With the announcement this week that Mother Teresa’s canonization is going forward, the team at Aleteia recalled some of the missionary’s most inspiring (and challenging) exhortations to individuals, and to society, as a whole.
1) If you are judging people, you have no time to love them.
2) The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread, but there are many more dying for a little love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty — it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There’s a hunger for love as there is a hunger for God (A Simple Path: Mother Teresa).
3) What is my thought? I see Jesus in every human being. I say to myself,This is hungry Jesus, I must feed him. This is sick Jesus. This one has leprosy or gangrene; I must wash him and tend to him. I serve because I love Jesus.
4) Be kind to each other in your homes. Be kind to those who surround you. I prefer that you make mistakes in kindness rather than that you work miracles in unkindness. Often just for one word, one look, one quick action, and darkness fills the heart of the one we love (Love, a Fruit Always in Season.)
5) I pray that you will understand the words of Jesus, “Love one another as I have loved you.” Ask yourself, “How has he loved me? Do I really love others in the same way?” Unless this love is among us, we can kill ourselves with work and it will only be work, not love. Work without love is slavery (Come, Be My Light).
6) A sacrifice to be real must cost, must hurt, must empty ourselves. The fruit of silence is prayer, the fruit of prayer is faith, the fruit of faith is love, the fruit of love is service, the fruit of service is peace.
7) Seeking the face of God in everything, everyone, all the time, and his hand in every happening; this is what it means to be contemplative in the heart of the world. Seeing and adoring the presence of Jesus, especially in the lowly appearance of bread, and in the distressing disguise of the poor (In the Heart of the World).
8) What you are doing I cannot do, what I’m doing you cannot do, but together we are doing something beautiful for God, and this is the greatness of God’s love for us — to give us the opportunity to become holy through the works of love that we do because holiness is not the luxury of the few. It is a very simple duty for you, for me — you in your position, in your work and I and others, each one of us in the work, in the life that we have given our word of honor to God. … You must put your love for God in a living action (Where There Is Love, There Is God).
9) When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her.
It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed.
10) Jesus wants me to tell you again … how much is the love he has for each one of you — beyond all what you can imagine. … Not only he loves you, even more — he longs for you. He misses you when you don’t come close. He thirsts for you. He loves you always, even when you don’t feel worthy … (Come, Be My Light).
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