Mother Teresa loved the needy so much
that she wanted them to have
the best of the worst and not the worst.
Social activist and author Shane Claiborne, a leading figure in the New Monasticism movement lives in Philadelphia, PA. He is a founding member of The Simple Way, a faith community in Philadelphia that has helped to connect radical faith communities around the world.
Shane graduated from Eastern University and did graduate work at Princeton Seminary. He and his co-members of the Simple Way community practice an innovative form of monasticism. They cherish the hospitality and practice communal living and they endeavor to bond with those residing in their neighborhood. They focus on issues such as poverty and wealth, power and violence.
Shane’s ministry experience is varied; during the war in Iraq, he spent three weeks in Baghdad with the Iraq Peace Team.
Shane had the fortune of working for 10-weeks alongside Mother Teresa in Calcutta. In most parts of India, it is a custom for everyone to remove their shoes when entering any place of worship. Shane noticed that when Mother Teresa took her shoes off for daily prayer, her feet were knobby, gnarled, deformed and pressed in the wrong directions. Shane wondered whether it was a birth defect, the result from an accident, the side effects of a disease or illness or perhaps due to leprosy. A sister of the Missionaries of Charity explained.
In most parts of India, it is a custom for everyone to remove their shoes when entering any place of worship. Shane noticed that when Mother Teresa took her shoes off for daily prayer, her feet were knobby, gnarled, deformed and pressed in the wrong directions. Shane wondered whether it was a birth defect, the result of an accident, the side effects of a disease or illness or perhaps due to leprosy. A sister of the Missionaries of Charity explained.
Mother Teresa and her sisters relied on donations for everything, including their shoes. They received donations of used shoes once in a while for distribution among the needy. When a load of used shoes would come in, Mother Teresa used to dig through the pile of shoes and consistently chose the worst pair for herself regardless of how badly they may have fitted. Her feet deteriorated by wearing substandard shoes. She crippled herself showing love and compassion to those that had nothing.
Mother Teresa loved the needy so much that she wanted them to have the best of the worst and not the worst.
A coterie of Missionaries of Charity sisters had escorted her relics around the world. On July 27, 2010, after visiting packed churches from Boston to Chicago, 20 years after Mother Teresa visited Dallas to found a local order of her Missionaries of Charity, a choice selection of her personal effects returned to St. James Catholic Church, Oak Cliff. After the 6 p.m. service, the sisters held the relics up by the altar as worshippers filed past to touch or kiss them.
People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”
“We know only too well that what we are doing is nothing more than a drop in the ocean. But if the drop were not there, the ocean would be missing something.”
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
“I know God won’t give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish he didn’t trust me so much.”
“I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.”
“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.”
“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”
“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”
“Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.”
“God doesn’t require us to succeed, he only requires that you try.”
“Never travel faster than your guardian angel can fly.”
“Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.”
“I once picked up a woman from a garbage dump and she was burning with fever; she was in her last days and her only lament was: ‘My son did this to me.’
I begged her: ‘You must forgive your son. In a moment of madness, when he was not himself, he did a thing he regrets. Be a mother to him, forgive him.’
It took me a long time to make her say: ‘I forgive my son.’
Just before she died in my arms, she was able to say that with a real forgiveness.
She was not concerned that she was dying. The breaking of the heart was that her son did not want her. This is something you and I can understand.”
“Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.”
“If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.”
“Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.”
“A life not lived for others is not a life.”
“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.”
“Live simply so others may simply live.”
“Spread the love of God through your life but only use words when necessary.”
“Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do… but how much love we put in that action.”
“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
“Love begins by taking care of the closest ones – the ones at home.”
“Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand.”
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
“People are unrealistic, illogical, and self-centered. Love them anyway.”
“Work without love is slavery.”
“Intense love does not measure, it just gives.”
“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”
“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”
“I’m a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world.”
“Love to be real, it must cost—it must hurt—it must empty us of self.”
“Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.”
“The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.”
“Let us more and more insist on raising funds of love, of kindness, of understanding, of peace. Money will come if we seek first the Kingdom of God – the rest will be given.”
“What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.”
“Even the rich are hungry for love, for being cared for, for being wanted, for having someone to call their own.”
“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”
“I try to give to the poor people for love what the rich could get for money. No, I wouldn’t touch a leper for a thousand pounds; yet I willingly cure him for the love of God.”
“If you want a love message to be heard, it has got to be sent out. To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.”
“I want you to be concerned about your next door neighbor. Do you know your next door neighbor?”
“Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go.”
“Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”
“I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us, he will not ask, ‘How many good things have you done in your life?’ rather he will ask, ‘How much love did you put into what you did?’”
“God made the world for the delight of human beings– if we could see His goodness everywhere, His concern for us, His awareness of our needs: the phone call we’ve waited for, the ride we are offered, the letter in the mail, just the little things He does for us throughout the day. As we remember and notice His love for us, we just begin to fall in love with Him because He is so busy with us — you just can’t resist Him. I believe there’s no such thing as luck in life, it’s God’s love, it’s His.”
“There is a terrible hunger for love. We all experience that in our lives – the pain, the loneliness. We must have the courage to recognize it. The poor you may have right in your own family. Find them. Love them.”
“Without patience, we will learn less in life. We will see less. We will feel less. We will hear less. Ironically, rush and more usually means less.”
“Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.”
“It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.”
“The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty — it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There’s a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.”
“Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.”
“The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.”
“Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.”
“When you don’t have anything, then you have everything.”
“When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her. It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed. “
“The more you have, the more you are occupied, the less you give. But the less you have the more free you are. Poverty for us is a freedom. It is not mortification, a penance. It is joyful freedom. There is no television here, no this, no that. But we are perfectly happy.”
“Prayer in action is love, love in action is service.”
“Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.”
“If we pray, we will believe; If we believe, we will love; If we love, we will serve.”
“There are so many religions and each one has its different ways of following God. I follow Christ:
Jesus is my God,
Jesus is my Spouse,
Jesus is my Life,
Jesus is my only Love,
Jesus is my All in All;
Jesus is my Everything.”
“You and I, we are the Church, no? We have to share with our people. Suffering today is because people are hoarding, not giving, not sharing. Jesus made it very clear. Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do it to me. Give a glass of water, you give it to me. Receive a little child, you receive me.”
“Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”
“Peace begins with a smile..”
“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”
“Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”
“The person who gives with a smile is the best giver because God loves a cheerful giver.”
“Before you speak, it is necessary for you to listen, for God speaks in the silence of the heart.”
“Speak tenderly to them. Let there be kindness in your face, in your eyes, in your smile, in the warmth of your greeting. Always have a cheerful smile. Don’t only give your care, but give your heart as well.”
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”