“Vocation is belonging to Christ. The work is only a means for us to put our love of Christ into action.”

Holy Toledo Batman. Read that again…

What a rockstar.

I recently wrote a paper on Mother Teresa’s spirituality in the midst of the modern world. (Don’t worry, I am not about to copy and paste that paper for you to read.) Over the course of a few coffee dates and a number of long trips during which I read her private writings, I really got a glimpse into the beauty and holiness that composed this woman. Her letters display her whole-hearted devotion for God. She was constantly emptying herself in order to be filled with the love of Christ, so that she herself could love with a love that suffered to the end. She loved the poorest of the poor all for Jesus and devoted her life to bringing Christ to the poor and the poor to Christ. Mother Teresa truly was, and is, a remarkable human being.

In what she wrote, I came across more soul stirring quotes than I could count. (Who’s shocked?) I decided to pick a few of my favorite Mother Teresa gems and connect them to youth ministry so that we can all find ways to let them impact the work we do for the kingdom. And here they are… everybody get ready:

“Until you know deep inside that Jesus thirsts for you, you can’t begin to know who He wants you to be for you or who He wants you to be for Him.”

The ministry God has appointed you to lead has to be founded on your relationship with God. You can’t bring Jesus to others if you don’t first allow Him to be present in your life. This means living in relationship with Him, having a daily time of prayer, staying connected to Him in the sacraments and living out holiness through works of love. Until you create space and time in your life to allow God to love you, you won’t be able to let His love flow through you into those around you.

“Beautiful are the ways of God if we allow Him to use us as He wants.”

If you’re like me, you probably spend a lot of time and effort trying to make your ministry as perfect as possible. But if you and your volunteer team are the only ones involved in the planning and the working, that’s all it will be – your youth ministry. And then, sadly, it’s been cut short from the start. It was never meant to be your ministry or my ministry. Ultimately, our ministries don’t belong to us, they’re just carried out by us. It’s all God’s work, His mission to bring people into His love, and He has invited us to participate in it. He wants to work beautiful things through each of us, but we have to let Him lead and ask Him want He wants for our young people. His plans for them are better than any of us could ever come up with.

“Keep on smiling in spite of everything and give the Lord a cheerful smile.”

Despite all the internal darkness and desolation that plagued Mother Teresa during her life, she always insisted on smiling for Jesus.

Why? Because she saw the reality of being a Christian, that we have been rescued from sin and death and live in the Risen Spirit of Christ and are offering that hope and salvation to others.

What’s not to smile about?! The world needs to know the hope and joy of the resurrection, and even those who know about it need to be reminded. So simple – smile at your young people, at their parents, at your pastors. A smile is the simplest way to radiate the presence of Christ’s love to all. We are an Easter people, and Mother Teresa knew how to live this out each day.

“Keep giving Jesus to your people… by your being in love with Jesus – by radiating His holiness and spreading His fragrance of love everywhere you go.”

Now I want to challenge you, take one inspiration from Mother Teresa and turn it into an action for the good of those you minister to. Take this to prayer and think about one thing God might be asking of you. Make it your aim for the next month. Remind yourself. Make it your phone background, your desktop background, write it on Post-Its, in your planner. One thing to be more intentional about. One thing to help you love your youth better. Let us carry out little acts of love and be Christ’s light in the world, just like Saint Mother Teresa.

[tweetthis]Let #SaintMotherTeresa be your mentor in #ministry. #stteresaofcalcutta[/tweetthis]

(Last thing – If you want a simple way to get to know this beautiful woman better, you can hop onto YouTube and check out one of her interviews. I recommend this one from 1974 that took place in Ireland. It really gives a glimpse into her story, her mission and her heart.)