Tuesday, 11 December 2012

The Saints: Caring for the poorest of the poor

A great woman once said 'There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love'.
This woman cared for those who were the poorest of the poor of the ones out of the womb.
Like many Saints, she helped the sick and dying, and showed love to those who had been showed none.

The people she cared for had no bread and no other food for that matter, but that was not what had torn them apart. It wasn’t the material possessions they lacked, or the tattered clothing they used as clothes or even the poor condition of their health that made them feel the worst.

No, it was the fact that they had been left to die and as they lay in the gutter or street corner, people passed by and did not even give them a glance. These poor men and women died the most miserable deaths, and nobody seemed to care.

Nobody there it seems, except for God.

At the age of 12, Agnes Bojaxhiu felt God's call to leave what she was doing. Her wish was to show Christ's love to others as a missionary and when she was 18 she joined the Sisters of Loreto, an Irish community that offered missions to India.
Upon visiting India, she soon witnessed the terrible suffering and extreme poverty and this had a great impact on the young lady who had just begun her initial vows to be a nun.
Agnes was certain that her calling was to reach out to the poorest of the poor in the slums of Calcutta.

She had no funds but she believed in Divine Providence, and so she was able to start a school for the children of the slums. With time,  people heard of her school and offered to help and they also gave her financial assistance.

To understand the context in India, the ‘lower caste' people believe they are worthless, because they are taught to think that way. But Agnes, or as she came to be known; Mother Teresa, knew each one of them was valuable, and she extended her ministry to include those who were dying on the streets.

She did not want people to die without ever knowing love. She knew that they deserved better, and knew that Christ's love was for everyone.

In the Western world, it is difficult to imagine such desolation, but we need not look to India to find the homeless and the dying. In fact where I live, there are ten thousand homeless and each one of them needs to be fed, and needs Christ's love as much as or even more than us. While we watch television and enjoy beautiful music, there are men and women on the streets of our city, and they are hungry, both physically and spiritually. They need physical food, and they need the food that St Paul talks about; they need to know Christ.

So let us pray.
Heavenly Father we ask that you give us the grace to not judge, and never condemn the people who are the poorest of the poor; the ones who lack the physical bread for survival and the spiritual food for salvation. Father give us the grace to overcome our fear of reaching out, and give us the courage to go out from our comfort zone to care for and feed the homeless as Mother Teresa did, showing the compassion and love that she did. We thank you Father for the great example of your daughter, who was inspired as we are by Your example, Jesus Christ you who are our Supreme Example. We thank you also for those who are doing what you commanded them, and we ask for inspiration and encouragement from you to do the works that you told us to do in Sacred Scripture. Lastly we praise you Father for giving us what we need, and we realise that now it is time for us to give back to the world.

N.B. While Mother Teresa is not a Catholic Saint yet, she is blessed and is deserving of veneration.

Information: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1979/teresa-bio.html/


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