I have enjoyed reading and preparing for the “33 Days to Morning Glory” Marian consecration by Fr. Michael Gaitley. Among many inspirations for me from God, personally as well as for those I serve, the phrase “I Thirst” that Jesus spoke to Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta has spoken volumes for me (pun unintended since volume is the measurement of liquid which quenches thirst – I could not resist given that I teach science J - excuse my aside). Jesus thirsts for our love. This is humbling! Our Lord and Savior, and my Spouse as a religious sister, thirsts, craves and desires my love!
Teaching Chemistry was a new adventure for me this year, so I related to the other science courses I have taught and any God-connection that lended itself to the subject matter. If seeing is believing then in both faith and science, we had a challenge… I had asked my students if they can believe in something they cannot see (given that atoms are so small that they seem invisible) and they would answer: “Yes! Jesus!” I loved the response but wondered (and asked them) if they truly knew Jesus. Over the course of this school year, I have seen many students seeking this challenge. Many are hungry for Jesus, and to quote one recently: “Sometimes when our doors are shut, He comes knocking. It’s our choice to open the door or not. When we open that door, He can do amazing things in our lives… Through His signs in our life, [and] through other people… who are huge role models in my life who keep me hungry for J.C. All these amazing people, God graciously placed in my life, have given me hope and opened my eyes to the beauty around me. God is all around us and is always knocking on my door – and I have finally gathered the courage to open up to Him.”
Another door to talk about Jesus was through a diocesan recollection day for sophomore girls to learn about religious vocations. I brought six girls down and we met our sisters from another school in our diocese. I took a group picture of us with our chaplain priests. One of the girls asked for the pic. I with my “old” e-mail and she with the latest social media made the connection (although I always encourage face-to-face/real time communication!). She did not know what caption to put with the picture but remembered something I have said more than once. When I ask for prayers for my co-sisters, I ask for my “sisters who dress like me but don’t look like me” and when I intercede for my blood sisters, I asked for my “sisters who look like me but don’t dress like me.” It is funny how things we say make an impression. She was excited to receive many likes on her private view. We are not rock stars as sisters (the ones who dress alike) but we are public people whose words, actions or image speak volumes to others.
I have learned and loved and laughed much this year. In a new found love of reading, I have become a student of my Beloved. In the words of Mother Teresa to her sisters (who dressed like her J): “Do you really know the living Jesus – not from books but from being with Him in your heart? What Jesus is really wanting, waiting to tell you… Not only that He loves you, but even more – He longs for you. He thirsts for you. “I Thirst” is something much deeper than Jesus just saying “I love you.” Until you know deep inside that Jesus thirsts for you – you can’t begin to know who He wants to be for you. Or who He wants you to be for Him. The closer you come to Jesus, the better you will know His thirst.” It is in the presence of and nourished by the Blessed Sacrament that I have been able to ponder and to hunger for Him who thirsts for me. Every day is a new opportunity to learn, to digest, and to rise (OK one more pun since I have used yeast in the lab too J).
We are all students, even us teachers, and I am thankful for the lessons learned through Him and others, and for the joy and openness of my students. May our Lord be our guide and may we be open to Him and all He has to offer. I realize that I can truly say that He (Jesus) Thirsts, and We Hunger!
- by Sister M. Benedicta Bourke, FSGM