How to be a saint like Mother Teresa without leaving home.
I knew two people who had met Mother, now Saint, Teresa and both gave interesting insights into her sanctity. The first was an Australian nun, travelling in India. By happenstance, she was seated on a train with a nun in the habit of the Missionaries of Charity. The Australian said both had a pleasant time and she felt her companion was so interested in what she had to say that she ‘had made this woman’s day’. Only afterwards, when the woman left, did she realise she had been speaking with Mother Teresa and that it was the quality of her attentiveness that made the time so special.
The other, a friend, spent time working in her order and her experience was that St Teresa was not necessarily soft and kind. She had a vision of what was needed for the poor and helpless, and those who were there to help could be treated with a real tough love in order for them to learn how to serve.
True loving care of children requires both those qualities. As parents, teachers, guardians we need to give our children a level of attentiveness that often is difficult and self-effacing but true care will never take place without it. It is not enough to be around children. We need to stop, listen to the stories or the reading, watch their reactions and just be with them. We have to go out of ourselves. As we get to know them well, we come to realise where the ‘tough love’ needs to be applied. We are not our children’s friends and, at times, for their good we have to make decisions, say things, take a stand in ways our children will not like. Often, we will feel that we need to be a saint to rear with our child/ren. And indeed you do …they are God’s way of making you a saint. May St Teresa pray for you and for all parents who serve God with love when they serve their children in love.
Loving Father, thank you for the gift of my child/ren. May my care of them be the way you make a saint of me. I ask this in Jesus’ name and through the intercession of St Teresa of Kolkata.
Sr Kym Harris osb