“Jesus is God, therefore His love, His Thirst, is infinite. He the creator of the universe, asked for the love of His creatures. He thirsts for our love… These words, ‘I Thirst’ – do they echo in our souls?” -Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta
On my 22nd birthday, I experienced the Thirst of God in a life-changing, soul-biting way. I had been living as a volunteer at a Missionaries of Charity shelter for almost a year, and I was maxed out.
Hearing the vivid, troubling stories of families in poverty, seeing neglected children, and drying the dingy tears of innocent, abused women… it was all becoming overwhelming. I was ready to go out and have some fun on my birthday. However, God, in His love for me, had greater plans.
A Happy Birthday
When I was about to leave, the Superior Sister of the shelter asked me if I would be willing to give up my birthday plans and visit a teenage girl dying from cancer at a nearby hospital. I knew God wanted it, so I knew I needed to do it.
After we arrived at her hospital room just in time, the Sisters and I circled her bed and sang the Divine Mercy Chaplet. As we sang, I felt the thirst of Jesus as He cried out from the cross in relentless agony, like I have never felt it before.
Jesus was thirsting for this child’s soul with an overpowering, majestic love, and amazingly, He was asking us poor creatures to satiate Him. Before we finished the chaplet, the girl passed away, encompassed by the Divine Mercy of Our Lord.
To this day, being able to pray for her as she died is one of the only birthday gifts that I even remember receiving in my life, and I can honestly say it is the best one. Being able to give God love – die-hard, heartfelt love – by helping a soul return to Him is a gift of grace like no other.
A Magnanimous Love
As I bring back this memory, these words of Mother Teresa flood into my heart – “At this most difficult time Jesus proclaimed, ‘I thirst.’ And people thought He was thirsty in an ordinary way and they gave Him vinegar straight away; but it was not for that thirst; it was for our love, our affection, that intimate attachment to Him, and that sharing of His passion.
He used, ‘I thirst,’ instead of ‘Give Me your love’… ‘I thirst.’ Let us hear Him saying it to me and saying it to you.”
Now that I am a Catholic homeschooling mom of three little ones, this mysteriously beautiful Thirst of Christ has taken on a new meaning. Although I know in my heart that I am answering His cry of thirst as I serve my husband and children, sometimes it doesn’t seem as obvious as it did when I was doing missionary work.
It is often less conspicuous, less immediately rewarding, and less noticeable by others. However, this doesn’t mean that I satiate His thirst any less as a mother than if I were doing something that reveals the call of the Gospel in a clearly radical way.
By living out the vocation God has given each one of us with all of our hearts, we quench His thirst for our love. Things like being extra patient as a child struggles to learn to read, re-sewing button holes on a First Communion gown for the third time, or bringing the kids to daily Mass on a muddy day, are all examples of little ways moms courageously give Christ a “drink.”
They are little ways, but many days, they take magnanimous love.
A Cry of Thirst
I have a four-year-old son who often says to me, “Mommy, I’m thirsty. Can I please have some water?” Many times, he innocently asks right when I am in the middle of something urgent. Usually, there is only an audience of a few people present when I give him a drink – that is a few, at best.
I love him, so I answer his “cry” of thirst, and it’s a “done deal.” I’ve served my God in a simple way and I am content, and so is my son.
Bestselling Catholic author Donna Marie Cooper O’Boyle once explained,
“Mother Teresa wanted us to know that we need to thirst for Our Lord’s love, but remarkably, He also thirsts for us… we need to really pray to satiate that thirst of Jesus on the Cross… in our prayers but also in our active prayer of service. It is powerful to think that we should all strive to do this…if for the rest of our lives, we pondered nothing but God’s thirst for our love, we would have such amazing peace.”
Just as Jesus thirsts for the consolation of the poor, He also thirsts for the hearts and souls of our children. As mothers, we are giving our children the “ins and outs” of how to trek up the rocky slope to Heaven.
Through efforts like homeschooling, we are answering His cry of thirst for our children’s souls, and all of those whom they will touch throughout their lives. As the Author of Truth, Jesus longs for our children to know Him, love Him, and serve Him.
By using an authentically Catholic curriculum, we are answering Christ’s cry for the Truth to flourish in the dark world around us. As Fr. John Hardon said,
“Given the widespread secularization in our country, homeschooling is not only valuable or useful but it is absolutely necessary for the survival of the Catholic church in our country… Experience teaches us that the Catholic Faith not only survives but thrives only where parents take seriously, as a God-given responsibility, binding gravely in conscience, the responsibility of homeschooling.”
Each and every day, let us allow Christ’s words, His Thirst, to echo in our souls, and resonate through us as we offer our lives for our families. Our King is thirsty, and He is crying out to us homeschooling mothers for a drink of love.
Let’s give it to Him. If we don’t, who will?