Catch the contagious love taught by Mother Teresa

| Father Thomas Joseph | October 6, 2010 | 0 Comments

Kyle Korkowski encouraged his mother to buy a book about Mother Teresa for Father Thomas Joseph, their pastor at St. Nicholas in Carver.

One of the many wise sayings of Blessed Mother Teresa of Cal­cutta is: “Never let anyone come to you without coming away better and happier.”

Every human being has a hero to admire and for me it is Mother Teresa. Her impact in my life is so deep that it comes into every sphere of my priestly life and it is contagious to others, young and old.

Recently, Kyle Korkowski spotted something very special when he was running behind his mother, who was busy shopping. He told his mother, pointing his finger to the bookshelf, “Father would like the book about Mother Teresa; we should buy it for him.”

Kyle’s sister Krista and their mother Jodee responded to Kyle’s wisdom and purchased the book right away.  Later that evening, little Kyle, with pride and joy, came to see me, along with his sister. With the book hidden behind his back, he said, “I know what you like,” and instantly handed the book to me.

Only a few days later, a fine Viet­namese man named Hung sent a nicely wrapped gift with his wife. As I felt it, in my human weakness, I thought to myself, “Gosh! I hope it is not the same book.”

A contagious idea

My suspicion was right. Through my instant discouragement, Mother Teresa illuminated in me a brand new idea: “Let this book be in circulation.”

Both little Kyle and Mr. Hung brought me this book because of my deep love and respect for Mother Teresa. I am glad to know the icon of Mother Teresa is contagious because she taught that our love, our way of life, should be contagious.

Mother Teresa was humble in stature and nature, yet a friend of the powerful and the vulnerable.  She was a saint to a dying person in the shadows of Mumbai, India, or the Bronx, N.Y., at the same time she was a friend to magazine icons like Princess Diana.

When I first met her, she took hold of my right hand and folded my fingers down one by one. She asked me to repeat the words, “You — did — it — to — me.” She intended to teach Matthew 25:40, which reads: “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”

She grabbed my left hand and once again folded my five fingers one after another and asked me to repeat, “I will — I want — with God’s blessing — be — holy.” As a little guy, I was so humbled by how thoughtfully and respectfully she treated me. She treated me as if I were the most important person on the face of the earth. Her ability to give her undivided attention to the person she was talking to should be a source of inspiration to us as well.

Still working miracles

Mother Teresa continues to be a “miracle worker” for me and many others.

First, she taught all of us that it is not enough to be holy. Rather, our holiness must be contagious. It should be attractive, and inspire others to be holy like us. Holiness should not threaten or drive people away from us. She always spoke the truth. As she would say: “Truth hurts.” The truth challenged people but it did not make them run away from her. Like a magnet, like a consuming fire, she attracted believers and non-believers to the Truth (Jesus). Let us pray to Blessed Moth­er Teresa, so that our conviction of working for truth attracts people to Jesus Christ and does not threaten them.

Second, it is true that Christians called her the “Living Saint,” and non-Christians called her the goddess. She taught me personally, as she taught billions around the world, that each of us is special, each of us is Mother Teresa. When a mom changes the diaper of her child; when a dad remains faithful in taking children to faith formation or Sunday Mass; when we take time to visit an elderly person in a nursing home; we are Mother Teresa. While it is true that Mother Teresa was blessed with some special graces, she said, “Holiness is not a priv­ilege of a few people; it is the basic duty of everyone.”

Third, in the year 1996, Mother Teresa gave me a rosary (which I still have) and said, “Cling to our Lady like a child that clings to the mantle of its mother’s saree.” Jesus grabbed onto Mary and Mary delighted watching her son Jesus grow up — God of the universe, yet kind at heart, full of compassion, humble like a lamb, riding on a donkey.

May Mary be the inspiration to all mothers who watch their children grow up — learning to succeed, compete. Mothers, always tell your children as Mother Teresa would say, “I prefer you make mistakes in kindness than work miracles in unkindness.”

Father Thomas Joseph is pastor of St. Nicholas in Carver.


Category: This Catholic Life