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Mother Teresa

As the saying goes, some people need no introduction. The following are quotes from Mother Teresa (1910-1997):

"To children and to the poor, to all those who suffer and are lonely, give them always a happy smile; give them not only your care but also your heart. We may not be able to give much, but we can always give the joy that springs from a heart that is filled with love."

"Every act of love is a work of peace, no matter how small."

"It may happen that a mere smile, a short visit, the lighting of a lamp, writing a letter for a blind man, carrying a bucket of charcoal, offering a pail or sandals, reading the newspaper for someone—something small, very small—may, in fact, be our love of God in actions. Listening, when no one else volunteers to listen, is no doubt a very noble thing."

"Holiness grows fast were there is kindness. I have never heard of kind souls going astray. The world is lost for want of sweetness and kindness."

"Love, to be real, must cost—it must hurt—it must empty us of self."

"Sacrifice, surrender, and suffering are not popular topics nowadays. Our culture makes us believe that we can have it all, that we should demand our rights, that with the right technology all pain and problems can be overcome. This is not my attitude toward sacrifice. I know that it is impossible to relieve the world’s suffering unless God’s people are willing to surrender to God, to make sacrifices, and to suffer along with the poor."

"Hungry for love, He looks at you. Thirsty for kindness, He begs of you. Naked for loyalty, He hopes in you. Homeless for shelter in your heart, He asks of you. Will you be that one to Him?"

"At a seminary in Bangalore, a nun once said to me, "Mother Teresa, you are spoiling the poor people by giving them things free. They are losing their human dignity." When everyone was quiet, I said calmly, "No one spoils as much as God himself. See the wonderful gifts he has given us freely. All of you here have no glasses, yet you all can see. If God were to take money for your sight, what would happen? Continually we are breathing and living on oxygen that we do not pay for. What would happen if God were to say, "If you work four hours, you will get sunshine for two hours?" How many of us would survive then?" Then I also told them, "There are many congregations that spoil the rich; it is good to have one congregation in the name of the poor, to spoil the poor." There was profound silence; nobody said a word after that."

"One evening we went out and rescued four people off the streets. One of them was in a desperate condition. I told the sisters, ‘You take care of the others. I will care for this one who is worse off." I did everything for her that my love could do. I put her into bed, and I saw a beautiful smile light up her face. She squeezed my hand and only managed to say two words: "Thank you." And then she closed her eyes. I couldn’t help but ask myself there beside her body, "What would I have said if I had been in her place?" My answer was very simple. I would have said that I was hungry, that I was dying, that I was cold. Or I would have said that this or that part of my body hurt or something like that. But she gave me much more. She gave me her grateful love. And she died with a smile on her face."

©2007 Mark Nickens

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