DAY 17: The Visions of 1947
DAY 17: The Visions of 1947
By Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC
Several months after Mother Teresa first felt her “call within a call,” she experienced three visions that further expressed her calling. In the first vision, she saw a huge crowd of all kinds of people that included the very poor and children. The people in the crowd had their hands raised toward her and were calling out, “Come, come, save us — bring us to Jesus.”
In the second vision, the same great crowd was there, and this time Mother Teresa could see the immense sorrow and suffering in their faces. She was kneeling near Our Lady, who was facing the crowd. Although she couldn’t see Mary’s face, she could hear what she said: “Take care of them — they are mine. — Bring them to Jesus — carry Jesus to them. — Fear not.”
In the third vision, the same great crowd was there again, but they were covered in darkness. Despite this, Teresa could see them. Within this scene, Jesus hung on the Cross, and Our Lady was a little distance away. Teresa, as a little child, was just in front of Mary. Mary’s left hand rested on Teresa’s left shoulder and her right hand held Teresa’s right arm. Both of them were facing the Cross, and Jesus spoke to Teresa:
I have asked you. They have asked you, and she, My Mother, has asked you. Will you refuse to do this for Me — to take care of them, to bring them to Me?
Notice the role of Our Lady in these visions. She is there, helping Teresa to hear the desire of the Lord’s Heart and to see the suffering of the crowd. She is there as a Mother with her “little child,” facing Jesus and the crowd together. She gives comfort and support to Teresa, just as she did to St. John at the foot of the Cross. Father Joseph Langford, MC, co-founder of the Missionaries of Charity Fathers, reflects on the meaning of these visions:
Without Our Lady, we would be … alone before the crosses of life, oblivious to Jesus in our midst. In times of trial, we are often like the poor in Mother Teresa’s vision, covered in darkness, unaware that Jesus is there in the midst of us. [W]ithout the fidelity [Our Lady] gave to Mother Teresa, the world would not have heard those words [I thirst], or seen them lived out, today.
It turns out that Our Lady was specially present to Mother Teresa not only in these visions but also during the original, September 10th grace. On the 50th anniversary of that blessed day, Mother shared something new: “If Our Lady had not been with me that day, I never would have known what Jesus meant when he said, ‘I thirst.'” What was Teresa getting at? What she meant comes to light when we reflect again on the Marian dimension of the March 25th letter on “I Thirst”:
… [Our Lady] was the first person to hear Jesus’ cry “I Thirst” with St. John, and I am sure Mary Magdalen. Because Our Lady was there on Calvary, she knows how real, how deep is His longing for you and for the poor. Do we know? Do we feel as she? Ask her to teach … . Her role is to bring you face to face, as John and Magdalen, with the love in the Heart of Jesus crucified. Before it was Our Lady pleading with Mother, now it is Mother in her name pleading with you —”listen to Jesus’ thirst.”
This passage gets to the heart of Mother Teresa’s relationship with Mary, and nothing summarizes it better than this golden line: [Our Lady’s] role is to bring you face to face … with the love in the Heart of Jesus crucified.
“Come, Holy Spirit, living in Mary.
Bring me face to face with the love in the Heart of Jesus crucified.”