7 Insights from Mother Teresa on Being Merciful

mother teresa
A Call to Mercy
Look into seven amazing insights from Mother Teresa, who is a saint, on kindness, and being merciful to others. God’s mercy is alive and thriving in our world. Precious and desperately needed, it’s something we’re all called to share with each other. But it’s not always easy.

Mother Teresa, was canonized by Pope Francis Sept. 4, 2016, brought it to countless people around the world. She has also inspired many to follow in the compassionate footsteps of Jesus – our ultimate teacher on how to be merciful. Here are 7 insights frm mother teresa on being merciful

Feeding the Hungry

When faced with the challenge of performing this corporal work of mercy that Jesus calls us to do, Mother Teresa recommended taking immediate action. In a testimony of a co-worker of the Missionaries of Charity, the person recounts an experience that Mother Teresa had when she was invited to speak at a 1987 conference on World Hunger. Because she insisted on personally taking care of a hungry man lying by an entrance, she was late to the conference.

The co-worker said “Her attitude was always do one thing, one thing, one thing. At this conference I was assuring her, ‘You go in and I will look after him,’ because there were a million people on the roads in India, but that was the type of person she was; she had to look after this one person herself. She would say, ‘Don’t talk, do something about it.’”

Clothing the Naked

As with the other works of mercy contemplated by Mother Teresa, it is explored through her rich perspective of what it means to be Christian. Christ brought us dignity through everything he did – from humbling himself by being baptized, restoring the dignity of a family by performing his first miracle of changing water into wine through giving his life for our sins on the Cross. Following Christ’s example, Mother Teresa did what she could to show respect to those who were vulnerable or in need of things such as clothing. Fr. Kolodiejchuk notes that she would literally cover the naked to give them the respect they deserve. She saw the dignity in every person, and she wouldn’t let someone’s poverty, sickness or affliction impede her desire to be respectfully merciful.

Giving Drink to the Thirsty

Like feeding the hungry, performing this corporal work of mercy was also particularly meaningful to Mother Teresa. Fr. Kolodiejchuk writes about her deep contemplation of the words “I thirst” that Jesus uttered when he was dying on the Cross. He reveals that she was driven to help fulfill Christ’s thirst “for love and souls.” Mother Teresa stated “The cup of water you give to the poor, to the sick, the way you lift a dying man, the way you feed a baby, the way in which you teach an ignorant child, the way you give medicine to a leper…your attitude and manners toward them – all this is God’s love in the world today.”

Comforting the Afflicted

But while the book reveals Mother Teresa’s purpose to bring God’s mercy and love to those who are hungry, thirsty, sick and afflicted, Fr. Kolodiejchuk shows the other side of the same coin through Mother Teresa’s teachings. And it’s worth much more than its weight it gold. Not only did Mother Teresa want to bring God’s mercy and love to the afflicted to comfort them, she wanted to bring our love to Jesus. Seeing His face in the poorest of the poor and the people who were greatly afflicted, she saw the amazing gift of being able to serve Jesus directly by performing acts of mercy.

Sheltering the Homeless

Going beyond the obvious detrimental impact homelessness has on a person – such as vulnerability to crime, hunger, injury and disease – it shares her understanding of the emotional and spiritual impact homelessness has on someone. Fr. Kolodiejchuk beautifully articulates her desire to help homeless people by writing “This feeling of being rejected, abandoned, let down, of not belonging anywhere, or not having a reference point or a safe haven while passing through life’s struggles was a real suffering that she wanted to remedy along with providing physical shelter.”

Visiting the Sick

Recognizing their vulnerability and tremendous need, Mother Teresa had the same compassion for people who are physically ill, especially those with terminal or chronic illnesses. She saw and understood how much they suffer. She also saw how many are treated with disrespect and abuse, because many of their lives aren’t valued by the people charged with taking care of them. Fr. Kolodiejchuk writes “In particular, the chronically ill and the dying were an object of her delicate care. In the numerous homes that she opened throughout the world, she insisted that the sick be given proper medical help, but also that they be surrounded with tender loving care.”

Praying for the Living and the Dead

Among the Spiritual Works of Mercy that can be viewed through the eyes of Mother Teresa, through the book, is the work of praying for the living and the dead. She encouraged everyone to pray for their families and their neighbors as a way to strengthen their faith. She not only said that prayer cleanses our hearts, she said that it helps us to love one another as brothers and sisters. She wanted people to remember that despite our religious, cultural, racial and ethnic differences, we were all “created by God Himself.” If we love each other in this way, being merciful to each other comes more naturally.

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