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Words of Wisdom and Inspirational Quotes by Mother Teresa

Updated on October 25, 2011
Mother Teresa was a ripplemaker.  She created ripples of love as evident by the expansion of the Missionaries of Charity all over the world.
Mother Teresa was a ripplemaker. She created ripples of love as evident by the expansion of the Missionaries of Charity all over the world.

...and my reflections about these quotes

I got the chance to visit one of Mother Teresa's "homes" here in Cebu, Philippines. I was a dental apprentice in Dr. Gaston Batiller's clinic. And as a way of gratitude for a successful practice, he decided to team up with other dentist friends; and once a month we would visit the center and offer free dental services.

Mother Teresa was a Roman Catholic Nun who founded the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India in 1950. Her ministry is caring for the sick, the lonely, the unwanted, the orphaned, the dying. I watched the sisters at work. I couldn't help but be amazed at the inner love they have that radiated from them as they did their chores, the care they had for the old and the dying. I was moved and touched.

And this is all because of one woman who showed us by sample on what it really means to "live" the gospel. She walked her talk and made a lot of difference in the world.

Do you feel loved in your homes?
Do you feel loved in your homes?

Where Does Love Begin?

"Love begins at home; love lives in homes, and that is why there is so much suffering and so much unhappiness in the world today...Everybody today seems to be in such a terrible rush, anxious for greater developments and greater riches and so on, so that children have very little time for their parents. Parents have very little time for each other, and in the home begins the disruption of the peace of the world."

"The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved."

"The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted."

"There is more hunger in the world for love and appreciation than for bread."

"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."

--Mother Teresa

My Reflection: "I Don't Like Me!"

She came into our school looking at us with a tough, defiant look. She was three years old. None of us was more surprised when we found out that the bathroom steps became her refuge. She would sit there forlorn whenever she didn't get what she wanted. And when we would try to coax her out of her mood, she suddenly screamed, "Ayoko sa akin!" And repeated it screaming over and over. In English, "I don't like me!"

We then discovered that at home she always heard that she wasn't beautiful, that she was ugly. This translated to feelings of unhappiness and being unwanted, unloved. And the little girl brought along these scars with her. She was like an angry cat, ready to kick and pounce on anyone who would come near her.

A talk with the family followed after her several outbursts and tantrums. We encouraged the teachers to praise and affirm. After several months, the little girl was transformed. Love has worked its wonders. I was standing near the bookshelves when she said, "I like your dress, teacher Michelle." I couldn't believe my ears. I was teary-eyed. Positive words finally came out of this little girl's mouth. If love could allow people to heal, shouldn't we start loving at home?

Life's Work and Mission

"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."

"The miracle is not that we do this work, but that we are happy to do it."

"Do not wait for leaders, do it alone, person to person."

--Mother Teresa

My Reflection: If You Can't Beat Them...

Sometimes I come across sharings from friends about people who are disheartened by the system at work or at home. And raising helpless hands in the air, they start entertaining thoughts..."Oh what's the use? If you can't beat them, why don't we join them instead?" It does feel like that way sometimes. Most often, it happens to people who are giving service and wants to make a difference.

When we came across these quotes from Mother Teresa, it was an uplifting message. That no matter how small our acts of love may be, we are still doing something. That the miracle is that we are happy doing it. That we don't always have to wait for the "big" people to act, but we can start in our own little way. And so I can't help but smile when you meet someone whose life's work has also become their mission. You would know them. They do not care how big a splash they make in the ocean...but loving each drop they make one day at a time.

Be a Light Unto the World
Be a Light Unto the World

On Love

"I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love."

"If you judge people, you have no time to love them."

"Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing."

"Good works are links that form a chain of love."

"Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired."

Take time to be quiet. It is a soothing balm to the spirit.
Take time to be quiet. It is a soothing balm to the spirit.

Finding God

"We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is in 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."

A Very Special Human Being

On Service

"Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies."

"I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much."

"Many people mistake our work for our vocation. Our vocation is the love of Jesus."

"There should be less talk; a preaching point is not a meeting point. What do you do then? Take a broom and clean someone's house. That says enough."

"Sweetest Lord, make me appreciative of the dignity of my high vocation, and its many responsibilities. Never permit me to disguise it by giving way to coldness, unkindness or impatience."

"In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love."

--Mother Teresa

My Reflection: What Drives You?

Last week, two boys got into a fight. The other one wouldn't return the yoyo that he borrowed from his classmate. The lender was very much agrieved and kicked him. Our maintenance personnel was there trying to stop the fight. But then the Grandma of the boy (who refused to return the yoyo) rushed to the scene. Grandma was now shouting curses at the offending boy.

It was just a normal fight between two boys playing, who were still learning how to handle their emotions. But what turned out was that Grandma started getting mad at the maintenance personnel for not telling the truth. She claimed her grandson fainted. Our staff said, he was crouched on the floor and that wasn't his definition of fainting.

The parent of the "kicking" boy wanted to apologize and wanted to make sure the other boy was okay. But the parents of the other boy refused to talk to her. And in the end, they blamed it on our staff-- for not being truthful and along with it, his other faults.

I sighed. We all did. We tried talking to the boy's parents. We wanted to clear up the matter. But apparently they have made up their mind. They wanted to transfer their son to another school next year. It made me really sad. Not only that we will lose a student, but also because they have done this already for the past years. They have been uprooting their child from one school to the other whenever conflicts would arise. And we are already the third school in a span of four years.

I sighed because it is in moments like these that I get frustrated and one just wants to shout to the winds. How did we get caught up in between? Did all the good things we did end up as useless? Why couldn't they see that by protecting the child too much they weren't helping him?

As I reflect on Mother Teresa's quotes, I am gently reminded that our work, our service continues even if people become unreasonable. That in the end, love must govern our actions. So I breathed deeply and focused on all the good things.

What drives you to wake up every morning to do the things you need to do? Perhaps in the silence, you will find your answers. I am constantly trying to find mine.


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