Today is an extraordinary day, because today Pope Francis canonizes Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta as a saint! This pint-sized woman was a giant of the twentieth century. In her lifetime, she went from total obscurity to one of the most beloved people of our time. Why? Because of all of the virtue that emanated from her soul.
- Her COMPASSION for the poorest of the poor was her hallmark of life. She never passed by someone in need without entering into the suffering of that person.
- Her demonstration of HUMILITY in her everyday actions taught us all how to act with humility (consider her 15 points of humility).
- Her never ending DILIGENCE to do God’s will, and God’s will alone, is a testament to living the Greatest Commandment: To love God with your whole heart, soul and mind.
- Her COURAGE and FAITH in putting all of her trust in God to provide, not only for her own needs, but for the needs of those in her charge, faithfully demonstrates to all of us what it means to truly be a child of God.
- Her CHARITY, so ever present in all that she did, reminds me of one of her famous quotes: “We can do no great thing – only small things with great love.”
- Her JOY that emanated while living a life of austerity astounds me; yet I know that she found her JOY in satiating Christ’s thirst for souls by bringing souls to Him.
I could go on listing a litany of additional virtues, but you get the point. How awesome that we have such a glorious saint from our own time to learn from and to model our own behavior after, if we too, wish to satiate Christ’s thirst for souls.
Teresa began her humble life in Macedonia. At the young age of 12, she received a call to dedicate her life to God. At the age of 18, she entered the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (the Loreto Sisters). She wanted to be a missionary. A year after joining the convent, she was sent on her fist mission to Bengal, India. One year after arriving in Bengal, she transferred to the city of Calcutta, where she remained the rest of her life.
On September 10, 1946, while on a retreat, Teresa received a “call with a call” to create a new religious order of sisters dedicated to serving the poorest of the poor; a religious order that we know today as the Missionaries of Charity. After founding this new religious order, Saint Teresa began to experience many years of what Saint John of the Cross would refer to as the “dark night of the soul,” where she could not feel the Lord’s presence in her life. She pressed on though with courage and faith, knowing that even though she could not feel His presence, her faith told her that Jesus was truly present in her life. One day, she had an epiphany of sorts, where she came to realize that the so-called darkness within her soul was an opportunity to share in the thirst for souls with Jesus. After receiving this epiphany, she gladly embraced the darkness. 1
With her canonization to sainthood, Teresa gets to spend all of eternity in the presence of God. After living such an austere and difficult life on earth, giving all that she had to the glory of God, something tells me that Teresa is not finished thirsting for souls with Jesus. She was, and always will be, a missionary! She just has a new mission now – praying for each one of us!
Saint Teresa of Calcutta, please pray for us!
1 Gaitley, Michael. 33 Days to Morning Glory. Stockbridge: Marian Press. Print. 2012 p. 68