Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
October 3, 2005
Time inevitably validates God's plan
Often following God's path takes a supreme act of faith, surrender
Light One Candle
Recently I had the opportunity to see a soon-to-be released documentary film called Mother Teresa: The Legacy. This outstanding work by two Canadian filmmakers, Ann and Jeanette Petrie, is their second documentary on Mother Teresa. In this film, they retell the life story of Mother Teresa, especially her last days and then her funeral and burial in Calcutta.
Woven through the film are clips of Mother Teresa talking about working with the poor. In one, she says that each of us has the responsibility to use our God-given talents and abilities to make this a better world.
USE GOD'S GIFT
As I listened to her, it struck me how much she echoed what Maryknoll Father James Keller said 60 years ago when he founded The Christophers: each of us, no matter how shy or obscure, has received a gift from God that he wants us to use to shape the world around us.
I believe that in God's grand plan he puts people like Keller and Mother Teresa on earth to challenge the rest of us to look into our hearts and to be totally honest when we ask ourselves if we are using our God-given gifts to make this a better world.
On the other hand, one of the big stumbling blocks for a lot of us is that when we think about changing the world we envision huge efforts like feeding the starving or bringing peace to war-torn countries, and that simply scares us.
Instead we can start to change the world right in our own home, neighbourhood, office or community. It can begin with the way we treat one another in our families, or doing something extra for a neighbour. Maybe it's writing a note of support to someone in our office who has lost a loved one or is caring for a sick family member.
PEBBLE IN THE POOL
We can find a soup kitchen or homeless shelter in our community that needs volunteers, and give a few hours of time each month. Changing the world can begin in the immediate world around us. As Father Keller used to say, it will be "like dropping a pebble into a pool. The circles go on widening by themselves."
Above all, we have to trust in God's plan. When Father Keller joined the Maryknoll community he wanted to be a missionary in China. However, when he was ordained in August 1925, the Maryknoll leadership felt that his talents would be better used by having him travel the United States recruiting Maryknoll vocations and raising funds for Maryknoll missions - and so he did for 20 years.
EACH A MISSIONARY
The evidence of God's plan is seen in the fact that as Keller told the Maryknoll story he began to emphasize the idea that his listeners could be missionaries themselves.
They could be "Christbearers" and bring the Gospel message of hope to all those they met each day.
It was out of this message that the idea of The Christophers came to him and became the foundation on which he built the organization. His own plan for his priesthood did not envision a world-wide organization that seeks to change the world, one person at a time.
Yet, Father Keller trusted in God's plan, and the legacy of that plan is that millions of people have lived their lives believing that "it's better to light one little candle than to curse the darkness."
(For a free copy of the Christopher News Note, write: The Christophers, 12 East 48 St., New York,
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