It’s Official: ‘Saint’ Mother Teresa

During Canonization Mass, Pope Francis Suggests to Some 120,000 Faithful to Carry Her Smile in Their Hearts

Tens of thousands attended in St Peter's Square

Tens of thousands attended in St Peter’s Square

SEPTEMBER 4, 2016 . DEBORAH CASTELLANO LUBOV . POPE AND HOLY SEE

“I think, perhaps, we may have some difficulty in calling her “Saint Teresa”: her holiness is so near to us, so tender and so fruitful that we continual to spontaneously call her ‘Mother Teresa.’”

Pope Francis deviated from his prepared text to say this during his homily at the canonization of Blessed Mother Teresa, held in St. Peter’s Square this morning.

In his homily, Francis prayed, “May this tireless worker of mercy help us increasingly to understand that our only criterion for action is gratuitous love, free from every ideology and all obligations, offered freely to everyone without distinction of language, culture, race or religion.”

Mother Teresa loved to say, he recalled: ‘Perhaps I don’t speak their language, but I can smile.’

“Let us carry her smile in our hearts and give it to those whom we meet along our journey, especially those who suffer. In this way, we will open up opportunities of joy and hope for our many brothers and sisters who are discouraged and who stand in need of understanding and tenderness.”

A tapestry depicting Mother Teresa is seen in the facade of St. Peter's Basilica during a mass, celebrated by Pope Francis, for her canonisation at St. Peter's Square in the Vatican on Sunday (Reuters)

A tapestry depicting Mother Teresa is seen in the facade of St. Peter’s Basilica during a mass, celebrated by Pope Francis, for her canonisation at St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican on Sunday (Reuters)

God’s Will in Our Lives

The Holy Father also had the some 120,000 gathered for the canonization think about their own lives: “Our task is to perceive the call of God and then to do his will. But in order to do his will, we must ask ourselves, “What is God’s will in my life?”

He reminded them that, in order to ascertain the call of God, we must ask ourselves and understand what pleases God.

“God is pleased by every act of mercy,” he said, “because in the brother or sister that we assist, we recognize the face of God which no one can see (cf. Jn 1:18). Each time we bend down to the needs of our brothers and sisters, we give Jesus something to eat and drink; we clothe, we help, and we visit the Son of God (cf. Mt 25:40).”

Given this, the Jesuit Pontiff urged all faithful to translate that which they invoke in prayer and profess in faith into concrete acts.

No Alternative to Charity

“There is no alternative to charity: those who put themselves at the service of others, even when they don’t know it, are those who love God (cf. 1 Jn 3:16-18;Jas 2:14-18).”

However, he warned, the Christian life “is not merely extending a hand in times of need.” If it is just this, Francis warned, it can certainly still be “a lovely expression of human solidarity which offers immediate benefits, but it is sterile because it lacks roots.”

On the contrary, the Pope underscored, the task which the Lord gives us is the ‘vocation to charity.’

“Following Jesus is a serious task, and, at the same time, one is filled with joy; it takes a certain daring and courage to recognize the divine Master in the poorest of the poor and to give oneself in their service,” he said, adding: “In order to do so, volunteers, who out of love of Jesus serve the poor and the needy, do not expect any thanks or recompense; rather they renounce all this because they have discovered true love.”

Dispenser of Divine Mercy

“Mother Teresa, in all aspects of her life,” the Holy Father reflected, “was a generous dispenser of divine mercy, making herself available for everyone through her welcome and defense of human life, those unborn and those abandoned and discarded.”

“She was committed to defending life, ceaselessly proclaiming that “the unborn are the weakest, the smallest, the most vulnerable.”

Continuing to applaud the little sister, Francis noted, “She bowed down before those who were spent, left to die on the side of the road, seeing in them their God-given dignity; she made her voice heard before the powers of this world, so that they might recognize their guilt for the crime of poverty they created.”

Mercy Was Her ‘Salt’ and ‘Light’

For Mother Teresa, Francis explained, mercy was the “salt” which gave flavor to her work, it was the “light” which shone in the darkness of the many who no longer had tears to shed for their poverty and suffering.

“Her mission to the urban and existential peripheries remains for us today an eloquent witness to God’s closeness to the poorest of the poor,” he said.

Today, the Pontiff prayed, “I pass on this emblematic figure of womanhood and of consecrated life to the whole world of volunteers: may she be your model of holiness!”

Teresa’s Journey to Sainthood

In a private meeting with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, in the Vatican months ago, Pope Francis authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate a decree regarding a miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed Teresa, known as Mother Teresa around the world.

Born Aug. 26, 1910, Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu would go on to found the Congregation of the Missionaries of Charity and the Missionaries of Charity. The order, which started in Calcutta and spread to more than 130 countries, ran hospices for those suffering from HIV/AIDS, leprosy, and tuberculosis. Known for her charitable works with the poor and sick, the soon to be canonized saint, died on Sept. 5, 1997.

Immediately following her death in 1997, the Catholic Church began her process of beatification. She was beatified by St. John Paul II in 2002, following the recognition of the miraculous healing of an Indian woman suffering from a tumor in her abdomen. Yesterday, Pope Francis signed off on the second miracle needed, which, according to the newspaper of the Italian bishops’ conference, L’Avvenire, regarded a man in Brazil in 2008 who had multiple brain abscesses, and who, within a day of being in a coma, was cured.

*****

On ZENIT’s Web page:

Pope’s Homily: https://zenit.org/articles/pope-francis-homily-at-canonization-of-blessed-teresa/

Full Translation of Angelus Address: https://zenit.org/articles/popes-angelus-address-at-canonization-of-mother-teresa/

 

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2 Responses to It’s Official: ‘Saint’ Mother Teresa

  1. johnhenrycn says:

    I got up at 04:15 this morning to watch this special event, and am so glad I did, although darn it, I somehow missed the actual formal words spoken by His Holiness near the start announcing Mother Teresa’s sainthood. Of course, there will always be YouTube replays. Not quite the same thing.

    What will her formal title now be: St Mother Teresa of Calcutta (Kolkata, if you prefer) or St Teresa of Calcutta?

    One thing that really got my goat were the stupid yokels/oiks smiling and waving at the TV cameras and/or taking selfies during Communion. Why are some people (certainly not all) such retards? I hope they were nothing more than Proddie tourists on 3 day budget holidays to the Eternal City.

  2. kathleen says:

    Hi JH,

    Yes, I also watched the whole lovely event on Spanish TV (same time as Rome😉 ) and enjoyed it very much. The Spanish commentary was very good, but I have heard that some of our American friends who watched it via EWTN* got the infamous Father Rosica (who, as is well known, panders to the LGBT lobbyists) as commentator! Yes, really. Hope you in Canada were more fortunate.

    The declaration of Blessed Mother Teresa’s canonisation was right near the beginning. Sorry you missed it.

    I think our new saint will be referred to simply as “Saint Mother Teresa”! We have got too used to knowing her in her role as Mother to all the lonely, vulnerable, sick, dying and unwanted of the world, to be able to drop this engaging descriptive title now.

    (* What’s happening to EWTN these days?? Lots of dissatisfied Catholics I keep hearing about who complain about some – not all – of their programmes and public speakers, who appear to have become too lenient towards certain liberal tendencies.)

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