Mother Teresa proved by her actions—through her love for the poor, sick, and dying—that love conquers all. In this way she is taking what Jesus did and proclaimed in the Gospel and conforming her life to it. The Gospel is simple. Christianity is simple. But most people would be quick to admit that the majority of those who stand under the umbrella of Christianity are not very much Christ-like in the things that they say and do.
In Profound Simplicity
In her book No Greater Love, Mother Teresa expounds on a litany of truths essential for the Christian life. And just as her lifestyle—in accordance with the Gospel—was of extreme simplicity, everything she said or did had a sense of deep profundity. It is not a theological treatise or doctrinal exposition, but rather the simple truths of the Gospel in plain english. Her thoughts are conveyed in concise sentences with words even children can understand, reminding me of Christ’s teaching that we must become like children—humble, simple, awe-filled, non-judgemental, and loving—if we are to enter the Kingdom.
She explains that she is only able to do the work that she does through the grace of God that she receives through intimate union with Him in prayer, specifically contemplation.
“This is what we have to learn right from the beginning: to listen to the voice of God in our heart, and then in the silence of the heart God speaks.”
~ St. Teresa of Calcutta
She also explains that we are unable to love as God loves if we don’t first receive His love. It is He who loves through us. By giving of ourselves we love as God loves. She shares from many personal experiences that shed light on the witness to Christ that she and her Missionaries of Charity gave in lavishing their loving care on the poor.
Testifying to the Truth
It is this lived Christian witness that gives credit to her exhortations. I will never forget the speech Mother Teresa delivered dwarfed behind the towering podium of the 1994 White House Prayer Breakfast. Her soft voice cut deep into the hearts of those in attendance, keeping them all mesmerized, hanging on her every word, culminating in a grand applause and standing ovation. She was well received not because she was a great public speaker or powerful person, but because what she spoke was truth and she lived it. Unlike the politicians gathered around her whose words are so often filled with false promises, what she said she meant and her life proved it.
I recommend No Greater Love to any Christian young or old, Catholic or not and I believe it would be a great introduction to the faith for new Christians and young children and teens who are exploring their faith. I say this because often times as Catholics we can become bogged down by the complexities of our beliefs and, although these things are also important, we forget about the core, fundamentals of our faith which in the end are the love of God and neighbor—something Teresa can definitely attest to. Hence the title, which reminds us of Christ’s commandment.
“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
In the book she explains that Jesus came into the world for the sole purpose of showing us how much God loves us, which in essence means that we too are called to show His love to the world. By her words and through her actions it’s no wonder she has become St. Teresa of Calcutta.
You can find “No Greater Love” in paperback and for Kindle on Amazon.com