Thursday, August 26, 2010

Love Without Limits - Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

Mother Teresa of Calcutta is an “inestimable gift for the Church and the world”, said Pope Benedict XVI Thursday in a message to the Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity, to mark the 100th anniversary of the Blessed’s birth.

Born in Albania August 26, 1910, for over 45 years Mother Teresa ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned, and dying, while guiding the Missionaries of Charity's expansion, first throughout India and then in other countries.

The message, written personally by the Pope, was read out during Mass celebrated by the Archbishop of Calcutta, Lucas Sirkar in the Motherhouse of the Missionaries of Charity, the same house where on October 7 1950 she founded her order dedicated to the care of the sick, the destitute and the dying.

This morning’s celebration begins a special year dedicated to Mother Teresa, a year that Pope Benedict said he is confident will be “for the Church and the world an occasion of joyful gratitude to God for the inestimable gift that Mother Teresa was in her lifetime”.

Speaking to the Mother’s “spiritual children”, the many thousands of religious sisters, brothers and lay workers who carry on her mission of bringing Christ’s love to the “poorest of the poor”, the Pope urges them to draw constantly from the spirituality and example of Mother Teresa and, in her footsteps, to take up Christ’s invitation: “Come, be my light”.

Sr Mary Prema is Superior General of the Order, which today comprises an estimated 450 brothers and 5,000 sisters worldwide, operating 600 missions, schools and shelters in 120 countries. In a Letter sent to each of these missions, Sr Prema writes: “Her life and work continue to be an inspiration for young and old, rich and poor from all walks of life, religions and nations”. She adds that those who follow in her footsteps are called to share God’s love with those around us “beginning with our families”. And concludes in the Mother’s words: “A smile generates smiles and love generates love”.

Mother died on 5 September 1997. Following her death on 19 October 2003 she was beatified by Pope John Paul II and given the title Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.

A century after Blessed Teresa of Calcutta’s birth, an Austrian priest who served as her confessor recalled her “love without limits.”

“She was a missionary of love without limits,” Msgr. Leo Maasburg recalled. “Her love was limitless in its geographic scope, like the apostles sent by the Lord and it was limitless in its spiritual depth, according to the unique new commandment of Jesus to ‘love one another as I have loved you.’ Mother Teresa lived this command of Jesus in a remarkably genuine and complete manner, making the light of Christ shine wherever she was present. Through her being and action, she has shown the world what the mission means today: not preaching love only with words, but also with one's way of life.”

Msgr. Maasburg added:

When Mother Teresa sent her nuns to the dictatorial regime in Ethiopia, someone posed the delicate question of how she hoped to carry out the mission. Her answer was: "The tender love and care that we will dedicate to the poorest of the poor in your country will show God's love for them."

“Whatever she did was ‘His work,’” the priest continued. “She never considered any of her works as her own. She was ‘the pencil in the hand of God, in the hands of a God who was writing a love letter to the world.’ Her docility led her into new, unknown mystical and spiritual depths. In the revelation of His thirst, of His need for love (‘I thirst’ - John 19:28), Jesus asked for her consent to His plan.” “The path into spiritual depths, for Mother Teresa, took an unexpected and dramatic course. In a ‘night of the soul’ that lasted for decades, Jesus made her participate in a mystical - yet very real - way in His own suffering and the abandonment of God on the Cross (‘My God why have you forsaken me’ - Mark 15:34). While the new order she founded spread all over the world, through a sense of separation from God experienced with great distress, she experienced the pain of thirst for love, a love that she did not feel was responded to.”

“She realized that the place where Jesus' thirst for love can be quenched, is in the hungry, thirsty, naked, and forgotten - in a word: "Jesus under the disguise of the poorest of the poor," in the slums of the world and in the spiritual slums inside people's hearts,” Msgr. Maasburg added. “Thus, she became a Missionary of Charity, with a social commitment that was without limits and that contained an incomparable spiritual depth.”


India’s president pays glowing tribute to Mother Teresa

August 30, 2010

India's president pays glowing tribute to Mother Teresa  India’s President Pratibha Devisingh Patil paid glowing tribute to Mother Teresa on August 28 in New Delhi at the launch of the special memorial coins issued by the federal government to mark the centenary of her birth.
Describing Mother Teresa as “one of the noblest souls of our times,” Patil pointed out that she “became a symbol of hope to many: the aged, the destitute, the unemployed, the diseased, the terminally ill, and those abandoned by their families.” He continued:
She was a social worker to the core of her heart, attending with care and dedication to the poor, the abandoned and the dying. Gandhi may well have been speaking of Mother Teresa, when he said that where there is pure and active love for the poor, there is God also.
The highlight of the function, attended by hundreds of Catholics, was the release of the special coins to mark the centenary of Mother Teresa. India’s finance minister, Pranab Mukherji, handed over first set to President Patil and Sister Prema, the superior general of the Missionaries of Charity, the order that Mother Teresa founded

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