By Heidi Hess Saxton
“… whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”
The living witness of Dr. Albert Schweitzer, like that of Mother Teresa, led both to worldwide acclaim and (in a few quarters) some notoriety. Schweitzer and his wife invested their lives following the mandate in Matthew 10 to “heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely you have received, freely give.” Mother Teresa’s was a “call within a call” to satiate the thirst of her Savior for souls by tending to the needs of the poorest of the poor in the slums of Calcutta. Leaving behind the comforts of home and family, they dedicated their lives to the service of those no one else seemed to care about. And their legacy continues to this day.
When I think of the people who most influenced my spiritual journey, however, I realize that the vast majority are unknown to most people. My mother, who I found with a Bible in her lap every morning as I came downstairs; my Sunday school teacher from high school, who later became a missionary; my friend Janet, who contributed each month to my missionary support — though she was Catholic, and I was not. Many others who taught me by their own example what it means to love without agenda, and to do small things with great love.
Now that we are midway through Lent, this is a good time to assess our own progress in the spiritual disciplines we set for ourselves when Lent began. Today’s Gospel reminds us that we need not travel the world to give our lives fully to the Gospel. Abstaining from that piece of chocolate or extra helping, spending that extra hour reading Bible stories to your kids instead of watching television. These are the small victories that, added together, build up the Kingdom, here and now.
Saint Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us.
About the Author
Heidi Hess Saxton is a Catholic wife and adoptive mother of two teenagers, and author of Advent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta and Lent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta (Servant). Saint Teresa was one of the “signpost” influencers who drew Heidi to the Church. Heidi writes for foster, adoptive, and special needs parents at “A Mother on the Road Less Traveled.”
Thanks Heidi for a good “midterm” check up this Lent. Sometimes we just zoom through Lent without actually stepping back to see how we are doing.