Mother Teresa’s Shame?

There was a really good article posted by Danielle Bean over at the NC Register about the commemoration of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta’s 100th birthday. Danielle highlights  a few different articles and has a lot of good to say about the in-fighting among Catholics from both sides on the issue of memorial services and celebrations and the lighting of towers. She offers the following solution written by Tracy Grant:

Instead of wasting time trying to decide which group is the holiest of the holy when it comes to deciding how Mother Teresa should be honored, why doesn’t the Catholic League and the progressive signatories of the latest press release (which include Call to Action, Catholics for Choice and the Women’s Ordination Conference) simply decide that they will quietly—that would mean without issuing press releases—make Aug. 26 a day of service. A day when the homeless on the street aren’t passed by but are given a sandwich, a cup of coffee and a few minutes of conversation; a day when those who have outlived family and friends have their hands held and their hair combed; a day when a book is placed into the hand of a child who has never held one before.

If anyone would disagree with this, or try to force certain celebrations on that day, they’ve missed the entire point. Just as celebrating Jesus should never end in violence or ugliness, so too, celebrating saints in the Church should never be a massacre of our public image not only to other Catholics, but to the world.

Better that the Catholic League should endure a wrong than continue pointless squabble over a woman who certainly did not care at all for pomp, circumstance, or the trappings of society that we seem so intent on imposing on her memory. If we’re going to celebrate, or remember, or honor this great woman, let us do it with hands that serve, not tongues that wag.

Do I like that the tower refuses to acknowledge one of the most powerful humanitarians of our day? No. However, it is better that the tower not be lit, than for her to be idolized into a humanitarian solely affirming civic religion. Better for her to remain uncelebrated by our society at large due to her religious fervor, than for us to forget altogether the piety with which she was filled.

Let us raise hands in gratitude to God for the testimony of this great woman, but let us do so with hands that embrace even enemies, hands that care for the poor, hands that care for children, hands that think in and with and through the hands of Mother Teresa, truly a lover of the Lord.


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