a vineyard where the grapeseeds of goodness are sown and to sow the seeds of goodness in this vineyard God chooses the labourers from every nook and corner of the world. Let us turn the petals of Bible to see the call of Abram. Now the Lord said to Abram “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you . . . so that you will be a blessing” (Gen12:1). As in the case of Abram, God whispered in the ears of Mother Teresa ‘Go from the soil of the Ottoman empire of power to toil in the soil of Almighty’s empire for the powerless . . . to be a blessing for the poorest of the poor in the slums of Calcutta’. It was an irresistible call and as we know God’s call to toil in His vineyard is always an irresistible one. Remember the case of Jonah. Now the word of God came to Jonah “Arise, go to Nineveh” (Jon1: 1). But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the call of God to toil in the vineyard of Nineveh. God made a great fish to swallow him and commanded the fish to vomit out Jonah in Nineveh. Jonah opened his eyes and realised that he is in Nineveh, the place, where he was asked by God to toil. Teresa never resisted the call of God like Jonah but readily travelled to India where God had prepared for her the vineyard to sow the grapeseeds of goodness and to toil to make hundred percentage of harvest. She toiled in the vineyard with the tools of sincerity and dedication till the last drop of her sweat fell on His vineyard. And today, from this vineyard God makes the vine required for His sacrifice on the altar for the salvation of humanity and has decided to keep the one who has helped Him to make the vine on the altar.

When a labourer is employed in the vineyard of God, God gives him/her a new identity card on which s/he will find a new name given to him/ her. God calls whom he loves and gives him/her a new name. We still remember how Abram became Abraham. “No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations” (Gen17:5). The same procedure was followed by God when he appointed Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in the vineyard.

She was called and told-‘No longer shall your name be Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, but your name shall be Teresa for I have made you the Mother of Calcutta’. We may have a human tendency to argue that it is Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu who chose the name Teresa during her formal religious vows in 1931. If that is the case, is it we who chose our parents? Is it we who chose our birth place? Even in Jesus’ case, the name was given by God. “When He was circumcised, He was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb” (Lk 2: 21). And we know that Angel is a messenger of God. In simple words, God has made an Agnes and a Teresa in everyone and has given freedom to wo/man to live and die either as Agnes or as Teresa. If you choose to live and die as Agnes, nothing happens but if you chose to live and die as Teresa, your name will be carved in golden letters in the Book of Life and in the hearts of people. Let us find out the Agnes and Teresa in us and allow to live the one whom God likes and God’s people like. Because God’s like is the likeness of his people.

One, who leaves self and lives in God, will spread leaves of goodness on the path s/he walks. After receiving the ‘‘call within the call’’, Mother Teresa left the Loreto Order and lived in God, spreading the leaves of goodness all throughout the world. Twelve disciples left everything and lived with Christ and they spread leaves of good news in different nations. Ignatius of Loyola left the battlefield and built a “society of Jesus” to spread the good news of goodness of God. If I dare to leave the bondages that yoke my shoulders from spreading the good news, I can live in God, spreading the leaves of goodness on the paths I travel. If you travel spreading the leaves of goodness there will be many to follow the path of goodness that you paved for them that is what Teresa did. She purified the paths she travelled with water- drops of goodness and many stepped into that path and are now together called as “Missionaries of Charity”.

One who enters in the vineyard of God has to invest something to be an effective labourer in the vineyard. Teresa invested 5 rupees in the slums of Calcutta, a part of the vineyard of God and God multiplied it endlessly. The disciples invested five loaves and two fish in the hands of Christ. He took the five loaves and two fish he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke them and satisfied five thousand people (Lk 9:16). Zacchaeus invested whatever he had in the vineyard of Christ and He saved his house. When everyone invested in the vineyard of God sincerely, Ananias and Sapphira engaged in a cheating game without investing the full amount. Their reward was death. It is impossible to hide something from the Creator because we are the created creatures of the Creator who has counted even the number of hairs His creation has. Banks do not have interest in giving interest for our investment but God has interest in giving interest to all our investments. We always invest money in the banks, which promises us the highest interest. We have to know the names of God’s banks that give the highest interest to our investment. Teresa found some of such banks of God namely TS (The Slum), OBG (Orphan Boys and Girls), TD (The Dying) and TI (The Incurable). Whatever she invested in these banks were given the highest interest by God, the owner of all these open banks. Impress the Immovable by investing your individual talents to have the highest interest from the Immovable.

The fruits on the grape tree depend not only on the hard work of the labourer but also the rays of love that falls on the tree from the sun above. The grape trees in the Calcutta slums produced hundred percentage harvests not only because of the hard work of Mother Teresa but also because of the rays of love that fell on the grape trees from The Son above. St. Paul says “I can do all things in him who strengthens me” (Phil 4: 13). We witness the fall of Babel towers in our day to day life because those Babel Towers are built on human effort alone. Mother Teresa can be counted in the group of five maiden servants who kept oil in their lamps to receive their bridegroom. Mother Teresa collected this oil of love from the Tabernacle and filled it in the lamp of her each activity of service. The effectiveness of an action depends on the blending of human effort with God’s grace.

Government can close the doors of her orphanages with the keys of fabricated laws but who can close the doors of human hearts that she opened with the keys of selfless service and dedication? Just realise the foolishness in trying to hide a burning star of Christ under the bushel basket (Mt 5:15). She perspired to serve a generation. Let the sweats of her perspiration to serve a generation be an inspiration to the generations to come.

Fr Joby Kochupurayil CST

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