Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | January 1, 2012

Totus Tuus

Kolkata, India

I am back in Kolkata on this first day of the New Year. I have said before that I feel strangely at home in this city of teeming masses. I first visited Kolkata three years ago to serve the least of these at Mother Teresa’s homes. I think that is when it happened and why it happened that I feel drawn to return here. I feel connected to those I have served at Mother Teresa’s homes. Every time I return I am anxious to see them again. Jesus said, “For the poor you always have with you…” (John 12:8). When I read those words I often think that Jesus must have been thinking of Kolkata because it seems the poor have all gathered here. This city is over-saturated with people who live and die on the streets. And this is the city where Mother Teresa unwittingly captured the imagination and respect of the world because of her service to the poor.

Mother Teresa made a difference in the lives of the poor because she made herself totally available to God. It’s amazing what God can accomplish through those whose heart is completely His. Reading several books about the life of Mother Teresa got me interested in learning more about Pope John Paul II, one of the most universally respected leaders in the history of the Catholic Church. Although I am not a Catholic, I was fascinated by the life of this pope. While reading about him I came across the words “Totus Tuus” — a Latin expression that means “totally yours.” Totus Tuus was Pope John Paul II’s apostolic motto, one that he borrowed from a prayer-book by Saint Louis de Montfort. He chose these words to express his devotion to Mary. I do not agree with my Catholic friends about the veneration of Mary, but I do like the expression totus tuus. In its larger context the text that inspired the Pope is this: Totus Tuus ego sum, et omnia mea tua sunt. Accipio te in mea omnia. The translation of these words is, “I belong entirely to you, and all that I have is yours. I take you for my all.”

As I think about the year ahead I have decided to borrow Pope John Paul II’s motto but to apply it to my relationship with Jesus Christ. I am not big on making New Year’s resolutions, but I do like the idea of taking ownership of something that will challenge me to grow in my relationship with Christ in the New Year. I can think of no better challenge than to say to Christ, “I belong entirely to you, and all that I have is yours. I take you for my all.” I have a choice regarding who owns me and who I will serve. I choose to renew my commitment to Christ, to make myself His servant, to live out my faith in practical ways, and to share the life-transforming gospel message with others. And, lest I forget, I am determined to start each day of the New Year by saying to Christ — Totus Tuus.

Happy New Year! Live this year in such a way that if it is your last, then even your dust will praise God and tell the world of His faithfulness (Ps. 30:9).


  1. Happy New Year to you, Omar. God Bless your faithfulness, obedience and service to Him.

  2. Every blessing to you Omar for 2012. May you continue to bless the poorest of the poor in Kolkata.

    Paul & Sarah Beniston

    • Thanks, Paul and Sarah. May you too have a blessed New Year. Always good to hear from you.

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