I will pray for all of you so that, with the help of Mary, the resolutions you have made during this retreat can be converted into lives of holiness. Give God your word that you will be priests according to the heart of Jesus, and then be true to your word! I will also be praying for all the people who come in contact with you, so that they only see Jesus, when they look at you. I will pray so that they can see Jesus in the way you speak and the way you touch them, and the way you give them the sacraments and hear their confessions with tenderness. Sometimes you must hear those confessions for long, long hours, and this can be an agony, but then you can remember how the agony of Jesus also lasted long hours, and think, Well, now it’s my turn! This is one of the reasons why you are called “another Christ.”
When you entrust yourselves to Mary, promise to love her Son, and ask her to help you consecrate yourselves to Him. With her help, tell Jesus that He can use you without even consulting you. You don’t have to know all the reasons for how He uses you, if you belong to Him totally and forever.
Live that prayer of Cardinal Newman, so that you can bring the presence of Jesus to the people. Remember what I have been saying! The hungry are not only the poor who need bread. People have a terrible hunger for love, and the pain of the lonely can be worse than TB or cancer or leprosy. The naked aren’t only those who need a piece of cloth to cover themselves. They are also all these people we see everywhere who have lost their purity, and their human dignity as well. The homeless aren’t only those without homes made from bricks or wood, but also those who have found no place for themselves in anyone’s heart, the rejected and unloved.
I remember once finding an old woman in a dustbin, burning with fever. She was much bigger than I, so I had trouble getting her out of the bin, but with Jesus helping I managed to do it. As I was taking her to our home, she did not say a single word about her terrible fever or great pain, or the fact that she was dying. No, the only thing she kept saying was, “My son did this to me! It was my own son who did this to me!” She was so bitterly hurt by the fact that her own son had thrown her away, that I had to work very hard, and it took me a long time to help her finally to say that she forgave him. She said it just before she died.
You may think that things like this do not happen everywhere, but I have seen similar things in London and New York, and other places. Perhaps not so often as in India or Africa, but I have seen it! If you could love and console even one person suffering like this, it would be a wonderful thing, because that person again is Jesus in His painful disguise. “Whoever welcomes one such child for my sake welcomes me” (Mt.18:5).
The Jesus who becomes bread to satisfy our hunger also becomes that naked person, that homeless and lonely and unwanted person, that leper or drunkard or drug addict or prostitute, so that we can satisfy His hunger to be loved by us through the love we show them. Bringing the presence of Jesus to people suffering like this makes contemplatives living right in the heart of the world.