A good story has a wonderful way of touching our hearts. From childhood on, we love to hear them. Over the years, I have told stories in my books and lectures. Often, they were my stories—those of my family or a personal experience that touched my heart.
When I was younger, it bothered me when Jesus addressed his Mother as “Woman” in the Gospels. This was long before I had grown into my own womanhood, or knew what it meant to be a woman. Now I hear that word in a new light.
“Woman,” he calls her. Archetypal, she is not just one woman among many, but the Woman, just as Eve was “woman” at creation. In her very being, Mary embodies all of womanhood’s beauty, goodness, and grace. She is as woman was created to be. She first embarked on the journey of walking with the Savior so the rest of us might follow.
Since his inaugural Mass in March 2013, Pope Francis has frequently reminded a global audience that care for creation is among his highest priorities. In June 2015, he released his long-awaited encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’ (Praise Be to You), addressing it to “every person living on this planet.”
Mother Teresa was a friend of silence. As author Kerry Weber writes, "The reason silence was so important to her is because it offers us the opportunity to begin shedding false understandings of ourselves and the world. It clears a space for the recognition that converts. Silence and prayer become the wombs in which we’re reborn. They 'enlarge the heart until it is capable of containing God’s gift of himself.'"
The following words are from Mother Teresa herself.
Image: Pope Francis greets Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley of Boston during a meeting with U.S. bishops at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington Sept. 23. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)Today he is one of Pope Francis’ closest advisers. He is considered to be the Church’s biggest authority on the protection of children, and is cardinal archbishop of the third largest archdiocese in the United States.
But he never set out to be any of these things.
Walk the talk. Show, don’t tell. Values are caught, not taught—all variations of one theme: A good example is essential for good parenting.
No doubt, if you don’t strive to live what you give, who knows what you’ll get? Like heat-seeking missiles, kids lock in on inconsistencies and double standards. Rare is the parent who has never been accosted with, “Why do I have to if you don’t?” or, “You tell me to show you respect, but you don’t show it to me,” or, “Maybe you should look at yourself.” Owww.
In the ninth chapter of Luke's Gospel, Jesus foretells his suffering and death (9:22), and then warns all who would be followers about the cost of discipleship--"If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (9:23). Then he describes what it means to follow him.
Image: Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk. Mass in Westminster Cathedral in honour of Mary Ward and the 400th Jubilee of the foundation of the Congregation of Jesus and the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Loreto Sisters).
Most of us know the story’s basics: Mother Teresa, born Gonxha Agnes Bojaxhiu, grew up in what is now Macedonia and joined the Sisters of Loreto in Ireland when she was eighteen and prepared to become a missionary.
She arrived in India about three months later and served as a schoolteacher until just before her 36th birthday when she heard what she termed a “call within a call” that two years later would result in the founding of the Missionaries of the Charity Sisters, an order ministering to the poorest of the poor, initially in the slums of Calcutta. Their work was humble, simple, one on one.