DO IT FOR JESUS
Poverty has not been created by God. We are the ones who have created poverty. Before God, we are all poor.- Mother Teresa
Just a peep into the history tells us that in the year 1910, on 27 August a daughter was born to a family in Yugoslavia. She was christened Agnes Gonxha Bejaxhiu. A religious minded girl from her childhood, Agnes went to Ireland at the age of 18 and, on 24 May 1937, she made her final profession as a Loretto sister. She came to India and began as a school teacher at St Mary's High School in Calcutta. After years of teaching, she decided to start working for the poor and destitute and therefore applied for de-cloisteration, which was granted by the Pope in 1948.
Agnes started her activities from the famous "Little Sisters of the Poor". In 1950, the Pope granted her permission to start her own religious order – the "Missionaries of Charity". Agnes took the name "Mother Teresa" and founded her "Nirmal Hriday"(meaning ‘pure heart) at Kalighat. She along with her sisters took dying people off the streets and housed them in Nirmal Hriday.
She won several awards during her lifetime but the one she cherished the most was the Nobel Peace Prize that she was honoured with in 1979. Mother Teresa left to be with her Saviour on 5 September 1997 and, on 19 October 2003, she was beatified. The process leading up to the beatification has been the shortest in modern history. In early 1999—less than two years after Mother Teresa's death—Pope John Paul waived the normal five-year waiting period and allowed the immediate opening of her canonization cause. She is now referred to as Blessed Mother Teresa.
This year, across India, people are preparing to mark the first centennial anniversary of Mother Teresa's birth. Ceremonies in honour of the founder of the Missionaries of Charity who dedicated her life to India's poor and needy will not only be religious. In New Delhi, a monument dedicated to her will be unveiled. The Indian government will also issue a special commemorative coin for the occasion. India has also asked the United Nations to move World Orphans Day to her birthday.
From a very young age, I have been fascinated with this angelic woman who, like Jesus, taught the world to love again. (The documentary on her life and work is a ‘must-watch’ and is available at St. Pauline’s book stores.) What does Blessed Mother Teresa teach you and me? I believe that:
• Mother Teresa teaches us to accept what we get from the hand of God. Biographers tell us that Mother Teresa, whose given name was Agnes, admired St. Therese the Little Flower and her "Little Way" very much, so much that she wanted to take the name 'Therese' upon professing as a sister. However, another postulant also wanted that name and spelling. Quietly, without a fuss, Agnes took the Spanish spelling of the name ('Teresa'), relinquishing the spelling she desired more. In this simple action and attitude, Mother Teresa teaches us to accept what life deals us with calm resolution that God Himself guides all happenings, large or small.
• Mother Teresa teaches us there is holiness in doing small things with great love. With a smile on her face she quietly and tenderly cleaned the maggot-filled sores of a dying man, ignoring the stench and fighting the human urge to turn away. She did this again and again and again each day — small things with great love. When I tie my child's shoe patiently or wipe his nose gently, I am doing a small thing with great love. When I serve my husband who has had a difficult day his favorite meal with a smile (even though my own day has been filled with uncooperative children and minor emergencies), I am doing a small thing with great love. Life is full of these opportunities. Mother teaches that is the path to holiness.
• Mother Teresa teaches us not to fret about the tasks before us. When she was alive she did not wake up in the morning anxious and stressed about the day. She didn't say, "Oh my goodness! I have so much to do! There are so many poor and I can't handle this ...." She simply looked at the task before her, tackled it, and then moved on. We should follow this example in our daily living.
• Mother Teresa teaches us it is good to rest. Biographers tell us Mother Teresa took naps. Does this surprise you? There was a point in time when I thought it was a sign of weakness if I laid down to rest during the day or went to bed early. I now see how silly that is. If our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, then taking care of those bodies is a serious responsibility. Besides, refreshed, we can accomplish more.
• Mother Teresa teaches us that every person has worth and dignity. The annoying football coach, the impatient attendant at the store, the grumpy mailman who bypasses my house because he doesn’t want to climb four flights of stairs — these people were made in the image and likeness of God just as much as the friendly parish priest or sweet, elderly grandmother. Sometimes it would be easier to love a beggar dying in the street than the neighbor who growls at my children if a stray ball rolls in their yard. Mother's actions showed we are to respect everyone.
• Mother Teresa started her day with prayer, and arranged her day in an orderly way. She had a schedule. When we do this, we prioritize our lives toward God and keep focused. God's plans for me are different from what they were for Mother Teresa. Mostly likely I will never tend to wounds of people ravaged by disease or scarred emotionally by severe rejection. But as a mother I will daily tend little wounds many times — a scraped knee after a trip to the playground, my child's hurt feelings over rejection from a playmate, the fatigue of my spouse over the daily troubles of work and family living. By remembering Mother Teresa's example and living the spirituality she demonstrated, I can be an instrument of God, bringing peace and healing in my little part of the world. (1,056 WORDS)