You know, sometimes it feels like I’m living a selfish semester. I feel like I’m constantly receiving, receiving, receiving. Taking in new sights, traveling to wonderful places, eating pasta, getting spiritual formation, taking fascinating classes, having fun with my fellow Bernardians, etc. And so the challenge is to find ways to give.
Luckily we have a built-in opportunity to give of ourselves in service. Bernardians are able to serve at either the Missionaries of Charity or the Little Sisters of the Lamb once a week. So on Thursday mornings myself and 4 other Bernardians walk toward the center of Rome, past the Forum, past the Colosseum, to the Missionaries of Charity house in Rome. Once there, we say hello to the Sisters and they tell us what they’d like us to do. Then we drop our bags and get to work!
The last two weeks we’ve been cleaning the common room on the floor of dormitories where homeless men can stay. Donning long aprons, we lug pails of water down the immaculately clean corridor to the common room where we start work sweeping, dusting, mopping, and tidying. Other weeks we’ve swept and mopped dormitories, done dishes, and hung laundry on the terrace.
It’s very simple work that we do; it’s not glamorous. But as Blessed Mother Teresa said, “Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary.” And just as the Gospel said this past Sunday, “Whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.” Because He thirsts for our love in action; He thirsts for us to give. The photo above was taken in the chapel at the Missionaries of Charity. “Ho sete” is Italian for “I thirst.” So it’s a beautiful thing, to mop floors for Jesus, no?