Anyone can follow Mother Teresa's footsteps, priest says

Mother Teresa, circa 1988. Credit: Evert Odekerken via wikimedia (CC BY 2.5).

One legacy of the life of Blessed Mother Teresa is that anyone can follow her example as a “missionary of charity,” said the postulator of her cause for canonization Father Brian Kolodiejchuk.

“Everyone has the mission to be a carrier of God's love, a missionary of charity,” the Canadian priest said at a recent presentation held at St. Joseph's church in Denver, Colorado.

“The highest thing to which we human beings aspire is, of course, love,” he added, explaining how Bl. Mother Teresa lived that aspiration.

Fr. Kolodiejchuk is a priest in the Missionaries of Charity and since 1999 has been the postulator for Mother Teresa’s cause for beatification and canonization. He also edited and provided commentary for a collection of her private letters. His appearance was sponsored by Christ in the City, a Denver-based outreach program that ministers to the poor and marginalized.

Mother was a “practical woman,” he reflected, and thus knew that love had to be expressed concretely. “Love is not merely a feeling, but is always expressed in very concrete, tangible action. Mother used to use the phrase 'love in living action.'”

“Which means love that was made very concrete, very practical,” Fr. Kolodiejchuk said.  

This practicality was expressed in Mother’s “business card” that she handed out, which outlined the steps for love to take effect: “The fruit of silence is prayer, the fruit of prayer is faith, the fruit of faith is love, the fruit of love is service, and the fruit of service is peace.”

Prayer, explained Fr. Kolodiejchuk, brings two graces, “a clean heart and a deepening of faith.” Thus like the Sixth Beatitude, “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God,” the prayerful will see God in others and be able to truly love them by serving them.

He added that Mother Teresa experienced a profound encounter with God as Father through prayer, and thus “having experienced God’s love, Mother Teresa’s entire life was an endeavor and an attempt to return love for love.”

She saw Jesus in others, expressed in a meditation she wrote from the hospital: “Jesus is the hungry to be fed; the thirsty to be satiated; the naked to be clothed; the homeless to be taken in; the sick to be healed; the lonely to be loved; the unwanted to be wanted; the leper to wash his wounds; the beggar to give him a smile; the little one to embrace him.”

However, people need not go to the slums of Calcutta to put love into practice, Fr. Kolodiejchuk added. “In fact, it is often those with whom we live who are most in need,” he stated.

The priest quoted Bl. Mother Teresa when she said: “How can we love Jesus in the world today? By loving Him in my husband, my wife, my children, my brothers and sisters, my parents, my neighbors, the poor.”

“People are hungry for the Word of God, for love,” Bl. Mother Teresa continued. “Do we really know our poor? Right here. Maybe the poor are in our own family, for love begins at home. Do we know them?”

Such “ordinary” acts of charity can become extraordinary if done with much love. Again, Fr. Kolodiejchuk quoted Mother Teresa, “Love is not measured by how much we do. Love is measured by how much love we put in it, how much it is hurting us in loving.” He added that thus, “Even the most trivial things become important if they are a means of expressing love.”

Fr. Kolodiejchuk recounted one time when he was asked by an interviewer if Mother Teresa was “happy.”

He replied that “She was one of the happiest people on earth, even though we know of her great suffering, especially her interior suffering.” This was because of her living the “law of the gift,” as St. Pope John Paul II wrote, of “being by giving oneself.”

“If we are focused on God and neighbor, focused outside of ourself, then the fruit of that is our fulfillment and happiness,” he said.


Voices

Seeking the face of God in the Scriptures

Archbishop José H. Gomez

Prayer is seeking the face of God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church recalls the story of how St. John Vianney once found a peasant praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The saint asked him what he was doing, and the man replied: “I look at him and he looks at me.”

Events

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February 13, 2016

  • Saturday, February 13

    World Day of the Sick Mass, Mass and Anointing of the Sick, 12:30 p.m., Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels,  555 W Temple St, Los Angeles. Archbishop Gomez presiding with other bishops and priests. Special section designated for those in wheelchairs with volunteers available to help. Limited parking available for $8. Carpooling is encouraged. For more info: Chuck Huebner at cjhuebner @gmail.com or Jim LoCoco at flavialococ0@msn.com.

     

     

    Bosco Tech’s Yurak Memorial Run & Kids’ Fun Run, Check in begins at 8 a.m., Memorial Run at 9 a.m., Fun Run at 10 a.m., Bosco Tech, 1151 San Gabriel Blvd., Rosemead. Race registration is $35 per person. For school groups of 10 or more, the cost is $30. To register online, go to www.boscotech.edu/events or www.yurak.eventbrite.com; same-day registration available at check-in table. Included: racing fees, finisher medal, goodie bag and BBQ lunch. Plaques will be awarded to the top five male and female runners and to the fastest runner under 18.All proceeds to benefit Bosco Tech’s Yurak Athletic Center (YAC). 

     

    Cabrini Literary Guild “Sweetheart Bingo” Meeting, Sat., Feb.13 at Oakmont Country Club, 3100 Country Club Drive, Glendale. Meeting starts at 11 a.m., lunch at 12 p.m. ($30/person), and bingo social at 1 p.m. Bingo cards are $5 each, or $20 for five cards. For reservations, call (818) 790-3485.

     

    Footprints: Making Tracks for Neighbors in Need, 8:30 - 11:30 a.m., Bishop Amat High School track, 14301 Fairgrove Ave., La Puente. Catholic Charities San Gabriel Region will present this annual walk/run fundraiser to increase awareness about poverty, hunger and homelessness in the San Gabriel Region. Proceeds benefit those lacking basic needs, such as food, clothing, transportation and shelter. This is a come anytime, leave anytime event, with the first lap around the track to be led by Bishop David O'Connell. For more information, visit lentenfootprints.yolasite.com or contact Mary Romero at (213) 251-3582 or mromero@ccharities.org.

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