This is Labor Day Weekend and writing this commentary is truly an enjoyable labor of love. Tempus fugit. That, of course, is Latin for "time flies" and it seems like just yesterday the world was mourning the death of Princess Diana. The death, a few days later, of Mother Teresa seemed like more of an annoyance to many in the media, sort of an intrusion into the deification of Di. This is meant in no way as a put down of Diana Spencer for she was close to Mother Teresa and felt infinitismal in the shadow of a saint. In fact, it was through Mother that Diana had begun preparations to turn Catholic. Though she didn't realize that conversion in life, it is left to God what was in her heart and soul. The heart and soul was so important to the frail nun from Calcutta who defied logic by leaving the comfort of her own order to begin the serapi-wearing Missionaries of Charity which, with 4,500 strong has become the fastest growing religious Order since a like-minded person from Assisi shunned the world, formed a group of religious men and embraced the poor, taking the Gospel throughout the world. Only God knows how many conversions Mother effected in her time and, more importantly, God's time.
One famous conversion came after the British iconoclast journalist Malcolm Muggeridge interviewed Mother. His BBC documentary on her "Something Beautiful for God" introduced once and forever this living saint to every continent and from that time on neither the world nor Muggeridge were ever the same again. Muggeridge and his wife converted to Catholicism in 1982 at the age of 79. Eight year later he would realize all that Mother had told him about the rewards of salvation when he died on November 14, 1990.
Sunday we observe the two year anniversary of Mother's death and, true to our prediction at the time of her death, the Vatican has waived the five-year moratorium for considering her canonization. This formal process of inquiry mandatory for canonization has already been launched by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and the local stage of the interviewing process has begun in Calcutta by Archbishop Henry D'Souza. We repeat here what we wrote two years ago on Mother Teresa.
"What more can be written about this living saint than already has been written? Mother doesnít want us to write about her or elevate her on a pedestal; she wants us to live what she advocated, not because it came from her, but because it originates from Jesus Whom she saw in every soul she touched; just as another great woman - His Blessed Mother Mary - has been beseeching all of us to do through her messages at Medjugorje and elsewhere. Yet, weíre not satisfied with the little things. We donít have the patience to go one step at a time, to live the messages daily, to fit each act of charity, each sacrifice, each prayer into the seemingly laborious daily task of striving to live Godís Will. As Mother proved, it is only through the little things that we are able to see the entire panorama of His Plan for us. Mother saw it and for her labors she is being touted as a saint even before the taps die. The Church, as she should, is very cautious but we strongly believe popular sentiment will sway the powers that be. One of the procedures for canonization is to provide a 'devil's advocate' - one who will look for all faults and problems to filter out those not worthy of such an honor. As this editor is typing Mother's funeral is just coming to a conclusion. As the commentators ramble on it strikes us that the process of devil's advocate is already being put into action via the secular media who are taking every pot-shot they can at Mother and her Order. But at every turn, they meet a humble, non-chalant, charitable response that leaves them speechless and even more frustrated they can't find any 'dirt' on Mother or the 4,500 sisters who comprise her wondrous Missionaries of Charity and the 500 priests and brothers of her order for men. Pumping Sister Nirmala, Mother's successor as Superior General, they find the same determination in this Hindu-born nun with a high degree of humility and total confidence. The media hound the sisters with questions of 'how will the Order survive without Mother?' and Sister Nirmala politely, but assuredly states: 'God will provide.' Oh, it's beautiful the way the secular media are stumbling and bumbling all over themselves. At this rate Mother should be a saint before the millennium. We do know there is a groundswell of support not just from the people, but also the bishops and cardinals. In fact, many clerics have already gone on record as saying they would like the Holy Father to expedite the process. They point to the fact that in the early Church canonization was effected by vox populi - the voice of the people. If ever the voice of the people has been heard regarding a holy woman in the Church, it is now and it is Mother Teresa. Yes, it is an unusual request but we live in unusual times and she was an unusual woman - especially in relationship to today's lifestyles and values. In the long storied history of the saints, we doubt many dedicated themselves and their work so wholeheartedly as did Mother. Her accomplishments rival the famous founder of the Franciscans Saint Francis of Assisi for sheer numbers and total commitment. Like her namesake, Saint Therese of Lisieux, it was the little things - the "little way" - of Mother Teresa that transformed her simple, loving acts of love and compassion into the greatest of accomplishments."
Like her patron saint, she always did the ordinary things in extraordinary ways. It was also two years ago on Mission Sunday that John Paul II officially proclaimed the Little Flower a Doctor of the Church, the third female saint to be given such an honor. Like St. Therese, Mother was not an intellectual, but her wisdom in the little things she did and said spoke volumes. We may have to wait another century for Mother Teresa to be declared a Doctor of the Church, but we're delighted that the process for canonization has begun for this modern-day saint who gained global renown for being simple and loving, for living and doing Godís Will. That is what sanctity is all about. While we realize it will take some time for the various stages of beatification and canonization, it's a fait accomplis that it will get done and that in the early years of the new millennium we will officially be able to call her Saint Teresa of Calcutta. For now, she is still Mother Teresa but we cannot let her memory fade. Today, more than ever, we need to live what she preached by example. If we do, then little by little, weíll begin to see the big picture and be able to better comprehend why, to God, little things mean a lot!
Speaking of little things, we're taking the little and making it bigger. We're referring to the wider pages on the front page of the daily issues of the DAILY CATHOLIC. Because more and more are acquiring larger monitors, we've decided to expand the width. This is an experimental project. If there are any problems with the expansion, please let us know. Those who do not have the faster modems either DSL or cable or higher powered computers, we recommend you go to text only. It will load much faster. If you still have a 26 modem or lower, even a 56K is slow now days, you might want to consider the text only versions. If not, it will load slow but why not take that time to say some Hail Mary's while you're waiting for the "Document Done" signal. At times with all the images on the enhanced graphics full color editions you may get in a whole decade. But then, can you think of anything better to do while on the web? We've also moved the News & Views to the top left so our readers can more easily access the latest events concerning the Church. We also want to reinsure those who have e-mailed us that we're doing all we can to catch up on the backlog of correspondence. Little things that readers want is important to them and we recognize this, from permissions to problems, from finding a baptism certificate to a parish or priest. We strive to accommodate all requests, no matter how little. It's the little things that add up to big results and speaking of big, as of Friday, September 3 - Feast of Saint Gregory the Great and my bride's birthday, we have officially surpassed five million visits from readers since going on-line on All Saints Day in November 1997!
Many have asked when the feature series THE HISTORY OF THE HOLY MASS AND HOLY MOTHER CHURCH, WHERE IS HOLY MOTHER CHURCH HEADING AS WE NEAR THE MILLENNIUM?, and THE 2000 YEAR VOYAGE ON THE BARQUE OF PETER will resume. The latter begins today and will run every Wednesday. The reason we reintroduce it today is because today is the feast of that great pontiff Pope Saint Gregory the Great and we pick up today with the Gregorian influence on the liturgy in the sixteenth installment. As for the other two on-going series, they are temporarily suspended because of overload on the editor's part. We'll have more on this in a week or so. You will be happy to know that Pat Ludwa returns with two columns each week beginning Monday and the daily biographies of the TOP 100 CATHOLICS OF THE CENTURY Countdown will continue into December. Both features have proved immensely popular. We will continue to fine-tune each issue, phasing out those things that do not generate interest and intensify efforts on those features that do. That is why we are dropping FOOD FOR THOUGHT APPETEASERS and adding APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH. In fact the latter is so important to all Catholics that we have decided to run it in each issue. We've already had numerous e-mails of excitement in anticipation of this new series. As always the DAILY CATHOLIC will continue to strive for excellence in content and accuracy, with evangelization a large part of this apostolate. After all, when it comes to providing a viable, traditional Catholic vehicle for our readers, we know, only too well from Mother Teresa's example, that little things mean a lot!