Experience in Calcutta


Experience in Calcutta

In December of 2012 I spent some time in Calcutta with the Missionary of Charity Sisters serving the poorest of the poor. I had the privilege to volunteer with people from all over the world including a Lutheran seminarian, a Buddhist, an atheist, and many agnostics. Each of the volunteers came to Calcutta because they were inspired by Mother Teresa and her sisters in their service to the poor.

As I spent time working with the many volunteers from all over the world, we exchanged in a number of conversations about suffering, faith, service, and the meaning of life. I was struck with how open they were with me about their lack of trust in the Catholic Church and their lack of faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God.

However, the most interesting thing would happen day after day. The Missionary of Charity Sisters would invite all of the volunteers to Mass at 6:00 in the morning before we began our work and again at 6:00 in the evening for an Hour of Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament at the end of our work day. Many of the volunteers would come each morning to Mass and every evening for Adoration, including the Lutheran seminarian, the Atheist man, the Agnostic woman, and the Buddhist seeker. Each one of these volunteers would enter the chapel with reverence, drop to their knees for an hour of silent Adoration, and gaze at the Eucharist as Jesus Christ gazed at them.

The disposition of these volunteers amazed me because these were the same people who shared with me that they did not believe in the fundamental teachings of the Church or in some cases, Jesus Christ Himself. Nonetheless, after many long hours of working in some of the harshest conditions, they still chose to come and spend time with Jesus in the Eucharist. Their reverence towards Jesus in Adoration revealed that they recognized that there was something special about this Sacred Time at the Missionary of Charity Motherhouse.

At the end of my time in Calcutta, I had a beautiful conversation with the Lutheran Seminarian. We spoke about the Eucharist and particularly Eucharistic Adoration of Jesus Christ. I mentioned to him that I noticed him in the chapel everyday for our Holy Hour and I asked him if he would ever consider converting to the Catholic Church because his posture seemed to reveal that he believed in the Presence of Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration. He revealed to me that he was seriously considering it!

Our Lord revealed a deep truth to me on that immersion experience in Calcutta. He revealed to me that if we just make Him available, in the poorest of the poor in the missions, in the Sacred Scriptures in the Liturgy, and in His Eucharistic Presence in Mass and Adoration, people will have the opportunity to receive Him and in receiving Him their hearts will find rest and their lives will be transformed!

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Father Josh

Father Josh Johnson is a priest for the Diocese of Baton Rouge.

11 thoughts on “Experience in Calcutta”

  1. Thank you for posting your story Fr.Josh. It proves the vast possibilities for transformation and conversion through giving of oneself and Jesus. Eucharistic Adoration is a unique gift that anyone seeking peace should open themselves to.

  2. Profound! Look within the Eucharist exposed or received and there you would find him and his desires for you! No matter what walk of life you come from! With your actions glorify His presence in you and His glory. With thanksgiving find yourself honored and blessed that he has called you among all to experience this that no one else can see, feel or explain to others but you. A longing union and presence that produces love in many ways sometimes unknown to the self creating an unprecedented dimension to the soul. Soul which shall seek the Eucharist forever even after death. Death that leads the soul to the final union and fulfillment of the longing with Christ.

  3. The diversity of the worldviews represented by those you served with confirms the fact that there some somethings about all human beings that are universal (i.e. our human nature). We all need to find meaning and purpose in life. We learn that serving others is meaningful. With time, we find that the ultimate source of all meaning is God.

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