Little Mother Teresa and her Large Heart
Mother Teresa was a tiny little lady with a very big heart and spirit. She helped thousands of people throughout her life, and said she helped them as if she was doing it to Jesus. I truly enjoyed the little book that my son sent me for Mother's Day, in which she gives some of the wisdom she gained along her journey in life. It is entitled Mother Teresa, Her Essential Wisdom , Edited by Carol Kelly-Gangi. I learned much from it, and hope you can too.
First, just a little bit about her history. Mother Teresa's real name was Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu. She was born August 27, 1910 in Skopje, which is now Macedonia. She was the youngest of three children born to Albanian parents who were devout Catholics. Her father died when she was only nine years old. She attended the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was a church in her neighborhood. When she was twelve years old, she knew she wanted to become a sister, although her mother was initially against it, but finally gave in and said: Put your hand in His hand and walk all alone with Him."
She trained for the ministry in Dublin, Ireland through an Irish missionary school called Lady of Loreto. She then headed for India where she professed her temporary vows, taking her name from St. Therese of Lisieux, who was the patron saint of missionaries. She then taught for seventeen years in St. Mary's High School in Calcutta. She claimed she was the happiest nun in the world, because she loved teaching young girls. She took her final vows as a Sister of Loreta.
She gave up all that she loved to serve the poorest of the poor in the slums of India. She opened a home for the dying and also an orphanage. She did all of this for her love of God. She felt each person she helped was Jesus himself, coming in the disguise of the poor. She won numerous awards for her service, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. Many people followed her example helping thousands of unfortunate people.
Here are some of her quotes that I have learned from:
In God we live and move and have our being. It is God who gives life to all, who gives power and being to all that exists. But for his sustaining presence, all things would cease to be and fall back into nothingness.
Don't search for Jesus in far lands–he is not there. He is close to you; he is with you. Just keep the lamp burning and you will always see him. Keep on filling the lamp with all these little drops of love, and you will see how sweet is the Lord you love.
Don't allow anything to interfere with your love for Jesus. You belong to him. Nothing can separate you from him. That one sentence is important to remember. He will be your joy, your strength. If you hold onto that sentence, temptations and difficulties will come, but nothing will break you. Remember, you have been created for great things.
Jesus loved us to the end, to the very limit, dying on the cross. We must have this same love which comes from within, from our union with Christ. Such love must be as normal to us as living and breathing.
If we do any preaching, it is done with deeds, not with words.
We have to love until it hurts. It is not enough to say, "I love." We must put that love into a living action. And how do we do that? By giving until it hurts.
Once we take our eyes away from ourselves, from our interests, from our own rights, privileges, ambitions–then they will become clear to see Jesus around us.
In many places, children are neglected, but animals are cared for and pampered. Animals are given special food and special things. I love dogs myself very much, but still I cannot bear seeing a dog given the place of a child.
I cannot forget my mother. She was usually very busy all day long. Btu when sunset drew near, it was her custom to hurry with her tasks in order to be ready to receive my father. At the time we did not understand, and we would smile and even joke a little about it. Today I cannot help but call to mind that great delicacy of love that she had for him. No matter what happened, she was always prepared, with a smile on her lips, to welcome him.
Try to put in the hearts of your children a love for home. Make them long to be with their families. So much sin could be avoided if our people really loved their homes.
Bring prayer back into your family life, and you too will see that unity, the bond of joyful love that will bind you together.
In a letter Mother Teresa sent to George Bush and Saddam Hussein in January 1991 –
Please choose the way of peace...In the short term there may be winners and losers in this war that we all dread. But that never can, nor never will justify the suffering, pain, and loss of life your weapons will cause.
We must know that we have been created for greater things, not just to be a number in the world, not just to go for diplomas and degrees, this work and that work. We have been created in order to love and to be loved.
Prayer is as necessary as the air, as the blood in our bodies, as anything to keep us alive–to keep us alive to the grace of God.
In 1989, Mother Teresa was interviewed for Time Magazine when she said:
I don't claim anything of the work. It's his work. I'm like a little pencil in his hand. That's all. He does the thinking. He does the writing. The pencil has nothing to do with it. The pencil has only to be allowed to be used.
Serve God joyfully. Let there be no sadness in your life: the only true sorrow is sin.
If you are joyful, it will shine in your eyes and in your look, in your conversation and in your countenance. You will not be able to hide it because joy overflows.
The woman is the heart of the home. Let us pray that we women realize the reason of our existence: to love and be loved and through this love become instruments of peace in the world.