Today is the 17th anniversary of the death of Bd Teresa of Calcutta. This short article summarizes the message that Mother Teresa lived and shared with the world. I’ll reprint a few key excerpts, but I encourage you to read the entire article, and perhaps even read the book from which the article is extracted.
One part of Bd Teresa’s message:
God has so made the world that everything we do or don’t do has cosmic significance. With each new moment, we are presented with a fundamental option — to direct our acts and intentions either toward God or away from him. To love or not to love. And our little decisions in these matters have spiritual consequences we can scarcely imagine. When we are mean, we increase the sum total of meanness in the world. When we are indifferent, the world’s indifference to love spreads. But when we love, even in the littlest things, we fill the world that much more with the radiant fragrance of God.
The radical self-giving love which she encouraged in everyone:
She told us of the sacrifices made by leper parents, who must give up their newborns immediately upon birth or risk infecting them for life with the disease. She told us the story of one couple saying good-bye to their three-day-old baby:
Each one looked at the little one, their hands going close to the child and then withdrawing, trying, wanting to kiss the child, and again falling back. I cannot forget the deep love of that father and mother for their little child. I took the child, and I could see the father and mother as I was walking. I held the child toward them, and they kept on looking until I disappeared from their eyes. The agony and pain it caused! . . . But because they loved the child more than they loved themselves, they gave it up.
Her encouragement to us all:
Mother Teresa told us that we could be — in every moment of our lives — God’s answer to somebody’s prayers. We could be Jesus. If only we would let ourselves.
Bd Teresa’s zealous desire for Jesus was evidenced by her commitment to spend an hour in Eucharistic Adoration every morning and evening. Her well-known “Varanasi Letter” to her sisters challenges each of them — and us! — to encounter Jesus in a very personal way.