The centurion answered, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed.…” When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, “Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.” —Matthew 8:8, 10
Every time I say these words at Mass, I am reminded of the man who, despite the power and authority he wielded in the world, had the humility to recognize his own limitations. In the end, the desperate father threw himself on the mercy of his last—and, as it turns out, his greatest—hope.
We see this same simple humility and surrender in the life of Saint Teresa— for her, it was her greatest source of peace and joy from the earliest days of her vocation. When she left the Loreto Convent to begin her mission to the poorest of the poor, she had only three plain saris and five rupees (at that time worth about one American dollar). But she had faith that God would guide and provide for her.
This posture of trustful surrender is one that faces many of us at some point in our lives. Financial pressures, a child’s illness, marital disharmony, or any number of other personal challenges bring us to the end of ourselves and cause us to prostrate ourselves—literally or emotionally—before the throne of grace. “Help me, God. I’m not worthy…but I’m asking you to help me anyway. Just because I know you can.”
Imagine what faith it must have taken for Mother Teresa to take up her work in a new place, with so little in her purse. Instead she trusted in the benevolent hand of God.
This trust is a kind of gift that we can offer back to God. Like a child who places her little hand trustingly in the much larger one of her father’s, our verbal expressions of assent and trust imitate, even in a pale way, the “Yes” of the centurion…and of the Mother of the Lord herself.
A Moment to Reflect
In what area of your life has God been asking you to trust him? Have you found that easy or difficult to do?
In what area of your life will you make a conscious effort to trust in Providence today?
A Moment to Pray
Jesus, I trust in you! You are my peace, my hope, my joy. Help me, Lord, when I am struggling to trust you. Heal the hard and fearful places in my heart, and give me joy. Saint Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us!
In Saint Teresa of Calcutta’s Own Words
Advent is like springtime in nature when everything is renewed, fresh, and healthy. Advent refreshes us, makes us healthy and able to receive Christ in whatever form he may come to us. At Christmas, he comes as a little child, small, helpless, and in need of his mother and all that a mother’s love can give. His mother’s humility enabled her to serve. If we really want God to fill us, we must empty ourselves through humility of all the selfishness within us.