Today starts of a yearlong centenary celebration marking the life of Blessed Teresa -- Mother Teresa -- born a hundred years ago .
Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Albania, the "Saint of the Gutters" received the Nobel Peace Prize. Her words in Oslow, Norway in 1979 express her passion for Christ and the poor,
“Today there is so much suffering - and I feel that the passion of Christ is being relived all over again - are we there to share that passion, to share that suffering of people?
Around the world, not only in the poor countries, but I found the poverty of the West so much more difficult to remove. When I pick up a person from the street, hungry, I give him a plate of rice, a piece of bread, I have satisfied. I have removed that hunger. But a person that is shut out, that feels unwanted, unloved, terrified, the person that has been thrown out from society - that poverty is so hurtable and so much, and I find that very difficult....
You must come to know the poor, maybe our people here have material things, everything, but I think that if we all look into our own homes, how difficult we find it sometimes to smile at each, other, and that the smile is the beginning of love. And so let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love, and once we begin to love each other naturally we want to do something....
This is something that you and I - it is a gift of God to us to be able to share our love with others. And let it be as it was for Jesus. Let us love one another as he loved us. Let us love Him with undivided love. And the joy of loving Him and each other - let us give now... Let us keep that joy of loving Jesus in our hearts. And share that joy with all that we come in touch with. And that radiating joy is real, for we have no reason not to be happy because we have Christ with us. Christ in our hearts, Christ in the poor that we meet, Christ in the smile that we give and the smile that we receive. Let us make that one point: That no child will be unwanted, and also that we meet each other always with a smile, especially when it is difficult to smile.”
And so we humbly pray,
who called blessed Teresa, virgin
to respond to the love of your Son thirsting on the cross
with outstanding charity to the poorest of the poor,
grant us, we beseech you, by her intercession,
to minister to Christ in his suffering brothers.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,