Friday, December 16, 2011

Mother Teresa Had a Lot to Say!

When I was designing the MORE LOVE t-shirts I knew that I wanted to have a really eye-catching design.  Something simple, but meaningful.  So I started researching quotes.  (I love quotes.  It comes from my days as a competitive public speaking kid in high school and college.)  Quotes on adoption, quotes on children, quotes on orphans, quotes on poverty.  And then one day after probably 6 different t-shirt designs had been created and rejected, there it was--THE quote, THE design.  And it came from none other than my favorite saint, Mother Teresa:
"I have found the paradox that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love."
It just jumped off the page at me.  It spoke to my heart, as the life of Mother Teresa has spoken to me so many times. 

I am Catholic, sort of.  I was born into a Catholic family.  I was "christened" as an infant, went to CCD classes, and went through first communion.  That was when I was about 7 years old.  I pretty much haven't been back to a Catholic church on a regular basis since then for lots of different reasons.  But I've always thought of myself as Catholic and I've always admired nuns.  

Nuns are a puzzling character in modern society.  They are selfless, giving, and devout. They don't get married, they don't have families, they live in poverty on purpose. They are the antithesis of the American Dream.  And they dress funny.  But nuns are, in my opinion, some of the most unsung heroes of our times and Mother Teresa has got be in the Top Ten List of All Time Best Nuns.

Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in 1910. She died in 1997 at the age of 87.  She left home at the age of 18 to start her work as a missionary and then shortly after became a nun. She is most famous for her work in India with the poor, orphaned, and dying.  She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.  Even now, in her death, she's kicking butt and has already been beatified by Pope John Paul II, which puts her on the fast track to sainthood. 

Throughout her life of amazingly good works she was also talking up a storm, which made for some very good quotes.  Mother Teresa had a lot to say:

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.

The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.

One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody.

Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.

Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.

Even the rich are hungry for love, for being cared for, for being wanted, for having someone to call their own.

I try to give to the poor people for love what the rich could get for money. No, I wouldn't touch a leper for a thousand pounds; yet I willingly cure him for the love of God.

I want you to be concerned about your next door neighbor. Do you know your next door neighbor?

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.

If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one.

If you want a love message to be heard, it has got to be sent out. To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.

Intense love does not measure, it just gives.

Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.

Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.

Let us more and more insist on raising funds of love, of kindness, of understanding, of peace. Money will come if we seek first the Kingdom of God - the rest will be given.

Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go.

Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.

Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.

Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do... but how much love we put in that action.

Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand.

See, this woman could talk your ear off!  All simple, but all so full of wisdom.  And so full of love.

More LOVE. 

Some days it is hard to keep all the junk in perspective.  I imagine even Mother Teresa had days when she really didn't want to put on the habit, walk to work, and hang out with the lepers.  But she did it anyway.  Everyday.  

Some days I don't want to love my neighbor, or my co-worker, or my husband, or my kids.  But seriously, when I put on my MORE LOVE t-shirt and think about Mother Teresa and about my girls waiting to come home (whoever they turn out to be), I can't help but have a slight attitude adjustment.  It's just what I gotta do.  I gotta love until it hurts so that my girls and all the other babies out there in the world waiting for a family don't have to hurt anymore.    

It's all about MORE LOVE.

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