There are some people you never forget.They move through your life and leave an impression that lasts for years because of their gentle understanding and kindness. St. Teresa, to the world, will always be that example of service. Her legacy, however, impacted me in a much different and humbling way. As a practicing protestant at the time of her death I had never met her, several years after she died the church revealed that she suffered through “dark nights” and others began attacking her good works as well. Like many others I jumped at the opportunity to excoriate her life as a “so called” Christian. I took to my blog at the time to explain exactly why she wasn’t a Christian, after all wasn’t she Catholic! I was passionate, absolutely sure I was on God’s side in the things I wrote. Satisfied, I posted it for all the world to read.
A sickness unto death?
When I walked away from my computer in the mid-afternoon to begin the rest of my tasks I was very smug in having “defended the faith.” I helped the children with their school, folded laundry, and put it away. During dinner preparation I began to realize I wasn’t feeling so well. My skin was clammy and my head was burning up. Miserable, I lay down after dinner burning up with a fever that had no other symptoms. The rest of the household lay down for the night and I settled in to sleep off the fever.
Morning, however, dawned with no relief of my symptoms. This sickness seemed to be such a weird and sudden fluke. I turned to the Lord to ask for relief from this burning fever. The response I received, however, was completely unexpected. In the still and small quiet of my sick room the Lord’s voice sternly jolted through my heart, “Who are you to condemn my servant?!” Admittedly, I was confused at first, but laying there a little longer I slowly recalled my blog post the day before. Could the Lord be referring to that?! Surely, not!
That nagging thought wouldn’t leave me alone. Conviction came in wave upon wave crashing in my soul. The more I thought about how I had condemned a person I had never even known or sought to understand scared me. Did I want others to judge me without understanding? Repentant, I deleted my blog post and asked God for His forgiveness of my lack of mercy and charity. The reflection of my hearts was so awful that day that I shrank back from myself repulsed by His exposure. Yet what happened next furthered my amazement…
In the next 15 minutes my health was completely restored. The restoration was pronounced, quick, and complete. Astonishment was my natural reaction. I marvel at God’s ways all these years later, and the way he dealt with me and how God called a Catholic person, “His servant.” Today, on the Feast of St. Teresa of Calcutta, it seemed appropriate to share our story. I like to think St. Teresa and I are smiling at each other while we worship the Lord together.