One at a Time

All I wanted as a child was to be the next Mother Teresa. Even when I was young, I saw there was something about her that was so special in my mind. She was known for doing what no one else had. She loved the poorest of the poor, served them unconditionally and loved as Jesus Christ Himself.

At some point in my life I had come to believe that I could not be holy unless I lived like Mother Teresa. She was my idea of modern-day holiness. We’ve all seen her and she has become like a celebrity saint. We’ve known her as someone who influenced millions of lives. I wanted to be like her, to change the world!

This all changed on a recent visit to St Joseph’s Oratory (and by recent I really mean a few months ago but feels recent in my memory due to the fact that not much has really happened in between). One part of churches I gravitate towards is the Stations of the Cross, as each parish has such unique depictions. Walking amongst the stations, the Sixth Station - Veronica wipes the face of Jesus, hit me. (while not literally, if you’ve ever seen these stations before, they are life-sized and are very capable of doing so.

Veronica wipes the face of Jesus. That’s it! She wiped the face of Jesus. I thought of her little act of kindness that has been remembered for years! While praying more about this thought in Adoration one day and wrestling with my concept of 21st-century holiness, Jesus finally cleared up my misconceptions. 

“Julianna I don’t need you to be the next Mother Teresa, I want you to be like Veronica. Love Simply.

Veronica consoled Jesus when He was hurting most. She consoled Him when no one else would. Yet how she loved was so simple. She saw His need and she found a way to meet it. Mother Teresa loved simply and modelled for us what the power of small actions in people’s lives can do.  She once famously said, “help one person at a time and always start with the person next to you.” 

We are in a time right now where the person next to us isn’t very far and is likely getting on our nerves. I’ve come to learn that loving simply means doing the dishes when they’re not mine, it means listening to someone even when I have other things to do. It means seeing a need in someone else and learning to meet that. To serve like Veronica, to love like Mother Teresa, but ultimately to love as Christ loves.

Jesus isn’t asking me to change the world overnight, He’s probably not asking that of you either. He is asking us to be saints though. He’s asking us to love simply because that’s what saints are made of.

Julianna Squires, NET Staff