Friday, November 13, 2015

Friday Contemplations - Mother Teresa's Humility

Mother Teresa of Calcutta is one of the most amazing women to have ever walked the face of this earth. The things she was able to accomplish with what little she had is something that not even the most powerful of entrepreneurs or political leaders have done. 

Mother Teresa at Prayer - source
Some background if you don't know much about her: She was only 18 years old when she joined a community of nuns and was sent to India to work as a teacher in Calcutta. She was from Macedonia (15 hour flight from Calcutta). 
Mother Teresa young - source
She taught in a private High School in Calcutta but she was never able to get over the profound poverty and suffering that she saw outside the convent. She gained permission from her superiors to leave the convent and work with the poorest of the poor in the slums of Calcutta. 

source
From that point on she depended on "Divine Providence" because she had no funds and was able to create an open-air school for the poor children and many volunteers joined in helping her. She then received financial support from the community that she used in starting her own order "The Missionaries of Charity" and from then on the Society has spread all over the world. It is active in 256 countries and consists of over 4,500 religious sisters.  Mother Teresa died when she was 87 years old on September 5, 1997.  

*Information found on Wikipedia and NobelPrize.org.*

She was an example of love, humility and generosity. She never put her needs in front of the needs of others.  I think that there are far too few people like her today unfortunately. Some people are so far from humble it's frightening. Many people I see (especially the ones higher up on the food chain) think they are the best at everything, everyone wants to be in charge, the end result is always about earning more money and hardly ever only about the good of the people. 

Last Sunday's Gospel really opened my eyes and made me think. It was just beautiful and I would like to share it with you because I think it really touches on what I'm trying to say in this post. 

MK 12:38 - 44

 In the course of his teaching Jesus said to the crowds,
"Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes
and accept greetings in the marketplaces,
seats of honor in synagogues, 
and places of honor at banquets.
They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext
recite lengthy prayers. 
They will receive a very severe condemnation."

He sat down opposite the treasury
and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. 
Many rich people put in large sums.
A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. 
Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them,
"Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more
than all the other contributors to the treasury. 
For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had,
her whole livelihood."

The last phrase was the one that touched me. Basically what this means is that the rich people gave their surplus, what extra money they had, but the poor widow only gave two cents. In God's eyes the widow gave more than the rich, even if of lower value -- because she gave all that she had to live. 

I thought this reading was beautiful because it expresses the true meaning of love and humility. Mother Teresa, like the poor widow, gave ALL that she had. I'm not talking in terms of money but in terms of her love and passion that God put in her heart to help those in need. 

source

I wish I could be more like her. To be like Mother Teresa takes courage...it takes balls!! 

I'll conclude this post with some of her most inspiring quotes that I found in a USAToday article.  I have highlighted my favorites.  Number 9 to me is the best quote that is very current to this day...

1. "I see God in every human being. When I wash the leper's wounds I feel I am nursing the Lord himself. Is it not a beautiful experience?" - From a 1974 interview.

2. "We are called upon not to be successful, but to be faithful," she told her official biographer Navin Chawla.

3. "The poor give us much more than we give them. They're such strong people, living day to day with no food. And they never curse, never complain. We don't have to give them pity or sympathy. We have so much to learn from them." - From a 1977 interview.

4. "I choose the poverty of our poor people. But I am grateful to receive it (the Nobel) in the name of the hungry, the naked, the homeless, of the crippled, of the blind, of the lepers, of all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone." - She said when accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.

5. "If luxury creeps in, we lose the spirit of the order," she said. "To be able to love the poor and know the poor we must be poor ourselves."

6. "I have never been in a war before, but I have seen famine and death. I was asking (myself) what do they feel when they do this? I don't understand it. They are all children of God. Why do they do it. I don't understand." - Beirut, 1982, during fighting between the Israeli army and Palestinian guerrillas.

7. "God will find another person, more humble, more devoted, more obedient to him, and the society will go on." - She said in Calcutta in 1989, after announcing her intention to retire.

8. "I was expecting to be free, but God has his own plans." - She said in Calcutta in 1990, when the sisters of her order persuaded her to withdraw her resignation.

9. "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." - Letter to George Bush and Saddam Hussein in January 1991.

10. "The other day I dreamed that I was at the gates of heaven. And St. Peter said, 'Go back to Earth, there are no slums up here.'" - Mother Teresa was quoted as telling Prince Michael of Greece in 1996.

Mother Teresa with an armless baby

15 comments:

  1. Hi Silvana, thank you for sharing this amazing post to honor the memory of the incredible lady Mother Teresa was and remainds. She left a legacy of hope and love, inspiration and truth. Your photos are amazing. God Bless. Have a nice weekend. xo

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    1. Yes my friend she was a wonderful human being <3 have a great weekend

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  2. This is such a lovely post to honour such a loving, caring and amazing human being. I always found her beautiful, because of her heart. Her love and smile, as well as her acts of kindness, touched the hearts of many and still continue to do so today.

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    1. She most definitely does Linda, with all this war and terrorism she sets an example for all. Thank you dear friend :-)

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  3. Beautiful post, dear Silvana, and so important today. Have a blessed Sunday!
    PS I'm looking forward to seeing marshmallows made by you. :) I read the home-made ones are so much tastier and healthier, and yours would be certainly heavenly. <3

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    1. Yes... Today is a very sad day Sara.

      Ps- I will try to make the marshmallows just for you my friend :-)))

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    2. ♥! Do take loads of pictures since unfortunately I can't come to taste them! :D

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    3. I'll try to make it for my next Sunday sweet :-) I will take pictures don't worry!! <3

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  4. I didn't know she was only 18. Wow. What a great women she was and that last picture, I just love it.

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    1. Yes Ivy her story is truly inspiring. If only more people were like her... The last picture is my favorite as well. You can see so much love in both the eyes of the baby as well as in Mother Teresa's. I just love it!

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  5. I thank you for sharing this...so many details I never knew. My confirmation name is Teresa, chosen in honor of her when I was just 14.

    Jane xxx

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    1. Mine is too! I'm proud to have been named after such a special woman! Thanks for your comment Jane! Xoxo

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  6. meraviglioso, non ho parole, Madre Teresa e' stata sempre la mia prima aspirazione di vita il mio primo esempio da seguire!
    Lei e' stata ed e' ancora un'anima trasparente.
    "God will find another person, more humble, more devoted, more obedient to him, and the society will go on." - She said in Calcutta in 1989, after announcing her intention to retire**** Grazie figlia mia.
    I love you!!!

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  7. Beautiful post Silvana. Mother Teresa was a remarkable woman. her heart and soul dedicated to helping so many. Very interesting facts you shared about her journey too. The world will miss her. Thanks for sharing this lovely post.

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