Mother Teresa was a Catholic nun who saw the poverty and suffering around her and she was filled with compassion and kindness. She and her order of nuns began to assist the people everyone wanted to forget. She began in Calcutta, India and worked selflessly with “the poorest of the poor.” Her order began in 1950 and are called the Missionaries of Charity. There are now more than 500 centers around the world to help the sick, the dying and the destitute. This woman was a heroine and is considered a saint in the Catholic religion. I am told she was working her way to sainthood. This is all great, but what has amazed and inspired me is Mother Teresa’s compassion, caring, kindness, generosity and authenticity. She walked her talk.
Mother Teresa admonished people to listen to the silence, because if your heart is full of other things you can’t hear God. I believe that all religions and spiritual paths would agree with this. Whether you pray, meditate or chant when you go inside you are in the presence of the One. Being in the presence of the Divine is to experience real love and compassion. The contemplatives and ascetics of all ages and spiritual paths have sought God in the silence and solitude of nature. Many live in caves, forests or on mountaintops. Mother Teresa also would withdraw at times to recharge herself for her work among the least of God’s children.
” Silence of our eyes,
Silence of our ears.
Silence of our mouths.
Silence of our minds.
…in the silence of the heart
God will speak” —Mother Teresa
“Love each other as God loves each one of you, with an
intense and particular love.
Be kind to each other: It is better to commit faults with gentleness
than to work miracles with unkindness.” —Mother Teresa
This is a story Mother Teresa often told. I am quoting her words. “One day I picked up a man from the gutter. His body was covered with worms. I brought him to our house, and what did that man say? He did not curse. He did not blame anyone. He just said, “I’ve lived like an animal in the street, but I’m going to die like an angel, loved and cared for! It took us three hours to clean him. Finally, the man looked up at the sister and said, “Sister, I’m going home to God.” And then he died. I’ve never seen such a radiant smile on a human face. He went home to God. See what love can do!” I wonder how many of us have ever shone kindness to a homeless person, let alone one covered with worms.
Mother Teresa daily gave care to lepers, the dying and the hungry. She also never worried about catching a disease or if she had eaten. I have always made it a practice to give money to the homeless. I am not rich, but I try to divide what I have. One day in Memphis, I was with friends and I saw an obviously homeless and destitute woman sitting on a bench in downtown Memphis. As our group was walking by and talking, I noticed her and took money from my wallet and gave it to her. My behavior horrified the people I was with. One dropped back and asked me why I did that. I told him that I make it a practice to practice random acts of kindness. He expressed surprise and a young woman scoffed at me and said the woman probably owned the building. I responded that that would be fine because she would pass the money on to someone who really needed it. Yes, I know I am an optimist.
Another story that Mother Teresa told was as follows: “Some time ago I made a trip to Ethiopia. Our sisters were working there during that terrible drought. Just as I was about to leave for Ethiopia, I found myself surrounded by many children. Each one of them gave something. “Take this to the children!” they would say. They had many gifts that they wanted to give to our poor. Then a small child, who for the first time had a piece of chocolate, came up to me and said, ” I do not want to eat it. You take it and give it to the children.” This little one gave a great deal, because he gave it all, and he gave something that was very precious to him.”
” Our mission is to convey God’s love—not a dead God, but a living God, a God of love.” —Mother Tesesa
“Poverty doesn’t only consist of being hungry for bread, but rather it is a tremendous hunger for human dignity. This is where we make our mistake and shove people aside. Not only have we denied the poor a piece of bread, but by thinking that they have no worth and leaving them abandoned in the streets, we have denied them the human dignity that is rightfully theirs as children of God.” —Mother Teresa
All over the world, we are shoving people aside and taking away their dignity. Here in America, we have replaced compassion, kindness, generosity and love with hatred, bigotry and violence. This is why our societies are breaking down. So, I recommend random acts of kindness. I recommend writing to your Congresspeople. Find the love and compassion for others we have lost and use it to make a better society. Remembering that we are One Family living on One World and love is what binds us together.