101 Today

That is how old Mother Teresa of Calcutta — Blessed Teresa — would be today if she were alive. On the anniversary of her death, events this week make her speech at the National Prayer Breakfast all too essential to reread. Moral courage and clarity in the face of great evil.

Before Bill and Hillary Clinton and everyone, she said:

I can never forget the experience I had in visiting a home where they kept all these old parents of sons and daughters who had just put them into an institution and forgotten them – maybe. I saw that in that home these old people had everything – good food, comfort- able place, television, everything, but everyone was looking toward the door. And I did not see a single one with a smile on the face. I turned to Sister and I asked: “Why do these people who have every comfort here, why are they all looking toward the door? Why are they not smiling?”

I am so used to seeing the smiles on our people, even the dying ones smile.

And Sister said: “This is the way it is nearly every day. They are expecting, they are hoping that a son or daughter will come to visit them. They are hurt because they are forgotten.” And see, this neglect to love brings spiritual poverty. Maybe in our own family we have somebody who is feeling lonely, who is feeling sick, who is feeling worried. Are we there? Are we there to be with them, or do we merely put them in the care of others? Are we willing to give until it hurts in order to be with our families, or do we put our own interests first? These are the questions we must ask ourselves, especially as we begin this year of the family. We must remember that love begins at home and we must also remember that “the future of humanity passes through the family.”

I was surprised in the West to see so many young boys and girls given to drugs. And I tried to find out why. Why is it like that, when those in the West have so many more things than those in the East? And the answer was: “Because there is no one in the family to receive them.” Our children depend on us for everything – their health, their nutrition, their security, their coming to know and love God. For all of this, they look to us with trust, hope and expectation. But often father and mother are so busy they have no time for their children, or perhaps they are not even married or have given up on their marriage. So the children go to the streets and get involved in drugs or other things. We are talking of love of the child which is where love and peace must begin. These are the things that break peace.

But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself.

And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?

But there is more. And Peggy Noonan’s account of the event is worth a Friday reread, too. The to-do list I will never forget.



  • Nathan

    The woman who started her “To Do” list…some simply want to hide their eyes and plug their ears to the truth.

  • Manoj

    I cannot really understand the culture of the West, that they abandon their parents at the age of 18 years…. arent we humans and not animals… In the East our parents take care of us when we are in our childhood and we take care of them when they are in their “second childhood”. We are not ashamed to live with our parents. Even Jesus stayed with her mom till he was 30. He handed her to the care of his most favorite desciple when he was about to leave. In US it is shameful to take care of the parents or live with them. Such a non-Christian culture.



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