ConAltriOcchi blog – 以不同的眼光看世界-博客

"C'è un solo modo di vedere le cose finché qualcuno non ci mostra come guardare con altri occhi" – "There is only one way to see things, until someone shows us how to look at them with different eyes" (Picasso) – "人观察事物的方式只有一种,除非有人让我们学会怎样以不同的眼光看世界" (毕加索)


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She was able to love even in the darkness

In memory of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, 20 years since her departure

Today is the twentieth anniversary of the death of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, an extraordinary woman of faith and a missionary that was canonized by the Church. The UN Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, on the day of Mother Teresa’s death, said,: “Mother Teresa is the United Nations. Mother Teresa is peace in the world.” These words effectively express the amplitude, the greatness, and the depth of service to life that this little woman has been able to express in faith in God and man, in every man. Today, on his white tomb in the house of Calcutta, pilgrims of all times and of every faith can read a verse of the Gospel of John: “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12).

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Before being a woman of action, Mother Teresa was a woman of prayer. This perhaps explains her intrepid strength in a life lived through the miseries and the sufferings of the world. She said of herself and of her sisters: “We are contemplative who live in the midst of the world. […] Our life must be a constant prayer” (R. Allegri,”Madre Teresa mi ha detto”, Ancora Editrice, Milano, 2010). Silence and prayer are even more necessary today to witness Christ with life and charity and to live our mission of men and women in an increasingly complex and difficult world.

In August 1946, she began to hear the “call within a call” as she herself defined it. It was the evening of September 10, while she was on the train going to the city of Darjeeling to do spiritual exercises: “That night I opened my eyes to suffering, and understood the essence of my vocation as its core […] I felt that the Lord was asking me to give up to the quiet life inside my religious community and go out into the streets to serve the poor. It was a command. It was not a suggestion or an invitation or a proposal […]”(R. Allegri, ibidem)). It was an inner calling, a voice in the silence of prayer that pushed her to open herself and serve the poorest of the poor. Mother Teresa has been able to cultivate and practice the evangelical gift of welcome. Welcoming, first of all, in your own time, in your heart, going to find out who was lonely and abandoned. Mother Teresa has made the Church in communion, cutting down every wall of indifference and hypocrisy.

In front of the many calves of so many men and women of our time, in front of the crosses of men of every race and religion, Mother Teresa has been able to contemplate the face of Christ as the measurement of all those who give life for love. With the power of love, this sister who was herself the incarnation of charity, has been able to do a great thing, a divine thing; she gave a name, a dignity to every cross. What does it mean to give a name to the cross?

Jesus in his fullness of Messiah was no longer a Jew, he was the man: “Here is the man.” The name on the cross is Man. Our cultural, ethnic, religious distinctions may be important, but when it comes to the cross, when we die, they no longer matter. This equality is important because Jesus has taken it on himself as an appointment: “And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” Mother Teresa has been attracted and attracted many to the cross of Jesus son of man, Savior of every man. That is why, just as Mother Teresa did, we must not ask for any religion defense policy, but we must strongly ask for the defense of man’s dignity.

There is an ecumenical and interreligious dialogue of charity, in which Mother Teresa believed a great deal: “There is only one God and He is God to all; therefore it is important that everyone is seen as equal before God. I’ve always said that we should help a Hindu become a better Hindu, a Muslim become a better Muslim, a Catholic become a better Catholic. We believe our work should be an example to the people. We have 475 souls around us; of these, only 30 families are Catholics. The rest are all Hindus, Muslims, Sikh … They are all of different religions, but they all come to our prayers. ” (Lucinda Yardey, Mother Teresa: A Simple Path, Ballantine Books, 1995)

As it is now known, Mother Teresa has also experienced the darkness of faith. In one of his posthumous letters, she wrote that she did not hear “the presence of God in either his heart or the Eucharist.” And she confided: “In my soul I experience just that terrible suffering of the absence of God, that God does not want me, that God is not God, that God does not really exist.”

In those years, Mother Teresa really offered herself to the mystery, once again with the supreme act of donation in love, which she describes with impressive words: “I have begun to love my darkness because I believe it is part of a very, very small part of Jesus’ darkness and pain on earth” (Franca Zambonini,” Madre Teresa: “La mistica degli ultimi”, Paoline, 2003, pp. 33-34)

Mother Teresa has also been able to love the darkness, just like Jesus, who won death with love.

In our blog, in the past we collected some witnesses of devotion to Mother Teresa from an Indian salesian and Indian believers and non-believers.

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Indians: Mother Teresa, truly a saint !

We are happy to receive and post some reflections about Mother Teresa received from India – Catholics, Hindus and non-believers. These once again confirm the love and highest esteem that Indians have for this woman who put at the center of her life the poorest of the poor.

“It is our great privilege to celebrate the canonisation ceremony of Mother Teresa”, states Fr. Jerin, who is from Kerala, a state where there is a strong Catholic presence. “She is more than a mere religious figure for Indians. Mother is pure and radical symbol of unconditional love, deep sense of compassion, strong faithfulness towards God and the real face of Christian Charity for Indian civilization.” Fr. Jerin, who studied in Rome a few years ago, continues: “Her canonisation is an honour to our own society, in which the democratic values have a deep roots. Mother Teresa Sisters are still promising figures and extraordinary Christian testimonies among other religious communities”.

According to the father, the whole India is awaiting for September 4, when the blessed Mother Teresa will be canonised in St. Peter by Pope Francis. Kolkata, which is the adopted hometown of Mother Teresa, is the powerhouse of celebrations, that take place all over Indian States. Various  delegations, including religious, political and regional representatives, will participate in the ceremony in Rome. The father explains that symposiums, film festivals, open air galleries, road shows, and many more initiatives have started to cherish each moments of this unforgettable event as a sincere tribute to Mother Teresa. Masses, prayer vigils, novenas, processions, relic veneration rallies, pilgrimages to Mother Teresa Centeres are the main attractions of spiritual preparations organized by Christian Communities.

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Among the Indian non-Christians, Mr. Shantanu, originally from North of India, is enthusiastic: “She is truly a Saint! Totally selfless and always in the service of those sufferers who are the most unfortunate and the most disadvantaged, marginalised and excluded of all.” He also feels that “Mother Teresa’s passionate engagement in this most humane of causes deserves every recognition – and the sainthood is indeed a fitting award consistent with her sacrifice (even if she did not consider it that way – at all!) which is another compelling reason for this accolade.”

According to Mrs. Vasundhara, a Hindu lady in her fifties, “Mother Teresa holds a special meaning for most Indians whether or not they belong to the Catholic religion. For the poor people of this part of the world she has always been a Saint – who left her home in Central Europe – far far away and came as an angel of hope.”  Mrs. Vasundhara continues by recalling what Mother Teresa did for the abandoned ones, providing caring for those who were rejected by their families and by Society – at large – excluded for no fault of theirs – other than their falling victims of disease. “She was brave and transcended fear of infection – in embracing them and accepting them and nursing them in her ‘home’, showing extreme magnanimity and generosity! She was loved and admired universally – by people of all religions, and of any caste or creed. A goddess incarnate!”.

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Around St. Peter square the day before the canonization cerimony

Another Hindu lady, Mrs Roy, had various opportunities to meet Mother Teresa and shared something from that experience with us. “Luckily, I have met her three times when I lived in Rome in the 80s and 90s. She was always so affectionate and blessed my little son each time. He has done very well in life – both academically and in career”. Mrs Roy believes that this encounter with Mother Teresa might have worked unconsciously in contributing to his decision to have worked for two months when he was in his twenties, with an NGO in Kolkata focused on the welfare of disadvantaged children. “A wonderful experience for a young person with desire to end misery for the unfortunate children” – she adds. “To me, Mother Teresa struck me as divine – no less. She had an aura around her which showed that she was indeed very special already, forty years ago. The sainthood she is receiving now is only a natural extension of the way she lived her life – for the benefit of humanity and in the service of mankind. Her contribution to the cause of the poor and the downtrodden is unsurpassed.”


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My brief encounters with Saint “Mother” Teresa

We are happy to post a beautiful and touching sharing of our dearest friend fr. Valerian, a Salesian Indian priest living in the State of Maharashtra, the the big city of Mumbai (Bombay) is located. He writes us on the occasion of the forthcoming and much waited for canonization of Mother Teresa of Kolkata, which will take place in St. Pietro next Sunday and will be presided by Pope Francis. this witness by Fr. Valerian ok one side makes us very grateful to him to have shared these direct experiences of knowing personally Mother Teresa, experiences that he keeps in his heart and as memories.  On the other side we cannot but feel some regret for not being able – many of us – to meet this little yet big saint of our times. Let us pray that Mother teresa be closer to us with het maternal love and her intercession. 

From India Fr. Valerian Pereira, sdb

Whoever said: to live with the saints in heaven is all honour and glory, but to live with the saints on earth is quite a different story, must be talking of pseudo-saints. Mother Teresa, who will be canonized by Pope Francis on 4th September 2016, to me was certainly no pseudo-saint, as a few biased critics make her out to be.

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My first personal contact with this frail looking nun was at the Mumbai airport in 1987. As I walked through security into the departure lounge, I saw a crowd of passengers standing in awe and gazing at a person who was seated quietly, all by herself. As I got closer to the scene, I recognized Mother Teresa in her blue-bordered white sari and her simple wooden-handle shopping bag. Something within impelled me to approach her. With a gentle smile and a welcome nod, she invited me to sit down by her side and as I did, I introduced myself as a priest and a Salesian of Don Bosco. Right from the start of our brief conversation, she came across to me as very motherly. I told her I was in Pune and requested her for more than an “autograph” – a message for my community of young seminarians. This is what she wrote: “Teach your seminarians to find joy in sacrifice.” I was reminded of Mama Margaret’s words to her newly ordained son, John Bosco: “Remember, to be a priest is to begin to suffer.” Over the years, I have understood that “joy in sacrifice” is the essence of motherhood, just as it is of all true parenting. I have experienced its wisdom and have felt its challenge in my own attempts at being a Salesian priest and pastor.

Her precious time permitting, Mother Teresa attended the annual meetings of the CRI (Conference of Religious India). What impressed me was that though she sat through the sessions, mostly quiet and without pretensions, her humble presence and lively interaction with members of the assembly during breaks had a formative influence on us all.

But my best memory of Mother Teresa was a spiritual retreat I was invited to animate for the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta back in 1990. The retreatants were superiors of the many Missionaries of Charity communities in East Africa and Asia and their foundress was to attend as well. Mother Teresa arrived at the airport late night on the eve of the retreat. She was received warmly by a small group of sisters, and was treated respectfully by the immigration and customs officials. However, there was one problem. The young novice from Poland who accompanied Mother Teresa was held up at the immigration desk since, at that time, communist Poland had no diplomatic relations with India. The Chief Immigration Officer could not be immediately contacted for special clearance. The officer on duty suggested that Mother Teresa could proceed to her convent. The Polish sister, they assured her, would be well cared for while she awaited clearance. Mother Teresa remained with the sister saying: “You have held back my daughter and I must stay with her.” The Chief Immigration Officer was finally contacted by 2 a.m. and an entry permit was granted to the young novice. What a motherly testimony of “joy in sacrifice”!

The next morning, despite a sleepless night, Mother Teresa was punctually present at 7 a.m. in the chapel, for the first meditation conference of the retreat. She devoutly participated in all the liturgical services and listened attentively to the talks while seated in the last row. Overwhelmed by her humble presence, I concluded each talk by sitting by her side and inviting her to share her own reflections on the topic. She did so, humbly and reverently. While I preached from the front, from a pedestal of theory, she preached from the back pew with words incarnated in life-giving acts of selfless motherly love for the poor, sick and abandoned.

Preaching in the presence of a saint whom I always held in high esteem, was a privilege albeit embarrassing. Therefore, when she approached me with childlike confidence for spiritual guidance that was followed by her confession, my nervousness knew no bounds: I just could not remember the formula of absolution! Instead, Mother Teresa was one penitent who converted me into a repentant confessor.

At the end of the retreat, she thanked me profusely and graciously gifted a rosary for my own mother. She even accepted my request to visit Don Bosco Boys Town in Nairobi the following day. Unfortunately, she could not make it as she had caught the flu.

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In a world terrorized and torn apart by forces of hate and destruction; in a society rife with crimes against the dignity of women the canonization of Mother Teresa on September 4 will stand out like a beacon of selfless motherly love. It will not only place her among the saints of the Catholic Church, but will inspire all people to recognize and respect God’s “motherly” countenance in the face of every woman who walks on our streets and lives in our homes.

May God’s Word, “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do unto me”, find concrete expression in our lives as it did in the life of the great Missionary of Charity, the “Motherly Saint Teresa”.


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Mary Magdalene and women: faithful disceples of Jesus

Fr. Francesco Pesce and Monica Romano

As expressly wished by Pope Francis, the Congregation for Divine Worship published a decree on 3rd June 2016, by which the celebration of Saint Mary Magdalene, which was obligatory memory, has been elevated to the level of a liturgical feast day. Archbishop Arthur Roche, Secretary of the Congregation, explained that the Pope took this decision during the Jubilee of Mercy “to emphasize the importance of this woman, who showed great love for Christ and was very dear to Christ”.

At the end of Jesus’s life, Mary of Magdala (or Magdalene) was with Mary and Saint John on Calvary, standing underneath the Cross (Jn 19.25). She never fled in fear as the disciples did, she never denied him like Peter did, but was present at all times, from the day of her conversion until she was under the Cross when Jesus died. She was the first person, that Easter morning, to whom the Lord appeared and called her by name. Continue reading