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A Gift for God--Mother Teresa

    The passages below are quotations of Mother Teresa from the book “A Gift for God” complied by Malcolm Muggeridge.

 

1.We know that if we really want to love we must learn how to forgive. (42)

 

2.Love begins at home; love lives in homes, and that is why there is so much suffering and so much unhappiness in the world today. If we listen to Jesus he will tell us what he said before: “Love one another, as I have loved you.” He has loved us through suffering, dying on the Cross for us, and so if we are to love one another, if we are to bring that love into life again, we have to begin at home.(pg 18)

 

3.We must make our homes centers of compassion and forgive endlessly.(18)

         

4.A living love hurts. Jesus, to prove his love for us, died on the Cross. The mother, to give birth to her child, has to suffer. If you really love one another properly, there must be sacrifice.(19)

         

5.Because we cannot see Christ we cannot express our love to Him; but our neighbors we can always see, and we can do for them what, if we saw Him, we would like to do for Christ.(36)

 

6.There should be less talk; a preaching point is not a meeting point. What do you do then? Take a broom and clean someone’s house. That says enough. (53)

 

7.All of us are but His instruments, who do our little bit and pass by. (53)

 

8.Make sure that you let God’s grace work in your souls by accepting whatever He gives you, and giving Him whatever He takes from you. True holiness consists in doing God’s will with a smile.(45)

 

9.Faith is a gift of God. Without it there would be no life. And our work, to be fruitful, and to be all for God, and to be beautiful, has to be built on faith---faith in Christ who has said, “I was hungry, I was naked, I was sick, and I was homeless, and you ministered to me.” On these words of His all our work is based. (21)

         

10.To show great love for God and our neighbor we need not do great things. It is how much love we put in the doing that makes our offering Something Beautiful for God. (83)

 

11.If you learn this art of being thoughtful, you will, become more and more Christlike, for His heart was meek and He always thought of others. Thoughtfulness is the beginning of great sanctity. Our vocation, to be beautiful, must be full of thought for others. Jesus went about doing good. Our Lady in Cana only thought of the needs of others and made their needs known to Jesus. (37)

 

12.Faith is lacking because there is so much selfishness and so much gain only for self. But faith, to be true, has to be a giving love. Love and faith go together. They complete each other. (22)

 

13.I think, dear friend, I understand you better now. I am afraid I could not answer to your deep suffering. I don’t know why, but you to me are like Nicodemus, and I am sure the answer is the same---“Unless you become a little child . . .“ I am sure you will understand beautifully everything---if you would only become a little child in God’s hands. Your longing for God is so deep, and yet He keeps himself away from you. He must be forcing Himself to do so, because He loves you so much as to give Jesus to die for you and for me. Christ is longing to be your Food. Surrounded with fullness of living Food, you allow yourself to starve. The personal love Christ has for you is infinite---the small difficulty you have regarding the Church is finite. Overcome the finite with the infinite. Christ created you because He wanted you. I know what you feel---terrible longing, with dark emptiness---and yet, He is the one in love with you. I do not know if you have seen these few lines before, but they fill and empty me:

My God, my God, what is a heart

That thou should’st so eye and woo,

Pouring upon it all thy heart

As if thou hadst nothing else to do? (22-23)

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14.Today what is happening on the surface of the Church will pass. For Christ, the Church is the same today, yesterday and tomorrow. The Apostles went through the same feelings of fear and distrust, failure and disloyalty, and yet Christ did not scold them---just ‘Litt1e children, little faith, why did you fear?” I wish we could love as He did---now. (24)

         

15.Suffering in itself is nothing; but suffering shared with Christ’s passion is a wonderful gift. Man’s most beautiful gift is that he can share in the passion of Christ. Yes, a gift and a sign of His love; because this is how His Father proved that He loved the world---by giving His Son to die for us. (28)

 

16.And so in Christ it was proved that the greatest gift is love: because suffering was how He paid for sin. (28)

 

17.Without Him we could do nothing. And it is at the altar that we meet our suffering poor. And in Him that we see that suffering can become a means to greater love and greater generosity. (28)

    

18.Without our suffering, our work would just be social work, very good and helpful, but not the work of Jesus Christ, not part of the Redemption. Jesus wanted to help by sharing our life, our loneliness, our agony, our death. Only by being one with us has He redeemed us.

We are asked to do the same; all the desolation of the poor people, not only their material poverty, but their spiritual destitution, must be redeemed. And we must share it, for only by being one with them can we redeem them by bringing God into their lives and bringing them to God. (29)

         

19.Suffering, if it is accepted together, borne together, is joy.(29)

    

20.Amongst our Co-Workers we have sick and crippled people who very often cannot do anything to share in the work. So they adopt a Sister or a Brother, offering all their sufferings and all their prayers for that Brother or that Sister, who then involves the sick Co-Worker fully in whatever he or she does. The two become like one person, and they call each other their second self. I have a second self like this in Belgium, and when I was last there she said to me: “I am sure you are going to have a heavy time, with all the walking and working and talking. I know this from the pain I have in my spine, and the very painful operation which I shall shortly need to have.” That is her seventeenth operation, and each time that I have something special to do, it is she behind me that gives me all the strength and courage to do what I have to do to fulfill God’s will. This is why I am able to do what I am doing; as my second self, she does all the most difficult part of the work for me. (29-30)

 

21.If sometimes our poor people have had to die of starvation, it is not because God didn’t care for them, but because you and I didn’t give, were not instruments of love in the hands of God, to give them that bread, to give them that clothing; because we did not recognize Him, when once more Christ came in distressing disguise---in the hungry man, in the lonely man, in the homeless child, and seeking for shelter. God has identified himself with the hungry, the sick, the naked, the homeless; hunger, not only for bread, but for love, for care, to be somebody to someone; nakedness, not of clothing only, but nakedness of that compassion that very few people give to the unknown; homelessness, not only just for a shelter made of stone, but that homelessness that comes from having no one to call your own. (32-33)

 

22.Today, the same Christ is in people who are unwanted, unemployed, uncared for, hungry, naked, and homeless. They seem useless to the state and to society; nobody has time for them. It is you and I as Christians, worthy of the love of Christ if our love is true, who must find them, and help them; they are there for the finding. (36)

 

23.There is always the danger that we may just do the work for the sake of the work. This is where the respect and the love and the devotion come in---that we do it for God, for Christ, and that’s why we try to do it as beautifully as possible. (36)

 

24.Christians stand as the light for the others. . . for the people in the world. If we are Christians then we must be Christlike.(37)

 

25.A Christian is a tabernacle of the living God. He created me, He chose me, He came to dwell in me, because He wanted me. Now that you have known how much God is in love with you, it is but natural that you spend the rest of your life radiating that love. (38)

 

26.To be a true Christian means the true acceptance of Christ, and the becoming of another Christ one to another. To love as we are loved, and as Christ has loved us from the Cross, we have to love each other and give to others.(38)

 

27.When Christ said: ‘I was hungry and you fed me,” He didn’t mean only the hunger for bread and for food; He also meant the hunger to be loved. Jesus himself experienced this loneliness. He came amongst His own and His own received Him not, and it hurt Him then and it has kept on hurting Him. The same hunger, the same loneliness, the same having no one to be accepted by and to be loved and wanted by. Every human being in that case resembles Christ in his loneliness; and that is the hardest part, that’s real hunger. (38-39)

         

28.I would rather make mistakes in kindness and compassion than work miracles in unkindness and hardness. (42)

 

29.Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person. (42)

 

30.As each Sister is to become a Co-Worker of Christ in the slums, each ought to understand what God and the Missionaries of Charity expect from her. Let Christ radiate and live His life in her and through her in the slums. Let the poor, seeing her, be drawn to Christ and invite Him to enter their homes and their lives. Let the sick and suffering find in her a real angel of comfort and consolation. Let the little ones of the streets cling to her because she reminds them of Him, the friend of the little ones. (43)

 

31.Our lives are woven with Jesus in the Eucharist, and the faith and the love that come from the Eucharist enable us to see Him in the distressing disguise of the poor, and so there is but one love of Jesus, as there is but one person in the poor---Jesus. We take vows of chastity to love Christ with undivided love; to be able to love Him with undivided love we take a vow of poverty that frees us from all material possessions, and with that freedom we can love Him with undivided love, and from this vow of undivided love we surrender ourselves totally to Him in the person who takes His place. So our vow of obedience is another way of giving, of being loved. And the fourth vow that we take is to give wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor. By this vow, we bind ourselves to be one of them, to depend solely on divine providence, to have nothing, yet possess all things in possessing Christ. (43-44)

 

32.Let there be no pride or vanity in the work. The work is God’s work, the poor are God’s poor. Put yourself completely under the influence of Jesus, so that He may think His thoughts in your mind, do His work through your hands, for you will be all-powerful with Him to strengthen you. (45)

 

33.God is purity Himself; nothing impure can come before Him, but I don’t think God can hate, because God is love and God loves us in spite of our misery and sinfulness. He is our loving Father and so we have only to turn to him. God cannot hate; God loves because he is love, but impurity is an obstacle to seeing God. This doesn’t mean only the sin of impurity, but any attachment, anything that takes us away from God, anything that makes us less Christlike, any hatred, any uncharitableness is also impurity. If we are full of sin, God cannot fill us, because even God himself cannot fill what is full. That’s why we need forgiveness to become empty, and then God fills us with Himself. (45-46)

 

34.Keep giving Jesus to your people, not by words, but by your example, by your being in love with Jesus, by radiating His holiness and spreading His fragrance of love everywhere you go. Just keep the joy of Jesus as your strength. Be happy and at peace. Accept whatever he gives---and give whatever he takes with a big smile. You belong to him. Tell him: “I am yours, and if you cut me to pieces, every single piece will be only all yours.” Let Jesus be the victim and the priest in you. (46-47)

 

35.Actually we are touching Christ’s body in the poor. In the poor it is the hungry Christ that we are feeding, it is the naked Christ that we are clothing, it is to the homeless Christ that we are giving shelter.

It is not just hunger for bread or the need of the naked for clothes or of the homeless for a house made of bricks. Even the rich are hungry for love, for being cared for, for being wanted, for having someone to call their own. (47)

 

36.Jesus Christ has said that we are much more important to his Father than the grass, the birds, the flowers of the earth; and so, if He takes such care of these things, how much more would He take care of His life in us. He cannot deceive us; because life is God’s greatest gift to human beings. Since it is created in the image of God, it belongs to Him; and we have no right to destroy it. (48)

 

37.Be kind and merciful. Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness;

·        kindness in your face,

·        kindness in your eyes,

·        kindness in your smile,

·        kindness in your warm greeting.

In the slums we are the light of God’s kindness to the poor. To children, to the poor, to all who suffer and are lonely, give always a happy smile. Give them not only your care, but also your heart. (52)

 

38.A smile must always be on our lips for any child to whom we offer help, for any to whom we give companionship or medicine. It would be very wrong to offer only our cures; we must offer to all our heart. Government agencies accomplish many things in the field of assistance. We must offer something else: Christ’s love. (52)

 

39.Let us ask our Lady to make our hearts “meek and humble” as her Son’s was. It is so very easy to be proud and harsh and selfish---so easy; but we have been created for greater things. How much we can learn from our Lady! She was so humble because she was all for God. She was full of grace. Tell our Lady to tell Jesus: “They have no wine; they need the wine of humility and meekness, of kindness and sweetness” She is sure to tell us, “Do whatever He tells you.”(57)

 

40.You ask how I should see the task of the Missionaries of Charity if I were a religious sister or priest in Surrey or Sussex. Well, the task of the Church in such places is much more difficult than what we face in Calcutta, Yemen, or anywhere else, where all the people need is dressing for their wounds, a bowl of rice and a “cuddle,” with someone telling them they are loved and wanted. In Surrey and Sussex the problems of your people are deep down, at the bottom of their hearts. They have to come to know you and trust you, to see you as a person with Christ’s compassion and love, before their problems will emerge and you can help them. This takes a lot of time! Time for you to be people of prayer and time to give of yourself to each one of your people. (78)

 

41.“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind.” This is the commandment of the great God, and He cannot command the impossible. Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand. Anyone may gather it and no limit is set. Everyone can reach this love through meditation, spirit of prayer, and sacrifice, by an intense inner life. (81)

 

42.There is no limit, because God is love and love is God, and so you are really in love with God. And then, God’s love is infinite. But part is to love and to give until it hurts. And that’s why it’s not how much you do, but how much love you put into the action. How much love we put in our presents. That’s why people---maybe they are very rich people---who have not got a capacity to give and to receive love are the poorest of the poor. And I think this is what our Sisters have got--—the spreading of joy that you see in many religious people who have given themselves without reserve to God. (82)

 

43.Our work is only the expression of the love we have for God. We have to pour our love on someone, and the people are the means of expressing our love for God. (82)

 

44.We need to find God, and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature---trees, flowers, grass---grows in silence; see the stars, the moon, and the sun, how they move in silence. Is not our mission to give God to the poor in the slums? Not a dead God, but a living, loving God. The more we receive in silent prayer, the more we can give in our active life. We need silence to be able to touch souls. The essential thing is not what we say, but what God says to us and through us. All our words will be useless unless they come from within; words that do not give the light of Christ increase the darkness. (83)

 

45.The great hindrance to us in our work is that we are not yet saints; that we cannot spread to the full the love of Christ. That is what distresses us most when we travel. (84)

 

46.Our progress in holiness depends on God and ourselves---on God’s grace and on our will to be holy. We must have a real living determination to reach holiness. “I will be a saint” means I will despoil myself of all that is not God; I will strip my heart of all created things; I will live in poverty and detachment; I will renounce my will, my inclinations, my whims and fancies, and make myself a willing slave to the will of God. (84)

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47.Dearest Lord, may I see You today and every day in the person of your sick, and, whilst nursing them, minister unto You. Though You hide Yourself behind the unattractive disguise of the irritable, the exacting, the unreasonable, may I still recognize You, and say: “Jesus, my patient, how sweet it is to serve you.” (87-88)

 

48.Sweetest Lord, make me appreciative of the dignity of my high vocation, and its many responsibilities. Never permit me to disgrace it by giving way to coldness, unkindness, or impatience. (88)

 

49.And, O God, while You are Jesus, my patient, deign also to be to me a patient Jesus, bearing with my faults, looking only to my intention, which is to love and serve You in the person of each of Your sick. Lord, increase my faith, bless my efforts and work, now and forevermore. (89)

 

50.Lord, help us to see in Your crucifixion and resurrection an example of how to endure and seemingly to die in the agony and conflict of daily life, so that we may live more fully and creatively. You accepted patiently and humbly the rebuffs of human life, as well as the tortures of your crucifixion and passion. Help us to accept the pains and conflicts that come to us each day as opportunities to grow as people and become more like you. Enable us to go through them patiently and bravely, trusting that you will support us. Make us realize that it is only by frequent deaths of ourselves and our self-centered desires that we can come to live more fully; for it is only by dying with You that we can rise with You. (89-90)

 

51.Let us all become a true and fruitful branch on the vine Jesus, by accepting Him in our lives as it pleases Him to come:

·        as the Truth--—to be told;

·        as the Life--—to be lived;

·        as the Light--—to be lighted;

·        as the Love--—to be loved;

·        as the Way--—to be walked;

·        as the Joy--—to be given;

·        as the Peace--—to be spread;

·        as the Sacrifice--—to be offered,

in our families and our neighbors. (91-92)

 

52.In Holy Communion we have Christ under the appearance of bread. In our work we find Him under the appearance of flesh and blood. It is the same Christ. (92)

 

53.The Mass is the spiritual food that sustains me, without which I could not get through one single day or hour in my life; in the Mass we have Jesus in the appearance of bread, while in the slums we see Christ and touch Him in the broken bodies, in the abandoned children. (92)

 

54.Joy is prayer; joy is strength, joy is love, joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. God loves a cheerful giver. She gives most who gives with joy. The best way to show our gratitude to God and the people is to accept everything with joy. A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love. Never let anything so fill you with sorrow as to make you forget the joy of the Christ risen.

We all long for heaven where God is, but we have it in our power to be in heaven with Him right now--—to be happy with Him at this very moment. But being happy with Him now means:

·        loving as He loves,

·        helping as He helps,

·        giving as He gives,

·        serving as He serves,

·        rescuing as He rescues,

·        being with Him for all the twenty-four hours,

·        touching Him in His distressing disguise. (95-96)

 

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