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.