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
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
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
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