Within Thy Wounds Hide Me

I just want to start by saying the Missionaries of Charity are so awesome. Every little thing they do is done with such great love. There is no one I would rather be learning from about how to love and serve the poor than the Missionaries. I know both Ed and Josh talked about how awesome the sisters are in the previous blog posts, but we could never say enough to give the work they do justice. They are incredible.

Today we had the blessing of hearing Fr. Kelly preach on a line from the Anima Christi, which the Missionaries pray every morning before they go to do the Lord’s work. It goes, “O good Jesus, hear me. In thy wounds hide me”. Father commented that we can take this to mean asking Christ to protect us, but another way we could see it is as participating in the suffering of Christ. By asking Christ to hide us in His wounds, we ask to stand at the source of Christ’s pain and suffering . We ask to participate in and help alleviate His suffering by serving our fellow brothers and sisters who are themselves suffering with Jesus. More on that in a moment.

My main volunteer location is Kalighat and so far it has been both a difficult and incredible experience. Every second of the morning is packed with washing, cleaning, drying, feeding, shaving and serving. It has been very easy for me to fall into a work mentality of getting as much done as possible. I admire how the sisters are able to do all their work with incredible love never falling into this busy-body mentality, and I have finally been able to understand what that means after this last day. One of the men had a severe injury that left his foot deformed and mangled. Today, he had to have the wound cleaned, restitched and dressed. I was asked to come in and help hold him down so he did not interfere with the doctor’s work.  Basically I was asked to be a glorified straight jacket for the man, but in that moment the Lord asked me to give more. While he cried in agony, I sat there cradling him and holding his hands. I wished every second of the seemingly endless 10 minute process I could have shared in his pain and suffering or even at least spoken to him in his language to comfort him, but I was left there to do only what I could, and that was hold him and pray for him. I was humbled as the Lord showed me that I could give more in the moment than what was asked but not as much as I wish I could have.

It was in that moment that I understood what Fr. Kelly spoke of hours before in his homily about the prayer, “within thy wounds hide me”. In Kalighat reside men and women that have suffered much through injury, homelessness, addiction, poverty, abuse; and Mother Teresa recognized this suffering. She wanted to reside in this wound of Christ and help alleviate this suffering of God’s children whether that be by feeding the man that can no longer feed himself, helping them get the patients into their beds or hanging dozens and dozens of blankets out to dry. The little acts that I saw as unimportant I now want to do with as great of a love as possible. It is in the small tasks that I can help alleviate the suffering of my brothers at Kalighat as well as Christ Himself, and the Missionaries understand this better than anyone. I want every single one of my actions at Kalighat to be done like I am caring for Jesus just as the sisters do. Thank God that the Missionaries are here to show and teach just that. There is no greater joy than to help ease the suffering of Christ by serving my brothers here in Calcutta, and I look forward to learning more and more about how to serve with great love and joy as Mother Teresa did and as the Missionaries do now. Please keep us in your prayers as you are in ours. God Bless

Daniel Obendorf

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