Mother Teresa of Calcutta: The Light of Love (Part II)

By Missionary of Charity Father Joseph Langford

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ROME, OCT. 16, 2003 ( Here is Part II of the text of Father Joseph Langford, who shared with ZENIT his impressions of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

Along with Mother Teresa, who will be beatified this Sunday, Father Langford is co-founder of the priestly branch of the Missionaries of Charity.

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Mother Teresa’s mission and message have touched not only the poorest of the poor, but those well beyond the slums of Calcutta, as the Church proclaims on this joyful day of her beatification. Today, her words are a message of comfort for countless many across the globe, across all social strata. And for all, her witness remains a moving invitation to serve those more needy than ourselves.

Over the years, and still today, many have felt drawn to do exactly as Mother Teresa did, giving their lives as male and female religious in mission lands. Others have become her «co-Workers,» or «lay missionaries,» serving alongside her communities in Calcutta and throughout the developing world, or assisting at the often less-visible calvaries hidden beneath the spiritual poverty of the West. While diocesan priests from every continent have found inspiration and fraternity in the «Corpus Christi Movement,» which she herself founded and so deeply loved, out of her great love for Jesus’ priesthood.

There are still others who, in the midst of their ordinary lives, feel an extraordinary attraction toward Mother Teresa’s example. Even if not called to mission lands or formal ministry, they nonetheless make up an unseen cohort of simple people, all around the world, who are called to be as leaven in the dough. These are the hidden ‘little ones’ of the kingdom — insignificant before the world, yet precious to the heart of the Father. These are the little ones — like any and all of us — who try to live something of Mother Teresa’s example of love in the midst of their burdened lives. They are hidden carriers of the same light Mother Teresa bore, each reflecting Love’s radiance in their own small way, as the sun sparkling in a sliver of glass.

All around the world they weave small miracles of love with their daily lives, which from Mother Teresa’s one charism, unfold and multiply in all directions, like ripples in a pond. These are the simple ones from every walk of life, God’s unknown heroes unknown even to themselves, who are spreading far and near Mother Teresa’s vision, her message, her example.

Among these little ones Mother Teresa still gladly counts herself, even from above. She too, like her patroness of Lisieux, promised to spend her heaven doing good on earth, bending over the same «dark holes,» of brick and of spirit, that she lit with love while on earth (e.g., her miracle for beatification).

Each of us marking her beatification this day are called to be one with them, and one with her, in this great work of Love — which is his, not hers. In a very real sense, «Something Beautiful for God,» the first book written about Mother Teresa, is still not complete — for each of us are still in time to write its concluding chapter with our lives.

We may not be called to go to Calcutta; we may not be called to do what Mother Teresa did. But all of us, no matter who or where or what we are, are indeed called to do as Mother Teresa, to love as she loved. As she used to say, «What I can do you cannot; and what you can do I cannot.»

Each of us, with our own unique gifts, with our own relationships, with our own place in history, can touch people and do good in a way that neither Mother Teresa, nor anyone else on earth, can do. We are each called, in our special way, to do as Mother Teresa — to make our own lives, as hers, «something beautiful for God.»

Around the world, in all these small though important ways, the thirst of God for man and of man for God is being sated — and Mother Teresa’s mission to «Come, be my light,» continues to be fulfilled.

And so we rejoice for and with Mother Teresa, as we rejoice with the poor and weak of every type and place to whom she showed the immense love of God, as we rejoice with the great and the small everywhere who have been, and will be, blessed by her whom the Church this day in turn has blessed.

[Part I appeared Wednesday.]

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