Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What Mother Teresa said

At Easter time, I am reminded of the words of Mother Teresa. She had a lot to say about living in the modern world, about loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted. At mass this past Sunday, the priest spoke about the very same things, and talked about the heavy crosses that many people in our society live with each day—depression, loneliness, unemployment, a demoralizing job, family problems--the list goes on. The priest meant that these conditions are our chance to share in the cross of Christ, and while that idea is very unappealing—to have a cross on our shoulders weighing us down that may ultimately lead to our demise--the fact remains that this is the human condition from time to time. I find some reassurance in knowing that my faith is founded on the suffering and death of a man who cared for others. His life was remarkable; the circumstances surrounding his death were not. He was treated as a common criminal and left to die, and before he died, he struggled with not wanting to fulfill his mission here on earth. How many times have we had that feeling ourselves? How many times have we wanted to run away from our problems, from unhappiness, from depression, from heavy responsibilities, from unpleasant situations, from unpleasant people? How many times has it been hard to smile after being pushed down one more time, after being trampled on one more time? How difficult it is to smile in the face of injustice, abuse, and ridicule. And yet there are people who do this every day. Get up and keep on going. Smile kindly and accept what others would not accept. Are these people crazy? Do they have something to teach us? Even Mother Teresa knew that most of us could never live her life. She was adamant about starting at home, that we had to learn to love the ones we live with before we could go out into society to do the same. Her wisdom is timeless and precious and too important not to share again. I read her books when I was younger, and here I am many years later, and her words make even more sense to me now.

·         Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.
·         Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.
·         Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.
·         Even the rich are hungry for love, for being cared for, for being wanted, for having someone to call their own.
·         I want you to be concerned about your next door neighbor. Do you know your next door neighbor?
·         If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
·         If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
·         If you want a love message to be heard, it has got to be sent out. To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.
·         Intense love does not measure, it just gives.
·         Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.
·         Peace begins with a smile.
·         We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.
·         Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.
·         Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.
·         Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go.
·         Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do... but how much love we put in that action.
·         Love begins by taking care of the closest ones - the ones at home.
·         We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.
·         Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.
·         The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.
·         The miracle is not that we do this work, but that we are happy to do it.
·         There is always the danger that we may just do the work for the sake of the work. This is where the respect and the love and the devotion come in - that we do it to God, to Christ, and that's why we try to do it as beautifully as possible.
·         Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.
·         There must be a reason why some people can afford to live well. They must have worked for it. I only feel angry when I see waste. When I see people throwing away things that we could use.
·         We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.
·         Words which do not give the light of Christ increase the darkness.
·         We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence... We need silence to be able to touch souls.

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