September 5 ST. TERESA OF CALCUTTA. Video summary and full text.
A petite, humble nun with a huge heart, determined to fulfill God’s Will for love, Saint Teresa de Calcutta, a nun of Our Lady of Loreto working in India, received “the call within the call”, as she herself said. With the necessary ecclesiastical permission, she founded the Missionaries of Charity whose mission is to care for “the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone.”
Starting with 13 followers, the Congregation grew to more than 5150 active and contemplative sisters serving in 758 houses in 139 countries as of 2015. The Missionaries of Charity family also includes active or contemplative brothers, and MC fathers and as a Catholic institution, the MC family runs orphanages, AIDS hospices and charity centers worldwide, caring for refugees, the sick, the abandoned, the blind, disabled, aged, alcoholics, the poor and homeless, and victims of floods, epidemics, and famine.
Her example inspired millions of lives, for her determined and generous charitable efforts to take care of the poorest of the poor, the neglected, and all those who suffer, independently of their religion.
It is a known fact that after seeing all the sufferings in many people, Mother Teresa experienced doubts in her faith and in God’s existence for years, a doubt which most people have experienced as well. Her interior suffering lasted for years: a frequent phenomenon in the lives of the saints which St. John of the Cross himself called a “dark night in the inn”. It was the same feeling which Our Lord had on the Cross when He cried out: “Eli, Eli, lama sabacthani”, that is, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me (Mt 27:46)!”
But what really matters is the fact that Mother Teresa had faith and entrusted herself into God’s hands. She withstood the trial and persevered in her vocation to serve the poorest of the poor for love of God till the end. How was this possible?
John Paul II once asked: “Where did Mother Teresa find the strength and perseverance to place herself completely at the service of others? She found it in prayer and in the silent contemplation of Jesus Christ, his Holy Face, his Sacred Heart.”
Benedict XVI mentioned Teresa of Calcutta three times and he also used her life to clarify one of his main points of his first encyclical, Deus caritas est:
“In the example of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta we have a clear illustration of the fact that time devoted to God in prayer not only does not detract from effective and loving service to our neighbour but is in fact the inexhaustible source of that service.” Mother Teresa specified that “It is only by mental prayer and spiritual reading that we can cultivate the gift of prayer.”
And Blessed Mother Teresa herself said: “By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus.”
Dear brethren in Christ, St. Teresa of Calcutta is an example for all of us to follow. Let us thank God for giving us a great saint whose entire life of love, service and total self-giving to those who are suffering, is an embodiment of Jesus’ words in Mt 25:34-40:
“Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, 0 blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee? And the King will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of my brethren, you did it to me.’”
Let us pray for the poorest of the poor, the sick and neglected by the society; for the sanctity, fidelity, apostolic zeal of the religious sisters, brothers and priests of the Missionaries of Charity family and ask Him to send us more vocations, more laborers to his vineyard.
Finally, may we follow St. Teresa de Calcutta’s example of being an instrument of God’s mercy and love for those who are suffering, being each one of us with our prayers and actions, a balm of relief of God’s tenderness and love to the poor, the sick and the neglected.
St. Teresa of Calcutta, thank you and pray for us!
Fr. Rolly Arjonillo, priest of Opus Dei.
Below you have St. John Paul II’s homily during the Beatification of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
BEATIFICATION OF MOTHER THERESA OF CALCUTTA
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II
World Mission Sunday Sunday, 19 October 2003
1. “Whoever would be first among you must be slave of all” (Mk10: 44). Jesus’ words to his disciples that have just rung out in this Square show us the way to evangelical “greatness”. It is the way walked by Christ himself that took him to the Cross: a journey of love and service that overturns all human logic. To be the servant of all!
Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Foundress of the Missionaries of Charity whom today I have the joy of adding to the Roll of the Blesseds, allowed this logic to guide her. I am personally grateful to this courageous woman whom I have always felt beside me. Mother Teresa, an icon of the Good Samaritan, went everywhere to serve Christ in the poorest of the poor. Not even conflict and war could stand in her way.
Every now and then she would come and tell me about her experiences in her service to the Gospel values. I remember, for example, her pro-life and anti-abortion interventions, even when she was awarded the Nobel Prize for peace (Oslo, 10 December 1979). She often used to say: “If you hear of some woman who does not want to keep her child and wants to have an abortion, try to persuade her to bring him to me. I will love that child, seeing in him the sign of God’s love”.
2. Is it not significant that her beatification is taking place on the very day on which the Church celebrates World Mission Sunday? With the witness of her life, Mother Teresa reminds everyone that the evangelizing mission of the Church passes through charity, nourished by prayer and listening to God’s word. Emblematic of this missionary style is the image that shows the new Blessed clasping a child’s hand in one hand while moving her Rosary beads with the other.
Contemplation and action, evangelization and human promotion: Mother Teresa proclaimed the Gospel living her life as a total gift to the poor but, at the same time, steeped in prayer.
3. Whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant” (Mk 10: 43). With particular emotion we remember today Mother Teresa, a great servant of the poor, of the Church and of the whole world. Her life is a testimony to the dignity and the privilege of humble service. She had chosen to be not just the least but to be the servant of the least. As a real mother to the poor, she bent down to those suffering various forms of poverty. Her greatness lies in her ability to give without counting the cost, to give “until it hurts”. Her life was a radical living and a bold proclamation of the Gospel.
The cry of Jesus on the Cross, “I thirst” (Jn 19: 28), expressing the depth of God’s longing for man, penetrated Mother Teresa’s soul and found fertile soil in her heart. Satiating Jesus’ thirst for love and for souls in union with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, had become the sole aim of Mother Teresa’s existence and the inner force that drew her out of herself and made her “run in haste” across the globe to labour for the salvation and the sanctification of the poorest of the poor.
4. “As you did to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25: 40). This Gospel passage, so crucial in understanding Mother Teresa’s service to the poor, was the basis of her faith-filled conviction that in touching the broken bodies of the poor she was touching the body of Christ. It was to Jesus himself, hidden under the distressing disguise of the poorest of the poor, that her service was directed. Mother Teresa highlights the deepest meaning of service – an act of love done to the hungry, thirsty, strangers, naked, sick, prisoners (cf. Mt 25: 34-36) is done to Jesus himself.
Recognizing him, she ministered to him with wholehearted devotion, expressing the delicacy of her spousal love. Thus, in total gift of herself to God and neighbour, Mother Teresa found her greatest fulfilment and lived the noblest qualities of her femininity. She wanted to be a sign of “God’s love, God’s presence and God’s compassion”, and so remind all of the value and dignity of each of God’s children, “created to love and be loved”. Thus was Mother Teresa “bringing souls to God and God to souls” and satiating Christ’s thirst, especially for those most in need, those whose vision of God had been dimmed by suffering and pain.
5. “The Son of man also came… to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mk 10: 45). Mother Teresa shared in the Passion of the crucified Christ in a special way during long years of “inner darkness”. For her that was a test, at times an agonizing one, which she accepted as a rare “gift and privilege”.
In the darkest hours she clung even more tenaciously to prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. This harsh spiritual trial led her to identify herself more and more closely with those whom she served each day, feeling their pain and, at times, even their rejection. She was fond of repeating that the greatest poverty is to be unwanted, to have no one to take care of you.
6. “Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you”. How often, like the Psalmist, did Mother Teresa call on her Lord in times of inner desolation: “In you, in you I hope, my God!”.
Let us praise the Lord for this diminutive woman in love with God, a humble Gospel messenger and a tireless benefactor of humanity. In her we honour one of the most important figures of our time. Let us welcome her message and follow her example.
Virgin Mary, Queen of all the Saints, help us to be gentle and humble of heart like this fearless messenger of Love. Help us to serve every person we meet with joy and a smile. Help us to be missionaries of Christ, our peace and our hope. Amen!
For the Homily of Pope Francis during her Canonisation on Sept. 4, 2016, click HERE.
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