Sunday, September 18, 2016

(176) St. Mother Teresa: A New Saint of Mercy in this Year of Mercy, a Prophet For Our Times


Two saints; two fighters for life and peace; two giants of mercy and love……..John Paul II and Mother Teresa.   Both tried to convince then First Lady Hillary and President Bill Clinton on the imperative of valuing the life of the unborn child.  It was St. John Paul II, who beatified Mother Teresa in 2003.
            St. Mother Teresa, freshly canonized on September 4, was a tiny woman, only 4 ft. 9 in. and 115 lbs., but she was a giant of a person…….with the help of God in whom she totally trusted, Mother Teresa took on the rich and the powerful.  A prime example is the courageous and famous speech she delivered at the 1994 National Prayer Breakfast at the Hilton Hotel in Washington: “Whatever You Did Unto One of the Least, You Did Unto Me.”.  Attending were many members of both houses of Congress, representatives of 140 nations, President Bill Clinton, and First Lady Hilary Clinton.  As the main speaker, she said (watch the complete C-Span video by going to youtube.com/watch?v=OXn-wf5ylgo)
“But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because Jesus said, ‘If you receive a little child, you receive me.  So every abortion is the denial of receiving Jesus, is the neglect of receiving Jesus.  It is really a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself.”
And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts. Jesus gave even His life to love us. So, the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love; that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child.  For the child is the greatest gift of God to the family because it has been created to love and to be loved.  The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts.
By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems.
And, by abortion, the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. That father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion.
Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.”

            St. Mother Teresa received a standing ovation from the audience of 3000 people of power and prestige for about six minutes.  CBN’s 700 Club zoomed in on Bill and Hillary Clinton.  They just sat there stone faced, motionless, shaken, and stunned because that speech to a large extent was aimed at them.  Not only that…….after the speech, the little nun confronted Hillary, who related:  “She wanted to talk to me. Mother Teresa was unerringly direct. She disagreed with my views on a woman’s right to choose and told me so.”  In that same conversation Hillary accepted Mother’s invitation to tour her orphanage in India, which has the mission to find parents for the kids.  She and Chelsea did visit a year later.
            It is said that Mother Teresa and Hillary Clinton had the following conversation:  “Why do you think we haven’t had a woman as president yet?” First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton asked her guest over their lunch at the White House in 1995.  The little woman sitting at table with Mrs. Clinton did not hesitate in her reply.  “Because she has probably been aborted,” said Mother Teresa.  How many potentially great scientists and world leaders have been aborted?  We’ll never know on this side of eternity. 

Mother later asked the First Lady to help her get through the bureaucracy to build a home for infant children in Washington and she did.  They even dedicated it together (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mK4Io1TWmAE).  However, it closed in 2002.  Mother Teresa gently tried to convert Hillary a number of times with patience and kindness, sending her dozens of notes, but to no avail.  Actually, Hillary looks fondly on her relationship with the future saint.  Why did Mother Teresa exert so much time and energy on Hillary?  Perhaps the modern day prophet, foresaw that Hillary would someday be a woman of power and influence.  For more details, see http://www.lifenews.com/2016/09/08/remembering-how-mother-teresa-left-hillary-clinton-in-stunned-silence-on-abortion/.










        Fast forward 22 years to 2016 and these two women again share the spotlight with diametrically opposed views……..one saying that killing one’s unborn child is a constitutional right and that the “unborn person doesn’t have constitutional rights” (her own words – see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uk5qqkfG8g).…….the other saying that the unborn person is a magnificent creation and child of God, created by Him according to His image and likeness (Genesis 1:27) with tremendous human dignity and an immortal soul, who has a God given inalienable right to life.  Most likely St. Mother Teresa is still praying for Hillary Clinton.  Then there is hope that Hillary will mellow if elected president.  That of course would be a miraculous conversion.  Wishful thinking?  Perhaps, but miracles and conversions do happen.












            Fr. Thomas Hamm, our pastor, could not have chosen a better day to dedicate and bless the Memorial to the Unborn at the St. Louis Church Cemetery on September 5, the feast day of St. Mother Teresa, who was canonized the day before.  Thus he read the above excerpt of that speech to us.
            When Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway, Dec. 10, 1979, she accepted it “in the name of the hungry, of the naked, of the homeless, of the blind, of the lepers, of all those who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society.” She used the prize and its money to further the work of her congregation.  Mother also condemned abortion as the world’s greatest destroyer of people.  “To me, the nations who have legalized abortion are the poorest nations,” she said. “They are afraid of the unborn child, and the child must die.”  See the transcript of that great acceptance speech, go to http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/religion-and-philosophy/social-justice/mother-teresas-nobel-peace-prize-acceptance-speech.html or hear it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I36Nistc9wE&list=PLL41La_VVUWutS3pTe36wmnj6On2o5-bg.   That little woman spoke like a prophet of old.

            That little woman was fearless.  She went into war zones and between the lines in war torn Beirut, Lebanon in 1982 to evacuate, protect, and care for children of both Muslims and Christians.  “What stunned everyone was her energy and efficiency,” a Red Cross official involved in the evacuation said afterward. “She saw the problem, fell to her knees and prayed for a few seconds, and then she was rattling off a list of supplies she needed----- nappies (diapers), plastic pants, chamber pots. We didn’t expect a saint to be so efficient.”


            On October 26, 1985, Mother Teresa spoke before the General Assembly of the United Nations on the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of its founding.  The title was "One Strong Resolution: I Will Love" For the complete text go to
http://www.piercedhearts.org/purity_heart_morality/mother_teresa_address_united_nations.htm.
                Her whole life was Christ……serving Him by serving and loving others.  She said: “When I clean and bind the wounds of an abandoned, dying man, I am cleaning and binding the wounds of Christ Himself”.  When a person asked her about being discouraged when things go wrong, Mother replied:  “I don’t get discouraged.  God has not called me to be successful; He called me to be faithful”.  Her trust in the Lord was unshakeable.  She knew that God would make good come out of setbacks and that in the long run things would work out according to His will which is best for all.  That’s all what mattered to her:  discerning and following God’s will.  Mother did not proselytize; she preached the Gospel by intensely living it and then let the Lord lead them into the Church.


           Mother later asked the First Lady to help her get through the bureaucracy in Washington to build an orphanage and she did.  However, it closed in 2002.  Mother Teresa gently tried to convert Hillary a number of times with patience and kindness, sending her dozens of notes, but to no avail.  Actually, Hillary looks fondly on her relationship with the future saint.  Why did Mother Teresa exerted so much time and energy on Hillary?  Perhaps the modern day prophet, foresaw that Hillary would someday be a woman of power and influence.  For more details, see http://www.lifenews.com/2016/09/08/remembering-how-mother-teresa-left-hillary-clinton-in-stunned-silence-on-abortion/.

Mother Teresa escorts Fr. John Hardon S.J., who is blessing patients in her house for the dying.  One dying person remarked: "I was dying like an animal in the gutter; now I die like an angel". See  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzzDFJ4wU6Y.
  
            Mother Teresa strongly believed in the great value of suffering when accepted with trust, and offered up to God.  Once she was asked to what does she owe her great success…….today 844 houses in 139 countries  to help the poor as bearers of mercy.  The living saint replied that she chooses for each of her now 5,150 nuns an “other self”, who is some sick, suffering person.  The Other Person’s job is to unite his/her cross (suffering) with the Lord’s Cross and offer it up as a dynamic prayer for the assigned nun.  She alleviated suffering in others, but embraced it for herself. 


         The Paradox of Poverty. The diminutive nun fought poverty as an evil, but lived poverty as a virtue.  Imposed poverty is misery; voluntary poverty for God is virtue.  She dedicated her life to heal people of material and spiritual poverty.  The former affects those of little or no income; the latter affects us all, rich and poor alike.  Mother only owned two saris (one to wear and the other for the laundry), but she was rich in grace. Hear her last speech at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1uwuPu7ueo. 


Some 300,000 people attended Mother Teresa’s canonization on September 4, 2016 at the Vatican.  We might look at it as an induction into a Hall of Fame for those of heroic virtue and unusual holiness.  That is after years of study of the person’s life and prayer.  That includes using a “devil’s advocate” whose job is to find everything negative that is available about the prospective saint.  They even interviewed Christopher Hitchens, who wrote a highly critical assessment of Mother Teresa's work, calling her "a fanatic, a fundamentalist, and a fraud."
 
Key is two authenticated miracles (one for beatification and one more for canonization) done through the saint’s intercession.  The miracle is defined as a healing beyond scientific or medical explanation as determined by a panel of doctors.  The miracle is assurance of God’s will and that the saint is indeed in Heaven and worthy of emulation and being asked to intercede for the petitioner.  Devotion to saints and Mary are optional for Catholics.  We ask them for prayers in the same way as I would ask you to pray for me. 

In Mother Teresa's case, in India a woman's stomach tumor disappeared and in Brazil a man with brain abscesses awoke from a coma.  Both credited their dramatic recoveries to prayers asking Mother for her prayerful intercession after her death in 1997.  For more detail go to http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/the-miracles-that-made-mother-teresa/.


Mother Teresa with Gwen Coniker, who along with her husband Jerry founded the Apostolate of Family Consecration, which promotes the family through videos  and runs Catholic Familyland, a family retreat center near Steubenville, Ohio.

              St. Mother Teresa’s Connection with Catholic Familyland.  Mother recognized that praying together as a family helps its members to grow in unity.  The Conikers met Mother Teresa many times and were inspired by her.  Thus she has had a significant influence upon the work of the Apostolate of Family Consecration (AFC).  Through extensive interviews of Mother Teresa, the AFC has produced publications, videos, and audio tapes that share with us her spiritual depth on: Mary and parental unity; the dignity of women and humility of Mary; consecration as a protection for families; the joy of loving and being loved; prayer as a means of deepening family unity, practicing mercy in daily family life; finding peace through unconditional surrender to the Divine Will, etc.  You can obtain materials for your family by going to http://store.afc.org/encounters-with-mother-teresa. 

Fr. Michael Scanlan, President of the Franciscan University of Steubenville in academic regalia, presents
the University’s most prestigious non-academic award, the Poverello Medal to Mother Teresa in 1976. 





























St. Mother Teresa’s Franciscan University of Steubenville (Ohio) Connection.  In 1976 Mother Teresa was invited to Franciscan University, where she gave the commencement address on the most basic question of the old Baltimore Catechism…….knowing, loving, and serving God.  Mother Teresa received the University’s most prestigious award and highest non-academic honor, the Poverello Medal.  It honors organizations and individuals who imitate St. Francis of Assisi, "Il Poverello," (the little poor man) by their strength of character, practical Christian charity, and love for and service to the poor.  Franciscan University presented the award to her three years before she received the Nobel Peace Prize.  Mother Teresa could only accept awards as a means of furthering the work of her order.  The Little Sisters of the Poor with a similar philosophy received the Poverello Medal in 2014 (www.franciscan.edu/news/2014/Poverello-for-the-Little-Sisters/#sthash.Sp4RynkR.dpuf) Sr. Constance Veit’s acceptance speech is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ro2t993lIBE). 

          Beautiful is the conversation Sister Ann Shields had with St. Mother Teresa during her visit to  Franciscan University while hosting and driving her from and to the Greater Pittsburgh Airport..  She describes it at http://renewalministries.net/wordpress/sr-ann-recalls-day-with-mother-teresa/.  When Sister Ann marveled that her own work was so small in comparison to what Mother Teresa was doing.  The living saint replied rather sternly:  “Sister, I am doing what you cannot do; you are doing what I cannot do. Together, we are the Body of Christ!”  Thus every job done to serve God and His people is important…….from Pope to monastery door keeper.


St. Mother Teresa giving the commencement address at the 1982 Harvard graduation.
































Mother Teresa gave another great commencement address, this time on purity among other things to the very secular Harvard students at their graduation on June 10, 1982.  For the transcript and details from Harvard Magazine, go to http://harvardmagazine.com/2011/04/greatest-hits-mother-teresa
  



St. Mother Teresa’s Connection to Thomas Aquinas College (TAC).   It gave her its Thomas Aquinas Medallion at its 1982 Commencement.  Mother Teresa was the main speaker to the 22 graduates.  You can watch the video of her address at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5rQZVJv3h0&feature=youtu.be or read the complete text at https://thomasaquinas.edu/about/light-new-light.   For her press conference where she speaks spontaneously, go to https://thomasaquinas.edu/about/st-teresa-calcutta
  
Maggie Isaacson (’86), a TAC alum, is now Sr. Marcella, M.C., one of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity.  She says: “The M.C. vocation is to satiate the thirst of our Crucified Spouse for love and for souls as He disguises Himself in the poorest of the poor. Mother always wanted her Missionaries of Charity to be true to their name, and she never ceased to set before her spiritual children the means to become true Missionaries of Charity through intimacy with Jesus in the Eucharist and through tender and childlike devotion to Our Lady.”        
    
            Ave Maria University (near Naples Florida) has an even deeper connection to Mother Teresa.  Jim Towey, the President of AMU, was Assistant to the President of the United States and Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, handling Church-State and religious liberty issues in the Bush Administration (2002-2006).  After serving as President of St. Vincent College for four years, he accepted his current position in 2011 (more detail at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Towey). 

              Mr. Towey worked very closely with Mother Teresa as her legal council from 1985 until her death in 1997, ensuring that people were not using Mother Teresa’s name to raise money without her permission, assisting in establishing AIDS clinics and homeless shelters, and coordinating immigration matters for her missionary nuns in different countries around the world.    He served as a full-time volunteer in Mexico at one of her missions for two years and at her home for AIDS patients in Washington.  Mother Teresa inspired him to establish the non-profit “Aging With Dignity” in 1996, and fighting euthanasia and related abuses.

            In an interview in the National Catholic Register of September 4, he had much to share about St. Mother Teresa.  She was God’s instrument that revived his own faith.  “Being around her was a little touch of heaven.  There was something special about her…….how fully human she was…….loved God wholeheartedly, loved people, loved music, and loved her sweets.  She was very motherly in dealing with her nuns (today 5,150 sisters serving in 758 houses in 139 countries).  I think she was the most motherly person since the Blessed Mother……She loved Mary so much (Mother liked to give away Miraculous Medals).  She was an incredible reader and judge of situations and people.  She had such wisdom.  I would marvel how she would very quickly figure out what was going on.  Whether meeting with the president or at the bedside of the poor, she was the same with people”.  “Mother liked President Reagan and he was helpful to her.  She would call him up from India to the White House.  When Mother Teresa came to the U.S., she visited the then retired President and Mrs. Reagan”.

The Mother Teresa Exhibition Hall at the University of Santa Maria near Naples, Florida.


            Every May Mr. Towey takes 12 students on a mission trip to India.  He initiated the Mother Teresa Project, which includes a museum, but service is at the heart of it, locally in poor areas close to campus and mission trips around the world.  There is even a Mother Theresa Scholars Program.  Ave Maria University is the only institution of higher learning whose programs regarding Mother Teresa are approved by her order.  Thus Ave Maria University can indeed call itself Mother Teresa’s university (More detail at www.avemaria.edu and www.motherteresaproject.org).   









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