(Based off of John 19:28 “Knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said “I Thirst.” And Revelations 3:20 “Behold I stand at the door and knock…”)
I work with the chronically homeless and because I’m a Christ in the City Missionary, some of the biggest problems I see is them feeling lonely, unwanted, and unloved. This was especially true for one of my friends on the street named James. It’s been awhile since I read this meditation by Mother Teresa, but when it was brought up again a few months ago, I was wondering why I haven’t printed off this meditation for our friends on the street. It’s something they needed to hear, not just them, but all of us.
Let me tell you more about James. The first time my street partner and I met him, he poured out his life to us and started crying. He has an adopted mom who gave him a place to stay. He ended up being kicked out because he had some friends over, they were drinking and anger also played a part of him being kicked out. He knew that he wasn’t making the best choices. So I asked him one day, “What makes you happy?” He said that he didn’t know, but that he didn’t want to live out on the streets anymore. That would change depending on the day. Other days he would say he likes the freedom of living outside. We continued to see him for the next two weeks. I knew that this would be a good meditation for him. I was wondering if I should read it to him or have him read it. I asked him, and he told me to read it. When I started reading it, one part that I read was:
“I come- longing to console you and give you strength, to give you life and heal all your wounds. I bring you my light, to dispel your darkness and all your doubts. I come with My Power, that I might carry you and all of your burdens; with my grace, to touch your heart and transform your life,” and “My peace I give to calm your soul.”
He would interrupt me a few times throughout the meditation and would just say wow. It really struck him and made him tear up. Let me tell you more about his “adopted mom”, The next time we saw him, he said that he told her about us and showed her the meditation. He wanted her to meet us as well.
He asked her one day, “Why do you continue to care for me?” At some part of the conversation, she replied: “What am I going to do with you? I give you a place and it gets taken away, I give you this and another thing happens.” And eventually, she said, “I guess I have to love you anyway.”
What I admire about his adopted mom even though I haven’t met her is that she reminds me of God the Father. She would do anything for James. He would turn off his phone to avoid her calls whenever he would make a bad decision. Whenever we talk to him, we sense this guilt that he holds inside him.
In Luke 5:31, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” God the Father continues to thirst for us, to seek us, but He won’t give up on us, no matter how many times we fail Him, just as his adopted mom never gave up on James. That is self-giving love. We can all relate to James in a way that whenever we are guilty, we want to hide.
Because we are in the Year of Mercy, I wanted him to know God’s mercy and that God is waiting for James to come to Him, as he is, broken and a sinner, just like we all are at some point in our life. I wanted him to know God’s love for him and how He thirsts for him, not just him, but all of us and that he wants to heal us of anything that is hurting us.
He wants to console You, and He knows EVERYTHING about You. Jesus’ deepest thirst is for You! He thirsted for you so much that that He loved us until death, as we celebrated his Passion earlier. I wanted this meditation to give him hope. I believe James cried because he felt that we loved him, in turn that that was God loving him, and that God longed to be with him. St. Augustine says, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” I don’t know what happened to James, maybe he went back to his adopted mom and had the motivation to get his life together, wherever he is, I’m glad that he has heard Mother Teresa’s meditation on God’s thirst for him.
A final quote that I saw that fits well with this meditation is “When you approach the tabernacle, remember that he has been waiting for you for twenty centuries.” Because Mother Teresa knew Jesus’ thirst for her, she wanted to let the sisters know that Jesus thirsts for them. And for you! That’s why the two words, “I thirst” are placed next to the crucifix in every Missionary of Charity Chapel around the whole world. And with that, don’t be afraid to come to Jesus as you are, through your brokenness, your past, your sins, and your loneliness. He can take it and make it new. Come as you are.
Cecilia graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She enjoys quality time with friends, adventuring and exploring, ice cream, and is a big Despicable Me fan.