By: Lindsey Mitzel
St. Teresa of Calcutta’s journey to become who we know today as Mother Teresa amazes me. The pivotal moment of her spiritual life didn’t occur until she was pretty established in her vocation. Mother Teresa was 18 years old when she joined the Dominicans and began living her vocation with them in Ireland. She was later transferred to teach in a school in India. She was 40 years old when, on an ordinary train trip, Jesus asked her to leave what she knew as her vocation and serve the poorest of the poor. A full fifty years later, only about 4 years before Mother Teresa passed away, she began to share with her communities and the world about Jesus’ words to her on that train ride—what “I thirst” meant. She felt Jesus was finally asking her to share with the world a moment that, for her, was the most intimate moment she had encountered with Jesus. God was asking her to share this moment because He wants us all to understand and experience how He longs and thirsts for each of us.
In a letter first shared with her Missionaries of Charities communities around the world, Mother Teresa wrote,
“Not only He loves you, even more—He longs for you. He misses you when you don’t come close. He thirsts for you. He loves you always, even when you don’t feel worthy. Even if you are not accepted by others, even by yourself sometimes—He is the one who always accepts you . . .
My children, you don’t have to be different for Jesus to love you. Only believe—You are precious to Him. Bring all you are suffering to His feet—only open your heart to be loved by Him as you are. He will do the rest . . .
Jesus Himself must be the one to say to you ‘I thirst’. Hear your own name. Not just once. Every day. If you listen with your heart, you will hear, you will understand.
Why does Jesus say ‘I Thirst’? What does it mean? Something so hard to explain in words . . . ‘I Thirst’ is something much deeper than just Jesus saying ‘I love you’. Until you know deep inside that Jesus thirsts for you—you can’t begin to know who He wants to be for you. Or who He wants you to be for Him.”
What strikes me is how much deeper Jesus always wants to take us. Every day Jesus wants to love us and be known by us and take us so much deeper into Himself. Jesus desires to love us and be loved by us in every moment--not just when I feel like I’m in a good place, but when I’m really struggling and feeling insecure or worthless. Not just when I could pray uninterrupted, but right now too, in my whirlwind days filled with three little people and literally typing this one-handed while bouncing on an exercise ball with my one month old to help her burp (too much information)? What I want to draw attention to is the last two sentences of Mother Teresa’s letter. I read this and feel such a deep desire to know Jesus’ thirst for me and recognize that I don’t. It’s my prayer for myself, and all of you, that He would grant us the grace to really know His deep love, acceptance, desire, and thirst for us daily.