Today, the world is given a new person to look up to; to admire; to emulate, or so the press is proclaiming. Today, the media is feeding us a large dose of saccharine about this person St. Teresa of Calcutta. In every online article I read and TV news segment I watched I was informed about this sweet, energetic and sort of tough old lady who helped people no one wanted to help. And this is true, but it is not the fully written icon of this wonderful saint.
What was missing was the reason for her life – God. Sure God was referred to, how could he not be, after all, it is the Church who declares her a saint. But, in most presentations God was referred to quickly and the church even more quickly; of course they did mention Pope Francis frequently; after all, he is the darling of the mainstream media – he makes good copy – especially if they parse and cut his words to fit their agendas. No, these watercolor-type news stories kept far away from what drove St. Teresa – love of God and the cross.
St. Teresa of Calcutta has been proclaimed great by the media, not by the Church. St. Teresa of Calcutta has been proclaimed the doer of astounding things by the media, not by the Church. What the Church proclaims, is that great things sprouted up from St. Teresa’s little acts of love. What the Church proclaims is that her ‘greatness’ is that her life was one of decrease as her love, Jesus Christ increased. What the Church proclaims is that her daily, constant, decision to love Jesus, and those He loves, was a constant cross that she resolutely carried. What Holy Mother Church proclaims is that by her self-surrender to the Lord, He was allowed to be fruitful through her.
Today, we celebrate the proclamation of another example of love which in this case is a verb not a noun. Today, we celebrate the proclamation of St. Teresa of Calcutta’s sainthood not by reminiscing and reveling in warm feelings, as if we are sitting together looking at family photos; but by following her daily choices and offering our own efforts to carry the cross, our cross, as she did so that our true love Jesus can be fruitful through us as well. Today, along with Saint Teresa of Calcutta we hold the Cross high.