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 Mother Therese,from National Prayer Breakfast

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victoire
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PostSubject: Mother Therese,from National Prayer Breakfast   Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:45 am





Mother Teresa's Speech
at the National Prayer Breakfast
Washington, DC
February 5, 1994




On the last day, Jesus will say to those on His right hand,
"Come, enter the Kingdom. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and
you gave me drink, I was sick and you visited me." Then Jesus will turn to those on
His left hand and say, "Depart from me because I was hungry and you did not feed me,
I was thirsty and you did not give me to drink, I was sick and you did not visit me."
These will ask Him, "When did we see You hungry, or thirsty or sick and did not come
to Your help?" And Jesus will answer them, "Whatever you neglected to do unto
one of the least of these, you neglected to do unto Me!"


As we have gathered here to pray together, I think it will be
beautiful if we begin with a prayer that expresses very well what Jesus wants us to do for
the least. St. Francis of Assisi understood very well these words of Jesus and His life is
very well expressed by a prayer. And this prayer, which we say every day after Holy
Communion, always surprises me very much, because it is very fitting for each one of us.
And I always wonder whether 800 years ago when St. Francis lived, they had the same
difficulties that we have today. I think that some of you already have this prayer of
peace - so we will pray it together.


Let us thank God for the opportunity He has given us today to have
come here to pray together. We have come here especially to pray for peace, joy and love.
We are reminded that Jesus came to bring the good news to the poor. He had told us what is
that good news when He said: "My peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto
you." He came not to give the peace of the world which is only that we don't bother
each other. He came to give the peace of heart which comes from loving - from doing good
to others.


And God loved the world so much that He gave His son - it was a
giving. God gave His son to the Virgin Mary, and what did she do with Him? As soon as
Jesus came into Mary's life, immediately she went in haste to give that good news. And as
she came into the house of her cousin, Elizabeth, Scripture tells us that the unborn child
- the child in the womb of Elizabeth - leapt with joy. While still in the womb of Mary -
Jesus brought peace to John the Baptist who leapt for joy in the womb of Elizabeth.


And as if that were not enough, as if it were not enough that God
the Son should become one of us and bring peace and joy while still in the womb of Mary,
Jesus also died on the Cross to show that greater love. He died for you and for me, and
for the leper and for that man dying of hunger and that naked person lying in the street,
not only of Calcutta, but of Africa, and everywhere. Our Sisters serve these poor people
in 105 countries throughout the world. Jesus insisted that we love one another as He loves
each one of us. Jesus gave His life to love us and He tells us that we also have to give
whatever it takes to do good to one another. And in the Gospel Jesus says very clearly:
"Love as I have loved you."


Jesus died on the Cross because that is what it took for Him to do
good to us - to save us from our selfishness in sin. He gave up everything to do the
Father's will - to show us that we too must be willing to give up everything to do God's
will - to love one another as He loves each of us. If we are not willing to give whatever
it takes to do good to one another, sin is still in us. That is why we too must give to
each other until it hurts.


It is not enough for us to say: "I love God," but I also
have to love my neighbor. St. John says that you are a liar if you say you love God and
you don't love your neighbor. How can you love God whom you do not see, if you do not love
your neighbor whom you see, whom you touch, with whom you live? And so it is very
important for us to realize that love, to be true, has to hurt. I must be willing to give
whatever it takes not to harm other people and, in fact, to do good to them. This requires
that I be willing to give until it hurts. Otherwise, there is not true love in me and I
bring injustice, not peace, to those around me.


It hurt Jesus to love us. We have been created in His image for
greater things, to love and to be loved. We must "put on Christ" as Scripture
tells us. And so, we have been created to love as He loves us. Jesus makes Himself the
hungry one, the naked one, the homeless one, the unwanted one, and He says, "You did
it to Me." On the last day He will say to those on His right, "whatever you did
to the least of these, you did to Me, and He will also say to those on His left, whatever
you neglected to do for the least of these, you neglected to do it for Me."


When He was dying on the Cross, Jesus said, "I thirst."
Jesus is thirsting for our love, and this is the thirst of everyone, poor and rich alike.
We all thirst for the love of others, that they go out of their way to avoid harming us
and to do good to us. This is the meaning of true love, to give until it hurts.


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, comfortable 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 everyday. 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 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 their children go to the streets and get involved in drugs
or other things. We are talking of love of the child, which is were love and peace must
begin. These are the things that break peace.
CONTINUED.PARTS 2 AND 3


Last edited by victoire on Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:58 am; edited 3 times in total
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PostSubject: Mother Therese,Part 2   Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:46 am

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? How do we persuade a woman not to have an
abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love and we remind ourselves that love
means to be willing to give until it hurts. Jesus gave even His life to love us. So, the
mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love, that is, to give until it
hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child. The father of that
child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts.


By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her
own child to solve her problems. And, by abortion, that father is told that he does not
have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. The
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 its people to love, but to use
any violence to get what they want. This 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 are 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.


And for this I appeal in India and I appeal everywhere - "Let
us bring the child back." The child is God's gift to the family. Each child is
created in the special image and likeness of God for greater things - to love and to be
loved. In this year of the family we must bring the child back to the center of our care
and concern. This is the only way that our world can survive because our children are the
only hope for the future. As older people are called to God, only their children can take
their places.


But what does God say to us? He says: "Even if a mother could
forget her child, I will not forget you. I have carved you in the palm of my hand."
We are carved in the palm of His hand; that unborn child has been carved in the hand of
God from conception and is called by God to love and to be loved, not only now in this
life, but forever. God can never forget us.


I will tell you something beautiful. We are fighting abortion by
adoption - by care of the mother and adoption for her baby. We have saved thousands of
lives. We have sent word to the clinics, to the hospitals and police stations:
"Please don't destroy the child; we will take the child." So we always have
someone tell the mothers in trouble: "Come, we will take care of you, we will get a
home for your child." And we have a tremendous demand from couples who cannot have a
child - but I never give a child to a couple who have done something not to have a child.
Jesus said, "Anyone who receives a child in my name, receives me." By adopting a
child, these couples receive Jesus but, by aborting a child, a couple refuses to receive
Jesus.


Please don't kill the child. I want the child. Please give me the
child. I am willing to accept any child who would be aborted and to give that child to a
married couple who will love the child and be loved by the child. From our children's home
in Calcutta alone, we have saved over 3000 children from abortion. These children have
brought such love and joy to their adopting parents and have grown up so full of love and
joy.


I know that couples have to plan their family and for that there is
natural family planning. The way to plan the family is natural family planning, not
contraception. In destroying the power of giving life, through contraception, a husband or
wife is doing something to self. This turns the attention to self and so it destroys the
gifts of love in him or her. In loving, the husband and wife must turn the attention to
each other as happens in natural family planning, and not to self, as happens in
contraception. Once that living love is destroyed by contraception, abortion follows very
easily.


I also know that there are great problems in the world - that many
spouses do not love each other enough to practice natural family planning. We cannot solve
all the problems in the world, but let us never bring in the worst problem of all, and
that is to destroy love. And this is what happens when we tell people to practice
contraception and abortion.


The poor are very great people. They can teach us so many beautiful
things. Once one of them came to thank us for teaching her natural family planning and
said: "You people who have practiced chastity, you are the best people to teach us
natural family planning because it is nothing more than self-control out of love for each
other." And what this poor person said is very true. These poor people maybe have
nothing to eat, maybe they have not a home to live in, but they can still be great people
when they are spiritually rich.


When I pick up a person from the street, hungry, I give him a plate
of rice, a piece of bread. But a person who is shut out, who feels unwanted, unloved,
terrified, the person who has been thrown out of society - that spiritual poverty is much
harder to overcome. And abortion, which often follows from contraception, brings a people
to be spiritually poor, and that is the worst poverty and the most difficult to overcome.


Those who are materially poor can be very wonderful people. One
evening we went out and we picked up four people from the street. And one of them was in a
most terrible condition. I told the Sisters: "You take care of the other three; I
will take care of the one who looks worse." So I did for her all that my love can do.
I put her in bed, and there was such a beautiful smile on her face. She took hold of my
hand, as she said one word only: "thank you" - and she died.


I could not help but examine my conscience before her. And I asked:
"What would I say if I were in her place?" And my answer was very simple. I
would have tried to draw a little attention to myself. I would have said: "I am
hungry, I am dying, I am cold, I am in pain," or something. But she gave me much more
- she gave me her grateful love. And she died with a smile on her face. Then there was the
man we picked up from the drain, half eaten by worms and, after we had brought him to the
home, he only said, "I have lived like an animal in the street, but I am going to die
as an angel, loved and cared for." Then, after we had removed all the worms from his
body, all he said, with a big smile, was: "Sister, I am going home to God" - and
he died. It was so wonderful to see the greatness of that man who could speak like that
without blaming anybody, without comparing anything. Like an angel - this is the greatness
of people who are spiritually rich even when they are materially poor.


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.


If we are contemplatives in the heart of the world with all its
problems, these problems can never discourage us. We must always remember what God tells
us in Scripture: "Even if a mother could forget the child in her womb" -
something impossible, but even if she could forget - "I will never forget you."


And so here I am talking with you. I want you to find the poor
here, right in your own home first. And begin love there. Be that good news to your own
people first. And find out about your next-door neighbors. Do you know who they are?
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PostSubject: Mother Therse,Part 3   Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:55 am

I had the most extraordinary experience of love of neighbor with a
Hindu family. A gentleman came to our house and said: "Mother Teresa, there is a
family who have not eaten for so long. Do something." So I took some rice and went
there immediately. And I saw the children - their eyes shining with hunger. I don't know
if you have ever seen hunger. But I have seen it very often. And the mother of the family
took the rice I gave her and went out. When she came back, I asked her: "Where did
you go? What did you do?" And she gave me a very simple answer: "They are hungry
also." What struck me was that she knew - and who are they? A Muslim family - and she
knew. I didn't bring any more rice that evening because I wanted them, Hindus and Muslims,
to enjoy the joy of sharing.


But there were those children, radiating joy, sharing the joy and
peace with their mother because she had the love to give until it hurts. And you see this
is where love begins - at home in the family.


So, as the example of this family shows, God will never forget us
and there is something you and I can always do. We can keep the joy of loving Jesus in our
hearts, and share that joy with all we come in contact with. Let us make that one point -
that no child will be unwanted, unloved, uncared for, or killed and thrown away. And give
until it hurts - with a smile.


Because I talk so much of giving with a smile, once a professor
from the United States asked me: "Are you married?" And I said: "Yes, and I
find it sometimes very difficult to smile at my spouse, Jesus, because He can be very
demanding - sometimes." This is really something true. And this is where love comes
in - when it is demanding, and yet we can give it with joy.


One of the most demanding things for me is travelling everywhere -
and with publicity. I have said to Jesus that if I don't go to heaven for anything else, I
will be going to heaven for all the travelling with all the publicity, because it has
purified me and sacrificed me and made me really ready to go to heaven.


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. If 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!
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