Those who came into contact with Blessed Mother Teresa will confirm how touched and delighted they were to experience her spirituality, humanism and humility.
She was known as the ‘Saint of the Gutters.’
While some people found it difficult to accept her as an earthly figure, there is no doubt that all of us were attracted to her enduring charisma like a magnet.
Mother Teresa was blessed with the gift of the Divine to touch all classes of people deep in their hearts even if some may have distanced themselves from her work of compassion and charity.
It is difficult to describe what Mother meant to everyone who was touched by her.
She left a unique impact on each individual.
Serving the poor
Like every great person, she had her fair share of critics but even they saw her as a human being of depth and compassion, committed in love to the poorest of the poor.
Blessed Mother’s compassion, love, service and leadership touched world leaders, intellectuals, illiterates, industrialists, professors, children and people from all walks of life all around the world.
She embraced people of all faiths, including Hindus, Muslims, Zoroastrians, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists as well as those who did not believe in God.
Her message to every human being, irrespective of their faith was, “Love everyone and then there will be peace.”
In Mother Teresa’s words, “Intense love does not measure, it just gives.”
She took this message of love to every nook and corner of this large world.
Though she lived a major part of her life in India, she was in fact known as the ‘Citizen of the Global World,’ as she belonged to every nation and every generation in need of love and compassion.
Courage of conviction
Mother Teresa is well known for her conviction and courage to speak the truth irrespective of the audience and any possible consequences.
People understand that she spoke with her love of God and this love manifested through her actions. She was admired and respected for her courage to stand out and speak for the poor all over the world.
Former Governor of West Bengal Gopalkrishna Gandhi said that the late Mother Teresa of Calcutta (Kolkata) brought solace and comfort to the suffering people, impoverished children and the dying, but largely men and women of the world are yet to realise the need to spread love and peace that were enshrined in her life and works.
Those words were implied in the message contained in a highly intellectual speech that he delivered at the Annual Mother Teresa Interfaith Meeting held on November 18, 2012.
Reflecting the modesty of Mother Teresa, Mr Gandhi never mentioned who he really is – grandson of two of the greatest leaders that India who made the country great – Mahatma Gandhi and C Rajagopalachari, the first Governor-General of Independent India. He was so self-effacing that we had to constantly remind ourselves of the presence of a man of eminence, erudition and of course international acclaim.
As if he was on a face-to-face conversation with Mother Teresa, who he had met several times in his various capacities in the central and state governments, Mr Gandhi expressed his gratitude to the great soul that moved people at high and low places with her care for people.
He said, “You found the moment of the truth that you were in darkness and that darkness was all you had; and that when the something you have is all that you have, you have to do something with it.”
Analysts and philosophers would say that his speech was one of self-impeachment, of the inadequacy in all of us and of the enormity of problems that humankind faces and the poverty of our own contributions in solving them.
Envy of light
Addressing Mother Teresa as ‘Ma,’ Mr Gandhi said, “You made darkness level with light, you made it as high, as low, as bright, as dim as light. You made darkness share the same space as light. You made darkness the envy of light.
“Ma, you made waters thirst for the thirsty, food hunger for the hungry, the rich go-abegging to beggars. You made the rich feel criminal in their wealth, communists feel chastened in their little red books, socialists feel sentimental, priests feel hypocritical, models look not so lovely, and sportsmen feel their muscles go suddenly slack before your electricity.”
It is befitting that our Super City of Auckland and indeed our Great Nation pays homage each year to this noble soul.
Mother Teresa wanted to make this world a better place for everyone.
On behalf of the Mother Teresa Interfaith Committee, I cordially invite people of all faiths and communities to come together as one family to promote Love, Peace and Service in the name of Mother Teresa.
Interfaith Meetings are important because in our ever-changing world of conflicts and strife, there is a need to come together, regardless of our backgrounds to give thanks to the Almighty and to seek Divine help to live in harmony and peace.
Interfaith meetings are for everyone, irrespective of religious compulsions to come together and be a part of this gathering.
It is a congregation of people to respect all religions and belief systems and exclude none.
Auckland is paying a great tribute to Mother Teresa by coming together in the spirit of love, peace and harmony.
This year’s Mother Teresa Interfaith Meeting will be held at the Catholic Church of Christ the King in Mt Roskill on Saturday, November 22, 2014.
Ethnic Communities Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-liga is the Guest Speaker at this year’s Mother Teresa Interfaith Meeting. India’s High Commissioner to New Zealand Ravi Thapar will light the traditional Lamp and the function is being hosted by Catholic Bishop of Auckland, Most Rev Patrick Dunn. Mother Teresa sisters in Auckland will be taking part in this very special event. There will be songs, skit, bhajans and hymns along with representatives of various faiths taking part in the event.
The Function is open to all. Let us come together to keep Mother Teresa’s memory alive and follow her path to make this world a peaceful and joyful place for everyone.