“Give shelter to the homeless–not only shelter made of bricks but a heart that understands, that covers, that loves.” –Mother Teresa
This quote, from Mother Teresa, illustrates just one of her principles. Mother Teresa inspires me to give more to others for several reasons and has always been a personal hero to me. I received a free copy of this book as part of the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review here. Reading “A Call to Mercy,” we learn, in simple language, the inspirational story of how one woman unselfishly decided to help the suffering people around the world. How does it inspire me personally?
5 Ways “A Call to Mercy” Inspires me to Give More
Mother Teresa calls on us to “Be an angel of comfort to the sick” while also allowing yourself to “accept what he gives–give what He takes–with a big smile.” She prayed that she may “seek rather to comfort than to be comforted; to understand than to be understood; to love than to be loved,” and with these qualities, we can find ourselves by forgetting ourselves and giving to others first. So, how can we give more?
1. Feed the Hungry
Mother Teresa saw so much hunger as she traveled the world. So may children dying from hunger and mothers who painfully watched as their hungry children died. In her words, “we do not know how it is to feel pain because of hunger,” but she gave selflessly and encouraged others to do the same. She asks not for money, but to “give of your sacrifice.” Finally, Mother Teresa saw not just hunger for food, but for love. Mother Teresa reminds us that “there are people who have forgotten what is a human smile” and “what is a human touch” and these people have the greatest need of all, as we all have a desire to feel wanted. If you can give nothing else, at I learned through reading this book that you can at least give your love.
2. Give Drink to the Thirsty
As A Call to Mercy says, Mother Teresa not only supplied drinking water to places where shortages existed. She recognized that many people had a thirst “for kindness, for compassion, for delicate love” and sought to help meet these needs as well. As human beings, we can at least offer a cup of water or an ounce of kindness to our fellow man. After all, Mother Teresa prayed the following prayer:
“With your help, Mother Mary, I will listen to Jesus’s thirst and it will be for me a word of life. Standing near you, I will give Him my love, and I will give him Him the chance to love me and so be the cause of your joy. As so I will satiate the thirst of Jesus. Amen.”
3. Clothe the Naked
Those living out on the street not only suffer from homelessness, hunger, and thirst, but from lack of clothing and warmth. More than this, as a classic quality of Mother Teresa, she was able to notice that those living without a change of clothes often lack dignity and respect from others. We are asked to question if we look down on people who have dirty, tattered clothing or act condescendingly toward them? What can we do instead? The lesson from this book is that we should not only help clothe those who live without, but we should treat them with dignity and compassion.
4. Shelter the Homeless
Mother Teresa noticed that even in developed countries, the plight of the homelessness was ever-present. She saw people in London, Rome, and New York who slept on the streets, in the parks, and lived in isolation from others. And yet, we know this to be true when we search in our hearts, that the homeless also lack a place in another person’s heart and often feel rejected and alone. What can we do rather than just cross the street when we see a homeless person? It is not possible for one person alone to provide housing for all the homeless in the world, but we can show kindness and compassion. Instead of ignoring them, we can smile at them and greet them as we would any other human being. Hospitality lives in our hearts, not in a house.
5. Visit the Sick and Imprisoned
Mother Teresa had a penchant for reaching our to the chronically ill, the dying, and even the imprisoned, and she did so without judgment. She wanted all sick people to receive both proper medical attention and love. Mother Teresa herself suffered from chronic headaches and physical suffering, but this led her to have more kindness and compassion toward those who suffered. She asks us to “be an angel of comfort to the sick.”
She also went to those in prison and even appealed for the life a man on death row, stating that “he is, too, a child of God created for greater things, to love and to be loved” and it was not uncommon for her to have hope for even those who murdered others. The message is that we should have hope and compassion even for those who have made tremendous mistakes, as even God forgives the sins of man.
A Saint with So Much to Give
Even in her last year of life, while confined to the Mother House, she accepted visitors with a smile, warmth, and compassion. She had time for each person that came to see her. Further, she placed no more importance on those who had many than those who had the least. In fact, she showed ultimate love for every soul she encountered.
Mother Teresa’s Daily Prayer
Each day, Mother Teresa prayed this prayer, which is what I will leave you with:
Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O Good Jesus, hear me.
Within Thy wounds hide me.
Suffer me not to be separated from Thee.
From the malicious enemy, defend me.
In the hour of my death, call me
and bid me come unto Thee,
that with Thy Saints, I may praise Thee
For ever and ever.
For more information about A Call to Mercy, please visit Penguin Random House Publishing.
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