Servant Saints Set Examples For Us All
The word I've been reflecting on lately is “servant.” It's easy for me to look at my work and my free time and see how it benefits me and what I can get out of it. Not in an intense, selfish way, but in a (what I think is fair to say) human way. I often go about my life, enjoying my job and getting paid to do something I enjoy, hanging out with my friends and attending various Catholic young-adult and music events. I do housework, make dinner and try to exercise regularly. These are good, important things; but lately, I've been trying to remember my role as a servant of Christ in all aspects of my life, including my time at work, at home, and with my friends and family.
In the past month, we've celebrated the feasts of three Saints who spent their lives serving the Lord every way they could: St. Teresa of Calcutta (feast day Sept. 5), St. Vincent de Paul (Sept. 27), and St. Therese of Lisieux (Oct. 1). St. Teresa’s life story has been highlighted lately, but I'd like to reflect especially on her desire to see Jesus in every human being. She didn't only care for people's physical wellbeing, but she cared for their souls. She and St. Vincent de Paul are wonderful examples of living out the corporal works of mercy, as we are particularly called to do during this Jubilee Year of Mercy. They also served each person acknowledging his or her first identity as a child of God. They became the poor’s servants, and therefore the Lord’s servants, the Lord’s hands and feet. I heard a priest say once, “Jesus came all the way down!” And we are called to do the same, to go all the way down, becoming humble servants of the Lord.
St. Therese of Lisieux dreamed of being a great missionary. That definitely would have been a servant’s role. However, the Lord was calling her to serve in a different way – through small, seemingly insignificant tasks that she completed with great love. Her everyday life was not exciting; she did chores and followed the simple Carmelite lifestyle of prayer. She is a Saint today because she chose to live every moment for the Lord. Easier said than done, I think. I often have that thought, that I want my life to be a continual prayer and truly do everything for my Savior. But in reality, what St. Therese accomplished was extraordinary, finding joy in and humbling herself in love while washing her clothes, cleaning, helping at the convent. She offered up her trials, big and small—her poor health, being incorrectly blamed for a wrongdoing, being looked down upon—all for the love of Jesus.
These Saints lived radical lives. They found true joy by living the gospel and by taking their roles as servants to heart. I have been focusing on this role in my prayer lately, and I hope to put it into action at work and home. Through Jesus’ amazing love, we are called children of God, and we are honored to serve him and be His hands and feet. Through the example and intercession of St. Teresa, St. Vincent de Paul, and St. Therese, may we all find strength to carry on the Lord’s work.