Blessed Teresa inspires us to live the Beatitudes Print
Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015 -- 12:00 AM

One of my favorite books is Blessed Are You: Mother Teresa and the Beatitudes, by Eileen Egan and Kathleen Egan, OSB (1992). When Pope Francis announced that Blessed Teresa would be canonized in 2016, I took the book out again.

Each chapter of the book offers a short meditation on one of the Beatitudes, Blessed Teresa’s own reflections on that Beatitude, and how she and her order – the Missionaries of Charity — lived that Beatitude.

Inspiring witness

In their introduction, the authors say, “Mother Teresa, a humble follower of Jesus, serves as in inspiring witness in daily living the Beatitudes. . . . Her life, her words, and her experiences help us to have a vision of the hope and joy implicit in the promises of the Beatitudes, even when we are called to suffer.”

Blessed Teresa “puts flesh on all the Beatitudes,” the authors say. But she personifies in a special way the Beatitude, “Blessed are the merciful.” This seems especially appropriate as we begin the Church’s Year of Mercy.

Hungering for mercy

In Blessed Teresa, they point out, we see the “very incarnation of mercy, a quality hungered for in an age of the merciless of wars and the build-up of weapons of mass destruction that threaten the human family. The same mercy that overcomes all the barriers of race, creed, or nation is possible to each of us. We can be moved to make it a part of our lives by remembering those who cry out for our help.”

Blessed Teresa responded to the cry of those who needed help. But she said it began with her response to one person, “If I had not picked up that first person dying on the street, I would not have picked up the thousands later on.”

As the Beatitude says, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” It is in showing mercy that we will receive mercy.

How we will be judged

Blessed Teresa said that “at the hour of death we are going to be judged on what we have been and what we have done. He (Jesus) makes Himself the hungry one, the naked one, the homeless one, the sick one, the lonely one, the unwanted one, the rejected one.”

She said that God “gives us the opportunity to do to others what we would like to do to Him, to put our love for Him in a living action.”

Blessed Teresa lived the Beatitudes and gave us a model of how we, too, can live them. We may not do it on as large a scale as she did, but as she said, it begins with one person.

Let’s make it a New Year’s resolution to live the Beatitudes by showing mercy and helping those in need around us.