The “exemplary model” of Blessed Mother Teresa was highlighted in a letter from Pope Benedict XVI released for the 100th anniversary of her birth. An accompanying message from the current mother superior of the Missionaries of Charity reproposed Mother Teresa’s call to change the world through small acts performed with great love.
Celebrations of all types, especially Eucharistic ones, are being observed across the globe on Thursday to honor the foundress of the Missionaries of Charity (MC) and her legacy of love. According to a letter dated May 18, but just released for the Aug. 26 occasion, the Pope has also been “spiritually” joining in with the year’s celebrations.
The Holy Father remembered Mother Teresa as an “exemplary model of Christian virtue” in the brief message to MC superior general, Mother Mary Prema. He expressed his confidence that this year’s celebrations of her life would be “an occasion of joyful gratitude to God for the inestimable gift that Mother Teresa was in her lifetime and continues to be through the affectionate and tireless work” of the order she founded.
The Holy Father also asked that the love showed by Mother Teresa continue to inspire the order’s members as they carry out their service, drawing from her example and spirituality and choosing, as she did, to “take up Christ’s invitation, ‘Come, be my light’.”
In a letter sent to members of the order this month, Mother Mary Prema wrote that their foundress is a continuing inspiration to people of all ages, economic standings, religions and origins.
Mother Teresa’s message that “'God has created us for greater things – to love and to be loved’,” wrote the superior in the note made public by the Mother Teresa Center on Wednesday, “makes us look beyond the struggles, loneliness and grievances of our daily life.”
We are called to love God and to share that love with others, “beginning with our families,” she stated.
Quoting again the words of the foundress, she wrote, “Smile at each other, make time for each other in your family, we never know how much good just a simple smile can do.”
Mother Mary called for the centenary to be observed by “sharing the joy of loving and being loved” and by praying “to know better God’s love for us.” She also suggested that small acts done with great love “will ‘make our lives something beautiful for God’.”
These simple actions will serve to transform the world, she concluded, because, as Mother Teresa said, “A smile generates smiles and love generates love.”
Around 5,000 sisters and nearly 500 brothers are currently working to carry out the work that Mother Teresa began 60 years ago.