DAILY CATHOLIC     THURSDAY     September 2, 1999     vol. 10, no. 166


To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO
          Pat Ludwa, a committed lay Catholic from Cleveland, has been asked to contribute, on a regular basis, a lay person's point of view on the Church today. We have been impressed with his insight and the clear logic he brings to the table from his "view from the pew." In all humility, by his own admission, he feels he has very little to offer, but we're sure you'll agree with us that his viewpoint is exactly what millions of the silent majority of Catholics believe and have been trying to say as well. Pat puts it in words that help all of us better understand and convey to others what the Church teaches and we must believe.

          Today Pat reminds us not to let the light flicker in our remembrance of Mother Teresa as we commemorate the second anniversary of her death this Sunday. He recalls how she became a light to so many, enlightening their hearts and souls as well as their bodies with nourishment that came from the heart - came from Christ Who Mother personified in her every deed. Pat refutes her few naysayers who accuse her of taking money from unsavory sources, reminding us that Jesus supped with Pharisees, not to take advantage of their riches but to enrich them in the true treasures. This is exactly what the saint of the gutters did. Had she been "political" as some have accused her of, she wouldn't have stood her ground before the most powerful in the world when push came to shove. But there was only one Power she bowed to and that Power empowered her to reach His children in the most touching way possible. Mother Teresa's total dedication has earned her a deserving rest in Heaven. But saints never rest so she will continue to intercede for all, especially the poor and downtrodden.

          If you want to send him ideas or feedback, you can reach him at Padraic42@aol.com

For past columns by Pat Ludwa, click on VIEW FROM THE PEW Archives

Let us never forget Mother Teresa!

        On September 5th, we commemorate the second anniversary of the death of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. This is appropriate since it seems that the world is more involved with commemorating the death of Princess Diane. It is also appropriate to recall who she was, and what she did.

        Mother Teresa said that she saw Christ in every person, that tending to wounds, the hunger and suffering of Christ, was a most blessed thing. But, I feel, in her humility she wasn't telling the full story. She did more than see Christ in others, she saw them with the eyes of Christ. She was Christ for others.

        Her love of God's children wouldn't allow her to remain in the relative security and comfort of the convent of her Order. She was compelled to go out into the street, forsaking all that she held dear, loved, and enjoyed, for the sake of His children in the streets.

        "O Francis, if you want to know My will, you must hate and despise all that hitherto your body has loved and desired to possess. Once you begin to do this, all that formerly seemed sweet and pleasant to you will become bitter and unbearable; and instead, the things that formerly made you shudder will bring you great sweetness and content." (St. Francis of Assisi; Omnibus of Sources; Legend of the Three Companions, Chap 4, #11, pg 900)

        Because she became Christ for others, she led many by her example of true love. She recalled how she was told a Hindu family was starving. So taking what rice she had, she went to their home and gave it to them. Immediately the Hindu mother took the rice, thankfully, and took it next door, to a starving Muslim family. She was overjoyed to see them share the rice together. Would this have occurred without her example? A Christian giving rice to a Hindu out of love who, in turn shared with a Muslim. The Kingdom of God most assuredly broke through and shone brightly that day.

        But like so many who follow Christ, she is both praised and vilified. Her teachings and example are both followed and distorted. Mother Teresa was not one to mince words. She has been attacked for not doing enough to call attention to the 'oppressiveness' of her Church; that if she were a true saint, she would have demanded the Church allow women priests and other 'agenda's'. But Mother Teresa was not interested in agenda's only in doing God's will. Regardless how much it might have hurt.

        She was vilified for accepting funds, which may have come from unsavory sources. Yet Christ Himself ate and drank with some of the most unsavory people of His day. Why? To bring them to God, to remind them of God's love and ask for their repentance and conversion. What better thing could a person do who had gained the whole world but lost his soul by the accumulation of wealth in unsavory ways, than return that money to God via Mother Teresa? To do His work on earth.

        Often, she was brutal in her honesty. She didn't shy away from exposing sin and error. But, again like Christ, burned with a sorrow that can't be comprehended. Isn't this one reason why Christ wept in the garden? For the many who would not benefit from His sacrifice due to their own desires? Didn't He weep before Jerusalem because she refused to see the great gift God was giving her?

        Few people know, or will acknowledge, her chastisement of the most powerful people of the most powerful nation on earth.

        "By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And by abortion, the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. That father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching the people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. That is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion. Many people are very, very concerned with the children of India, with the children of Africa, where quite a few die of hunger, and so on. Many people are also concerned about all the violence in this great country of the United States. These concerns a re very good. But often these same people are not concerned with the millions who are being killed by the deliberate decision of their own mothers. And this is what is the greatest destroyer of peace today: abortion, which brings people to such blindness." (National Prayer Breakfast)

        Did she shy away from the issues? No, she faced them head on. Like Christ, she forced them to see the truth. Whether they accepted the truth was up to them. Nor did she accept that what she did was connected to some notion of social responsibility, but rather a responsibility to God.

        "We are not social workers. We may be doing social work in the eyes of some people, but we must be contemplatives in the heart of the world. For we must bring that presence of God into your family, for the family that prays together, stays together. There is so much hatred, so much misery, and we with our prayer, with our sacrifice, are beginning at home. Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do, but how much love we put into what we do." (Ibid)

        It is appropriate that I close this with her closing words at the National Prayer Breakfast.

        "If we remember that God loves us, and that we can love others as he loves us, then America can become a sign of peace for the world. From here, a sign of care for the weakest of the weak - the unborn child - must go out to the world. lf you become a burning light of justice and peace in the world, then really you will be true to what the founders of this country stood for. God bless you!" (Ibid)

        It isn't about empowerment, but in caring. It isn't about being social workers, but spiritual workers.

        When I think of Mother Teresa, I recall the small, frail elderly woman who stood before some of the most powerful men in the world and received a standing ovation from all but two, the first among the powerful. What a contrast.

        "For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will thwart.' Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men" (1 Corinthians 1:18-25).

        Mother Teresa, pray for us.

Pax Christi, Pat

September 2, 1999       volume 10, no. 166


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