Friday, September 06, 2013

Mother Teresa's16 death anniversary

Lessons from the saint of the gutter

September 5, 2013 marked 16 years after the death of Mother Teresa who is rightly describes as the saint of the gutter. Most of us know many details of her as a nun who devoted her life to serve God whom she saw in the poor and destitute and whom she fondly called the “poorest of the poor".


Mother Teresa 26 August 1910 - 5 September 1997 

Mother Teresa was a small and frail-looking woman seen donning a simple blue and white sari . Out of this small and physically inconspicuous woman two gigantic features stand out strikingly. Firstly it was her deep and unshakable love and trust in God and secondly it was the courage and determination with which she continued her service against all odds. Even her own Church authorities, who preach love and charity, disapproved what she was doing what more the secular powers that rule the world. They were only too happy to capitalize on her for their political advantage.

We all say we love God, which is easy when things are good but how many of us will continue to do so when things are not going the way we wished? It is extremely difficult to say we love God under severe trials and tribulations that come our way. Moreover it is even more difficult to trust Him when we are serving people other than our own. Mother Teresa was not working to improve herself or her relatives but the hardcore poor in a distant land who are total strangers to her. Mother Teresa not only had that trust in God but she was convinced beyond doubt that He will never abandon her in her times of great difficulties.

This is a very good lesson for all of us who claim to believe in God. Yes, it is very easy for us to say we love God when things are going the way we want. In such a happy environment we are glad as we feel God is answering our prayers. When things turn against us, when people who we trusted and loved very much leave us, when tragedy strikes us leading to agony and pain, when inflicted with an incurable disease dashing all our hopes, we are down and out. When we turn to Him in earnest prayer but God does not seem to answer our prayers, will we still be able to say we love Him? That will be the real test of our faith which many, even staunch believers may fail.

The second lesson from this saint of the gutter was her determination to fight the pressures from above, her political masters and her own superiors. It was a common knowledge that what she was doing was right but there were many, including her own superiors in the Church who were uncomfortable with her humble acts to be with the poor and downtrodden. They disapproved of her activities and even threatened with disciplinary actions. Despite all these Mother Teresa was unperturbed and went ahead to win the hearts of many. In fact these obstacles only made her more determined to continue with her charitable works for the poor and despised fellow human. 

Today many of us face similar situations, where our superiors and others in power are against us when we do good. Instead of encouraging us they seem to be threatened by our good deeds and they resort to all forms of under-hand tactics to stop us from doing so. There appears to be so much opposition to doing good that many good people back off from doing them. The final outcome is that we are ruled by dictators closely surrounded by their ambitious cronies who create havoc for the people especially for those who are conscientiously serving God in silence.

Instead of distancing ourselves by proclaiming her a saint, let us see her as a human like anyone of us and learn from her experiences. The lesson to learn from Mother Teresa is that we must be prepared to stand up to all the pressures from above, have the courage to defend the truth and above all never waver from doing right however we are tempted or pressured from those in power. We must always trust that God may try us but never forsake us as long as we do the right thing.

Mother Teresa may be not here anymore but her words of inspiration should be always in our hearts. The guiding principle in our lives should be based on her words “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier” It simply means that we must ensure everyone we meet is made happier by our gestures of love and goodwill.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Pope Francis calls for global prayer for peace in Syria

Pope Francis announces global prayer vigil for peace on Sept. 7
By Kerri Lenartowick
Pope Francis celebrates Palm Sunday Mass on March 24, 2013 in St. Peter's Square. Credit: Sabrina  
Fusco/CNA..- Departing from his typical reflections on the Sunday gospel, Pope Francis used his Angelus audience today to call for peace throughout the world, particularly in conflict-ridden Syria.
“I appeal strongly for peace, an appeal which arises from the deep within me,” he said to the crowds in St. Peter’s Square on Sept. 1.

“There are so many conflicts in this world which cause me great suffering and worry, but in these days my heart is deeply wounded in particular by what is happening in Syria and anguished by the dramatic developments which are looming,” continued the Pope.
“For this reason, brothers and sisters, I have decided to call for a vigil for the whole Church,” he announced.

It will be “a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, in the Middle East, and throughout world.”
The vigil will take place on Sept. 7, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace. Those who can will gather in St. Peter’s Square from 7 p.m. until midnight: other local Churches are requested to join in the fasting and prayer by gathering together.

Pope Francis extended his invitation to “fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.”

“Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear words of hope and peace!” said the Pope.
“All men and women of good will are bound by the task of pursuing peace,” he charged.

“I make a forceful and urgent call to the entire Catholic Church, and also to every Christian of other confessions, as well as to followers of every religion and to those brothers and sisters who do not believe: peace is a good which overcomes every barrier, because it belongs all of humanity!”
The Pope went on to lament the use of arms and its negative impact on civilians, the unarmed, and children, particularly recently in the “martyred country” of Syria.

“With all my strength, I ask each party in this conflict to listen to the voice of their own conscience, not to close themselves in solely on their own interests, but rather to look at each other as brothers and decisively and courageously to follow the path of encounter and negotiation, and so overcome blind conflict,” he said.

Pope Francis also asked the international community “to make every effort to promote clear proposals for peace in that country without further delay.”

He rejected the use of chemical weapons and requested that humanitarian workers “be granted access so as to provide the necessary aid.”

The Pope continued his insistent appeal for peace: “it is neither a culture of confrontation nor a culture of conflict which builds harmony within and between peoples, but rather a culture of encounter and a culture of dialogue; this is the only way to peace.”

Noting Mary’s universal motherly concern, Pope Francis said, “Let us ask Mary to help us to respond to violence, to conflict and to war, with the power of dialogue, reconciliation and love. She is our mother: may she help us to find peace; all of us are her children!”

As he has done on previous Sundays, Pope Francis led the crowds in invoking her intercession: “Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!”

Once again Pope Francis has struck the right cord to send the right message to world leaders and people all over - We need PEACE not WAR

This is indeed a noble cause to pray for in a world torn by war and violence.As ordinary and peace loving citizens we may not be able to fight a cruel regime an a far away land but we can join hands to implore divine help to bring peace to our fellow humans there.Doesn't matter the race,the culture or faith,they are all our brothers and sisters and they have the right to peace and freedom.

Apart from praying we can promote inter-human goodwill in our own small ways around us.Let us get rid of the anger and hatred we harbor in our hearts for others especially for those of different race or creed.

As we gather in churches,let's follow our Holy Father to pray specially for the people of Syria,Muslims and Christians alike,so that peace will once again return to them.As the Pope says our our prayers must be passionate and come from the depths of our hearts.God will definitely answer us and provide a peaceful solution to this inhumane activity of man - WAR