Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mother Teresa - a Model of Love and Truth

Here are the class notes for September 9, 2010 --

Our theme for Cinema Catechism for Fall 2010 is "Love and Truth."

Love and Truth are the two pillars upon which the entirety of the faith can be understood. We are a faith that seeks understanding, both for ourselves and to better explain it to non-believers, and Love and Truth really are the answer to every question –

Why the Cross? Love and Truth
Why or How the Trinity? Love and Truth
Why the Immaculate Conception? Love and Truth

And when it comes to explaining Church moral teachings –

Why the teaching on contraception? Love and Truth
Why the Ten Commandments? Love and Truth

It is not surprising that Love and Truth should be the answer to every question because God is Love and God is Truth. (CCC 214-221)

If that is the truth of God, what is the truth of man?

The truth of man is that he is made male and female. And what does this truth of the human person tell us, as further revealed in scripture? Why do we exist, why are we here, what is the meaning of life?

We are social beings, made for relationship. The meaning and purpose of life is to love and be loved in truth. (CCC 355-84) Not merely as a matter of gratuitous charity, but as a matter of truth and justice, recognizing others as being children of God.

We are also called to “be perfect.” God is perfect complete Love and Truth. And so we are called to love as God loves, as Jesus loves us.

What is this Love of God? Not only philia, the brotherly, fraternal, friendship kind of love, but –
  • Agape – the subordinate, sacrificial, total gift of self, unmerited and unconditional (See, Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est)
  • Purified Eros – love naturally seeks an “other,” this is the thirsting kind of love, a joyous, passionate, ascending, intimate kind of love, longing to be with the other (Id.)
  • “Spousal” type of love – examples are husband and wife, God and Israel, Jesus and the Church; this is a love that is both (a) unifying, communion, and (b) fruitful, creative. Love bears fruit. There is a spousal meaning in the human body, so we are all called to this type of love, a loving communion of persons, one in the Lord. (See, Pope John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio, Letter to Families, Wednesday Audiences on the Theology of the Body)
We all need love, all of us. Most especially those who have nothing else. To be without love is the worst possible thing. To separate yourself entirely from love, that is, to separate yourself from God, is called Hell. To not know love or to lose love here in this world is to catch a glimpse of Hell.

This was the calling of Mother Teresa, to love. She was and is a model of Love and Truth. Born Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxhiu to Albanian parents, upon entering the Sisters of Loreto, she took the name Teresa after St. Thérèse of Lisieux. She was sent to India, where she taught for many years. But she was called to something else.

On September 10, 1946, while on a trip to a retreat, she received a “calling within a calling.” The Lord called her to serve the poorest of the poor.

Mother Teresa often said that the worst kind of poverty is to be unloved and unwanted. (cf. Caritas in Veritate 53) Often that includes the material poor, who are marginalized and ignored, but it also includes the dying, the disabled, and even people of material means.

This vocation of loving the unloved included, in a special way, Truth -- being able to truly see, to see as God sees, to see the face of Jesus in others. In loving others, she loved Him, her spouse. (Homily of Pope John Paul II, Beatification Mass for Mother Teresa)

And in bringing the love of Jesus to the poor, she brought hope to those who had none and, for not a few, this led to faith, to them knowing Jesus in the heart.

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