Today, Agnes Skopje (Mother Teresa) of Calcutta becomes beatified as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.
(Tim): when I was 19, I went to go visit Mother Teresa in Calcutta, India. I had read up on her and admired her from afar, and I wanted to “see how it was done”: to visit and know real suffering, and to know how to address it, in the name of Christ. No one had the reputation of doing this better than Mother Teresa. So I went.
What I encountered was astonishing. For all the public figures who don’t measure up to their profile, I was prepared to be disappointed/ disillusioned. Instead, I found that her reputation was, if anything, undersold. Here was a woman who truly sought to serve, to be the “last” as opposed to the “first”, who saw Jesus in the face of the overlooked. I could give a dozen illustrations, but the point is that this was a woman who more than lived her example. Though she had areas where she came short (like us all, and especially like myself), she handled those shortcomings admirably and with great love.
Overall, she was a person who sought to do things with great love for those who get overlooked, because that’s what she knew of Christ. Fittingly, she has received (and continues to receive) ridicule as a fanatic, a fundamentalist, an impractical fool who risked her life meaninglessly. Because that’s how Christ Himself was treated, perhaps there’s no greater compliment.
There’s no doubt about it: she was a hero. Hopefully, this family finds something of her glimmer in the way we live, love, and serve our neighborhood.