08/31/2016, 11.59
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Saint Mother Teresa, pray for us

by Bernardo Cervellera

On the eve of the canonization and the AsiaNews symposium on Mother Teresa of Calcutta, learning from her message and experience. She overcomes the "globalization of indifference"; her work has redefined poverty: poverty is not just material, but also human, lives devoid of love. The memory of Princess Diana. Her "haste" to respond to the poor. Her work as a response to the love of Jesus Christ. Mother Teresa is the icon of mission in the twenty-first century and the example of how to be Church after Vatican II: She united contemplation of Christ, and action in the world, tradition and development. The program of our International Symposium.

Rome (AsiaNews) - Mother Teresa, the saint of the poorest of the poor of Calcutta, the abandoned and the unloved of east and west will be canonized by Pope Francis on September 4. To celebrate this event, AsiaNews has scheduled for September 2 an international symposium with the presence of Sr Mary Prema, the current superior general of the Missionaries of Charity, Fr. Brian Kolodiejchuk, postulator of the Mother's cause, along with personalities from various parts of the world, showing the impact of her life on the life of nations, especially China and the Islamic world.

Moreover, "to canonize" means to indicate a canon, model, a measure. Mother Teresa is to be proclaimed a saint not for herself, she was already considered a saint during his lifetime, but for us, so that we may absorb the wealth of her message and experience. We Christians in first place, but also the entire world.

Our age, that is marked by a "globalization of indifference", can learn a lot from this humble and petite nun who was, nonetheless, full of energy and above all ready to tackle situations that we would gladly allow slip to the periphery of our lives. There is no situation that Mother Teresa did not welcome and help: the dying, starving, abandoned children, single mothers, lepers, the poor, AIDS patients, alcoholics, rich people with a meaningless life. Through her poverty was redefined: Her compassion was not just aroused by material and economic poverty, but also by the poverty of emptiness, lives devoid of love, selfishness. It would suffice to recall here all the love that Mother Teresa had for Princess Diana Spencer, whom she called "the unhappy Diana".

The only difference between the two forms of poverty is that the poverty of the poor is more evident, more confessed, in supplication. The poverty of the rich is often masked, veiled by our consumerism, health, hidden to ourselves so as not to not cry out our fragility and need for love.

Mother Teresa responded "with haste" to the needs of those she encountered. She always told her sisters that the poor can not wait until tomorrow for an answer, because it can be too late. We, who often live a "virtual" life, amid the confusion of posts, videos, dreams in which we imagine we are close to people, this "haste" pushes us to be concrete and respond. It demands humility. Very often, we respond to the needs of those we meet with our analysis, projects, studies, weighing pros and cons, looking for the perfect and definitive solution while people who are asking for our help are drowning in their poverty. Even speaking to the directors of Caritas International, this great Catholic multinational institution that operates so well, she said: "Come and touch the poor", do not be content to study them or to create projects for them, which may be good and effective but keep you distant from them, because above and beyond the immediate needs of the poor is their need to be loved by someone.

The poor are also peoples marked by tragedies, natural disasters and wars. In the name of these poor the minute woman tried to stop the siege of West Beirut in 1982; the Gulf War in 1990-91; to push for aid to the flood victims of Andhra Pradesh in the 1970s; to stop the scourge of abortion asking women not to kill their child but to give them to her, asking states to build peace in the world starting with the defense of the right to life.

God knows how much need there still is in the world for people like Mother Teresa - in Africa, the Middle East, but also in our jaded West - where the powerful continue to play with the people crushed by blind policies, wars, where we are increasingly dominated by a kind of megalomania, without any respect even for the elderly, women and children.


In taking Mother Teresa as a "canon", copying her zeal without entering into the depths of her heart is impossible. In this context, it is worthwhile to take note of two aspects of her witness. The first is personal responsibility. When faced with the problems of society and the world it is far easier to blame one or the other, ask for the commitment of one or another institution, to be superficially scandalized or remain in blissful indifference. Mother Teresa would always advise people: We should ask ourselves: What can I do? The world will only change if something changes in me and in you.

The other element is love of Jesus Christ the Savior. Mother Teresa began and fulfilled her mission as a direct response to his asking her to "bring him" to the dark and empty places of those many who do not know Him.

The hours she spent in contemplation and prayer before the consecrated Bread pushed her to bring the physical bread and the presence of Jesus to the people she met. This familiarity with the Body of Christ allowed her to recognize her Lord in the flesh of the poor, it made her able to treat them as brothers and sisters.

Only then, is Mother Teresa - as Pope John Paul II said - "the icon of the twenty-first century mission", bringing Christ to the world not out of the need for a religious colonization, and where you help the poor without the risk of being reduced to being just an NGO operator.

From this point of view, the Mother is also the full image of the mission and the Church after Vatican II. Still today, two interpretations of the Council are at loggerheads: A vision based on"identity", which wants to save the tradition moving away from the world, and a more "progressive" vision, which mixes with the world often forgetting its mandate.

Mother Teresa is the perfect example of an active faith and a love for Christ that is poured on the world. For this she was loved by all the popes: Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, Francis.

Bernardo Cervellera


The International Symposium for AsiaNews in 2016, will have as its theme:

"Mother Teresa, Mercy for Asia and t3-7 pm in the John Paul II Hall at the Pontifical Urban University, Via Urbano VIII, 16 - 00165 Rome

The following will be present:


Sr. Mary Prema, superior general of the Missionaries of Charity

Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, postulator of Mother Teresa's cause

Card. Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai

Card. Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation of Propaganda Fide

Fr John A. Worthley, the influence of Mother Teresa in China

Faisal Edhi (Pakistan) on the influence of Mother Teresa in the Islamic world.

Fr Ferruccio Brambillasca, superior general of PIME

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