Young Agnes had 3 pennies. She also had a dream of doing something significant with her life. How on earth was she going to realize her dreams with only 3 pennies? What could she do with so little?
Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu felt called to ministry as a young girl and went through ministerial training in Ireland and India. When she graduated from her training her heart was “on fire” with a burning passion to serve God and love people. One day, as a young nun, she approached her superiors and announced, “I have three pennies and a dream from God to build an orphanage.” Her superiors could not believe what they were hearing! After laughing at her, they said, “You can’t build an orphanage with three pennies. With three pennies you can’t do anything.” Agnes just smiled and replied, “I know. But with God and three pennies I can do anything!”
For fifty years this woman worked among the poorest of the poor in Calcutta, India. We know Agnes as Mother Teresa of Calcutta who endeared herself to thousands of people. She literally gave her life away in sacrificial love to others. When we assess her life in terms of what the world considers successful she presents a challenge. Mother Teresa did not have the “material” things that many have today, but she had a passion which gave her life meaning and direction. The impact of her love and devotion impacted millions around the world. Mother Teresa was the recipient of numerous honours including the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize. In 2003, she was beatified as “Blessed Teresa of Calcutta”.
Can she inspire us in our day to day attempts to be faithful in our own call to discipleship? Yes, if we consider the confidence with which she applied herself to the vocation she felt God had laid upon her heart and if we trust in him to provide what is needed to fulfil the task he has given. We might feel the actual material resources we have are pathetically inadequate (the equivalent of Teresa’s three pennies) but if we really believe God has a purpose to achieve through us he will not deny himself the wherewithal to achieve it, will he? When I look back upon the development of ‘SOS @ HTB’ it’s difficult not to see God’s hand upon it: providing resources both material and, especially, human to enable a remarkable ministry to emerge in this corner of the Diocese.
We can learn from that, and from numerous other examples that God will be our provider, our guide, our strength. Let him work out the dreams that he has placed in our hearts. He knows what’s best. He knows how to bring it about… …in his own time!
Rev. John Girtchen