Last night there was a moment in spiritual direction when the priest was talking to me about seeing Jesus in my students. I was nodding my head, having heard this before and thinking I already knew it but still glad to hear it again.
Then I realized. I haven’t been looking for Jesus in my students. I teach them about Jesus, Sacred Scripture, and the Sacred Tradition of the Catholic Church and I forgot to look for Jesus in them. I mean, to seriously look for Jesus in them.
I briefly imagined what that would look like. To look at a classroom full of students and see 25 varying pictures of Christ looking at me. To teach to Jesus residing within each one of their souls and to know that, despite exterior appearances, despite however little response I may receive, that Jesus is resting within them. To know that Jesus, within them, is receiving my words. To know that not every person is against me because Christ, dwelling in them, is very much for me. I imagined being able to look at a student who was annoyed with me, making a scene in my class, or being extremely critical and having the grace to calmly ask myself where Jesus was in that student.
That changes everything. It doesn’t make all of the problems or troubles go away. It doesn’t make all of students like me. But I can know that there is someone, very present in the room, who is rooting for me, who is willing me to remain faithful, who is sympathizing with me. He is not just with me, He is with them, too. Mother Teresa found Christ in the poorest of the poor. The streets of Calcutta might not be my streets to go out on but I have a different kind of mission field. And like the streets in India, it is brimming with the many faces of Christ. If I but have the eyes to see and the heart to love.
Bl. Mother Teresa, pray for us.
Bl. Pope John Paul II, pray for us.