An Extraordinary Servant
by Father Charles M. Mangan
During these joyful and unrepeatable days in Rome during October--the month of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, a beautiful vivid poster is being displayed in vestibules of churches and on storefronts and other places that depicts Pope John Paul II holding the hand of his dear friend Mother Mary Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997), the Foundress of the Missionaries of Charity.
The Holy Father's sincere affection and esteem for the holy woman who worked with "the poorest of the poor" wherever they were continues unabated six years after her death. And now the Vicar of Christ, in Saint Peter's Square on October 19 ("Mission Sunday"), will proclaim her "Blessed."
The relationship between the Successor of Saint Peter and the "Sister of the Slums" was close and meaningful. One could readily observe the unmistakable joy on the radiant faces of these two remarkable persons when they encountered each other.
On June 16, 2002, Pope John Paul II had the distinct pleasure of canonizing someone he met decades ago (and to whom he confessed in the Sacrament of Penance): Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, the Capuchin Franciscan friar who bore the Sacred Wounds of Jesus on his body.
Again, he will raise to the glories of the Altar another person--Mother Teresa--whom he knew and admired greatly.
Mother Teresa is a study in the Christian virtues. She possessed those essential qualities that each disciple of the Risen Lord Jesus Christ must have: faith, hope, charity, prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance, humility, chastity . . . .
What she did was done for Jesus and His Ever-Virgin Mother. She wished for no terrestrial notoriety, realizing that it was passing and devoid of substance. She was firmly convinced that true and abiding contentment is not found in earthly honors but in the only "honor" that is worth anything: Everlasting Life in Heaven.
Her pressing goal was plain for all to see: to live with the Most Blessed Trinity forever in Paradise. And to that end, she would not be deterred. She cheerfully surrendered herself to the Creator and placed herself under His merciful hand.
Mother Teresa's unabashed persistence encourages others to share in the good fight. We will never regret our perspiration and tears that we shed in attempting to obtain spiritual perfection. Surely, Christ Himself will not forget our efforts--however faulty--to imitate Him.
The meek servant of the Gospel known as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta is a brilliant light in the stifling darkness of our present era. We will be, also, when we spurn sin and, like Mother Teresa, embrace the Gospel of Jesus, spreading it--however we can--far and wide.
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, we who love you tenderly, pray for us!
Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
htp://www.catholic.org , VA
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan - Official, 390 66616-1125
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