Putting Love Into Action

The fruit of silence is prayer

The fruit of prayer is faith

The fruit of faith is love

The fruit of love is service

- Mother Teresa

On Saturday, Natalia and I will fly to Kolkata, India to volunteer at the Mother Teresa home for the destitute and dying. We are filled with many conflicting emotions but a deep sense that this is where we are supposed to be.

We want to put LOVE into action

"In 1952, Mother Teresa opened the first Home for the Dying in a space made available by the City of Kolkata. With the help of Indian officials she converted an abandoned Hindu temple into the Kalighat Home for the Dying people, a free hospice for the poor and later renamed it Kalighat, the Home of the Pure Heart (Nirmal Hriday).

It is in the heart of the slums, and next door to the temple to the goddess Kali, the destroyer. The patients in the female and male wards are very poor, many of them never having known any home other than a few square feet of pavement.

The most common diseases are tuberculosis, malnutrition and leprosy. Many of them are going to die soon, some others will go back to live in the street and nothing change in their life."

Check out Jean-Luc Mege's photos from Kolkata.

Not just a number

Through the narrow, dark and winding

streets, charcoal fires and

thin silhouettes were filling the

night in this eighth largest city

in the world.

Our rickshaw puller's muted bell

announced our passing and to

please move aside.

As we passed through the smoke of

burning coal and incense,

we stepped back into time and

into another world.

In the lights of passing shops,

we could see tattered clothing on a

frail humanity,

pumping water into an old bucket,

carrying a gunny sack of

dirty papers and rags,

and hammering on a

greasy bicycle frame.

My wife was crying tears and sobbing sobs,

"Take me back home!"

"I want to go back home!"

My heart was thinking,

"Is this a ride through hell?"

"Is this a night in Paradise Lost?"

"Is this what happens

when no one cares?"

"Is this the ultimate end of

a lost humanity?"

"And where are the shepherds

to look for the lost sheep?"

In Calcutta, you walk through human

stench and bone-grinding

degradation and watch a heroic

struggle against all the odds to

survive in a squalor that leaves the mind

gasping for air.

You walk through a no-man's land of

lepers begging

with no noses and

with stumps for fingers

(the flesh long since eaten away).

You see humanity with no limbs, partial

limbs, and horribly twisted limbs

vying for alms with mothers

clutching new-born babies to their

shriveled breasts.

You see children scavenging garbage bins

for bits of broken glass or metal

for 14 cents a day.

Then, before you can get accustomed to

the depths of someone else's misery,

the survival dance takes a different turn.

Out of the corner of your eye, you see an

enchantingly beautiful nine- or ten-year

old girl picking through a pile of

ashes to find some bits of

charcoal to sell.

Her beauty could appear on the cover of

any number of American fashion

magazines were it not for her filth, and

you ask yourself,

"What future does she have?"

"How long before she begins to sell herself for

some man’s quick joyride

at 30 or 40 cents a shot?"

And deeper questions jettison into your


"What is my responsibility here?"

"Am I my brother's keeper?"

"Who is my neighbor?"

- Author Unknown