Monday, August 27, 2007

Simply Loved Life

~on Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta from Our Sunday Visitor by Jim Towey:
Even though she carried the burden of celebrity, she had the wisdom to choose 'the better part'

Many people were blessed to be friends or colleagues of Mother Teresa, who had a permanent impact on their lives. Our Sunday Visitor asked two of these fortunate people to reflect upon what made this simple sister so special.

It has been 10 years since Mother Teresa went home to God. Her beatification in October 2003 placed her one miracle away from canonization.

As with any saint, there is a danger of turning Mother Teresa into a plastic statue and adorning her with ethereal glow. In my 12 years of association and friendship with Mother, what impressed me most was her beautiful humanity.

Mother Teresa first of all was a mother. She had an extraordinary maternal love. She listened intently to you as if you were her only child. She cared about your best interests and sometimes told you things you didn't want to hear.

She didn't judge. Mother used to say, "If you judge people, then you have no time to love them." She was thoughtful and considerate and, like many mothers, she was never too busy for the little things.

I remember one morning in Tijuana, Mexico, in 1989. I had attended early morning Mass with Mother at her contemplative sisters' house where she was staying. I rushed out after Mass to go and run the errands she had given me.

I raced to the Missionaries of Charity truck and was about to pull out when I saw a commotion at the door -- Mother had come outside and was gesturing for me.

I hastily parked the truck and ran to see what she wanted. To my utter surprise, she had come out with great urgency to give me a peanut butter sandwich and a banana so that I had something for breakfast. That's what mothers -- and saints -- do.
Love of beauty

I think Mother Teresa's love of God and love of life were inseparable. Her laugh was unmistakable and often unexpected. She delighted in the company of those whom God had given to her as daughters and sons -- the Missionaries of Charity sisters, brothers and fathers who followed in her footsteps. When one of them would come to see her after being away years in the missions, her eyes would beam recognition and delight.

She loved beauty wherever she encountered it. She enjoyed singing and writing poetry. She kept in touch with her friends and had plenty of them. She simply loved life.

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