MOSAIC Fall 2016 - Page 7

Authentic Freedom, True Joy As I think back over my more than twenty-six years of teaching at Sacred Heart, I am struck by how often I and others have invoked her name in countless examples to illustrate something in moral theology. One example I am fond of goes something like this. Could we ever imagine St. Mother Teresa choosing to kick a sickly Hindu man rather than carry him across the road, like the Good Samaritan, to one of her homes or hospices? Students get a “kick” out of this example; indeed, they usually smile or chuckle when they hear it. They simply can’t picture someone of Mother Teresa’s saintly moral character willfully harming another human being, much less a sick and dying one. It’s not that she was no longer free to do so, but that she now had acquired what Christians consider true freedom: the freedom to choose and to do the good out of love for God and neighbor. Her will was harmonious with God’s will. That’s both authentic freedom and true joy. This is why saints are the most dependable (and happy!) people on earth. It’s literally in their character (not their DNA!) to be constant. her letter for Lent 1996, Blessed Teresa wrote to her lay co-workers: “We need this deep connection with God in our daily life. How can we obtain it? By prayer.” Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love), no. 36 St. Mother Teresa’s words were always simple but never simplistic. They weren’t trite pious phrases. She didn’t “do” throwaway lines. Rather, she did what all saints do in speech and action: she stripped away the pretense to focus on the essential—Jesus—especially his face as found in the least of his brothers and sisters. “She wasn’t in love with poverty, as one well known critic of her had it, but with the poor.” No Pretense Another virtue was of course her piety. A common image of her is with hands clasped together in deep prayer. A rosary was a constant companion. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s words from 2005 illuminate the relationship between piety, prayer, and anti-poverty work, particularly in Mother Teresa’s own life: People who pray are not wasting their time, even though the situation appears desperate and seems to call for action alone. Piety does not undermine the struggle against the poverty of our neighbors, however extreme. In the example of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta we have a clear illustration of the fact that time devoted to God in prayer not only does not detract from effective and loving service to our neighbor but is in fact the inexhaustible source of that service. In Saint of Social Teaching St. Mother Teresa was a living embodiment of Catholic social teaching (CST). If CST is what comes to be out of the encounter of the [Y\YH]HYY›وH\X[\[YKH\]\XX][ۙ\HY[H[\HوH[X[[HH\Y [\\\H\^YYY]\\Y\Έ[Z[]H[\X X[Hو\[BY[ۙHZH\[ ][8&\ܙ\8'[[[[x'B]]\Z\[[ܘ[[\\˜[[Y[\[YY¸'HXZBX[YHXZ[ݙ\HXZ˂H]HXYH[[[ ]H]X\YK[\H™܈HZHوH[ ]HX^H]HH\B[]8'H H܈NLK[\ۘ\܈H[Z[H[[\\H܈HXZ\[[ۙ\[Y[H[ܛ \\HY\]]XX[XX[[ZN]\ [\HYH8'X[\XK'B[\ܙ[YYH[Z[Y\]\X[\]H[HX]ݙK[\H8'\]K8'H[\ۛB\H[] [Y ]8&\\[Hٝ[YYY K\X[X[X[ۈ[&]H[X\[H[[K]X܈\X]Xܘ]Xܘ[\ˈ][HX]ۙH[[[HݙHو\B܈[H[[ [[YXHܛHH[ܙ[]\\]\\ H[&][][]KYZ[Y[\\\B[Z[\\[\][ێݙx%\]\%[[^\ݙHX\\K][[H[\Y]K\H\›ܙ\[وH]H\]][[[Z[]HHYY܈H\XHوݙK HYYH]HXY[]\[۝]\][]B]HX [Xܙ[H]B[\HوXYX\]K[\\HXۛY\[\ܝ[]X]]\\\[HHY\[X[ܘ\[X[\۝[Z]H][\H[YY H\\ۙHوH][ܘ\ΈH\[]H]HݙH[[YBH\]و\ [H[ HZ[H]\X[X\\[XZHܚو\]B\\[\X\HX]\X[\ۘ\[ۈوX[HZ\Z[[ۈ]X[[]H8&HXY[ۙx&H ] ًx%H۝X[ۈ][YX[X[[[[X][H\ܙY\[]\XYX[H[X['H ˈ BY[Y[[ܚBH[Y[X\[B^HHX\H]ق[\\\x&\X]ۈ\[X\ KNNMˈ^H ^YX\[]\Z[[][\]^H[^XYH[H^\]\][H[قZYY[^\\B[ܘ[[\]X[X[[^HYHYYY [[[HYX\]\[]\HYXXۈB[\[^\HX[H[Y[ܙŠY[[\X[KY[Y[[ܚN'[Y[X\][H]HYK'B \\H]Y\YHHBX]X]\HHY\]BHHYN[\\\ˈ]8&\][Z[˂'\H\›ܙ\[وB]H\]][[[Z[]HBYY܈H\XBوݙK'BX\]ݚX\ٙ\܈و[ܘ[[B]XܙYX\ \˙YBB