Today, September 5, we celebrate the feast of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997), Foundress of the Missionaries of Charity, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and tireless servant of the Lord through her service to others. Mother Teresa is a modern-day reflection of how we can live the Gospel. Beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2003, the process of her canonization is currently underway.
"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.”
“the spouse of Jesus for all eternity.”
Ever obedient, Mother Teresa spent the first part of her ministry teaching the daughters of the wealthy at Saint Mary’s Bengali School, eventually becoming the school’s principal. A person of profound prayer and deep love for her religious sisters and her students, Mother Teresa's twenty years as a Loreto sister were filled with profound happiness. Noted for her charity, unselfishness and courage, her capacity for hard work and a natural talent for organization, she lived out her consecration to Jesus, in the midst of her companions, with fidelity and joy. She was, however, more and more unable to ignore the poverty and struggle of those attempting to survive in Calcutta. And before long, the Lord moved her heart to help.
In September 1946, as Mother Teresa recalled the event, on a train journey from Calcutta to Darjeeling, she received a “call within a call.” This moment would lead her to depart the Sisters of Loreto (having received permission to do so), and found a new order—The Missionaries of Charity (Sisters, Brothers, Fathers, and Co-Workers). The mission of her new order was "to quench the infinite thirst of Jesus on the cross for love and souls" by "laboring at the salvation and sanctification of the poorest of the poor." On October 7, 1950, the new congregation of the Missionaries of Charity was officially erected as a religious institute for the Archdiocese of Calcutta. Throughout her life, Mother Teresa would refer to the moment on the train as the inspiration for her entire life’s work.
“On that day, in a way she would never explain, Jesus' thirst for love and for souls took hold of her heart and the desire to satiate His thirst became the driving force of her life. Over the course of the next weeks and months, by means of interior locutions and visions, Jesus revealed to her the desire of His heart for "victims of love" who would "radiate His love on souls." "Come be My light," He begged her. "I cannot go alone." He revealed His pain at the neglect of the poor, His sorrow at their ignorance of Him and His longing for their love. He asked Mother Teresa to establish a religious community, Missionaries of Charity, dedicated to the service of the poorest of the poor. Nearly two years of testing and discernment passed before Mother Teresa received permission to begin. On August 17, 1948, she dressed for the first time in a white, blue-bordered sari and passed through the gates of her beloved Loreto convent to enter the world of the poor.”
"At the end of our lives, we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made or how many great things we have done. We will be judged by ‘I was hungry and you gave me to eat. I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless and you took me in.’
Hungry not only for bread-but hungry for love.
Naked not only for clothing-but naked of human dignity and respect.
Homeless not only for want of a room of bricks-but homeless because of rejection.
This is Christ in distressing disguise."
"for work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty and distress, which also constitute a threat to peace." When she was asked, "What can we do to promote world peace?" her answer was simple: "Go home and love your family." When invited to the conventional ceremonial banquet given to laureates, she refused, instead requesting that the $6,000 in funds be given to the poor in Calcutta.
“The whole of Mother Teresa's life and labor bore witness to the joy of loving, the greatness and dignity of every human person, the value of little things done faithfully and with love, and the surpassing worth of friendship with God. But there was another heroic side of this great woman that was revealed only after her death. Hidden from all eyes, hidden even from those closest to her, was her interior life marked by an experience of a deep, painful and abiding feeling of being separated from God, even rejected by Him, along with an ever-increasing longing for His love. She called her inner experience, "the darkness." The "painful night" of her soul, which began around the time she started her work for the poor and continued to the end of her life, led Mother Teresa to an ever more profound union with God. Through the darkness she mystically participated in the thirst of Jesus, in His painful and burning longing for love, and she shared in the interior desolation of the poor.”
Following Mother Teresa’s death, the Vatican began the process of beatification, which is the second step on the way to canonization and sainthood. Mother Teresa was formally beatified in October 2003 by Pope John Paul II and is now known as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. At her beatification Mass, the Holy Father called Mother Teresa “one of the most relevant personalities of our age” and “an icon of the Good Samaritan.” Her life, he said, was “a bold proclamation of the gospel.”
Blessed Mother Teresa’s own words:
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.
For more selected quotations from Blessed Teresa, click here.
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta,
Longing to love Jesus as He had never been loved before, you gave yourself entirely to Him, refusing Him nothing.
In union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, you accepted His call to satiate His infinite thirst for love and souls and become a carrier of His love to the poorest of the poor.
With loving trust and total surrender you fulfilled His will, witnessing to the joy of belonging totally to Him. You became so intimately united to Jesus your crucified Spouse that He deigned to share with you the agony of His Heart as He hung upon the Cross.
Blessed Teresa, you promised to continuously bring the light of love to those on earth; pray for us that we also may long to satiate the burning thirst of Jesus by loving Him ardently, sharing in His sufferings joyfully, and serving Him wholeheartedly in our brothers and sisters, especially those most unloved and unwanted.
Year 2: Day 248 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Social justice for all; Hearts of service enflamed with the Love of God.
Requested Intentions: For the healing of impaired vision (F); For a couple experiencing difficulties (L); Successful employment after finishing college (M); Mother’s health (A); Financial security, freedom from anxiety (S); For a son and cousins (L); Peace and civility (B); Successful examination results (D); Safety of family, strength, courage, wisdom (C); For the souls of a departed father and brother, finding of a suitable marriage partner (R); Successful pilgrimage, deepening of prayer life (R); Restoration of health (J); Restoration of health (S); Freedom from pride (A); For children and marriage (M); For the birth of a healthy baby (Y); For personal family intentions, for the sick, poor, hungry, and homeless (G); Financial security and peace (J); Grace, peace, and obedience to the will of God in a marriage (H); Successful and blessed marriage for sin, freedom from anxiety for husband, spiritual contentedness for family (N); Employment and health for a husband (B); Recovery and health of a mother (J); For a family to grow closer to the Church, salvation for all children (D); Successful employment (L); Successful employment (S); Renewal of faith life (A); Support for an intended marriage, health for friend and aunt (J); Mental health assistance for son (G); Freedom from illness (S); Successful employment (C).