Over the past two weeks, I taught the parents of our Family Formation Religious Education program at the parish. At our parish, when a child or children attend their bi-weekly religious education class, one of their parents has to also attend a session, where we (Fr. Will and I) instruct the parents on different topics in the faith. In the past, we have had a variety of speakers come in to speak to the parents, but now it will primarily be Fr. Will and I, with a few exceptions from time to time.
For the first two weeks (a total of four nights, 2 talks per night, the same talk 8 times), I focused on the Communion of Saints. Since this semester is all about the saints (super heroes) and next semester the virtues (super powers), we thought it would be good to give the parents an overall understanding of the Communion of Saints and an understanding of who and what the saints are to the Catholic Church. I expelled some of the false notions I imagine some of them had or had been given to them by non-Catholics.
So you might be asking yourself at this point – why he is sharing all of this with us? Well, the reason is because one thing that the saints had during their time here on earth was faith and holiness. I shared with the parents that faith and holiness could get us through even the darkest times in our life, even when we struggle to see the good of humanity, faith and holiness can assist us in putting our trust in God. I also told them that we are called to be saints in the places we live today and that from the moment of our Baptism, we are called to live lives of holiness. The term saint comes from the Latin term, sancti, which means holy.
So with being said, let’s take a look at 12 quotes from Mother Teresa on faith and holiness –
1. “Living a Christian life provides for the growth of faith. There have been many saints who have gone before to guide us, but I like the ones who are simple, like St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower of Jesus…she did ordinary things with extraordinary love.”
2. “Faith in action is service. We try to be holy because we believe. In most modern rooms you see an electrical light that can be turned on with a switch. But, if there is no connection with the main powerhouse, then there can be no light. Faith and prayer is the connection with God, and when that is there, there is service.”
Here is something that could be on the lips of the martyrs –
3. “No one can take my faith from me. If, in order to spread the love of Christ among the poor and neglected, there were no alternative but to remain in that country, I would remain – but I would not renounce my faith. I am prepared to give up my life but never my faith.”
Nothing more simpler than this next one…
4. “You have to be holy where you are – wherever God has put you.”
5. “Holiness grows fast where there is kindness. I have never heard of kind souls going astray. The world is lost for want of sweetness and kindness.”
6. “Holiness is not something extraordinary, not something for only a few brains, with intellectual powers that can reason, that can discuss, that can have long talks and read very wonderful books. Holiness is for every one of us as a simple duty – the acceptance of God with a smile, at all times, anywhere and everywhere.”
7. “Holiness is not the luxury of the few; it is a simple duty, for you and for me. We have been created for that. So let us be holy as Our Father in Heaven is holy.”
8. “Holiness is not in the feelings of in imagination, it is reality. One thing that helps me and will help you is this: works of love are works of holiness.”
9. “God does not demand that I be successful. God demands that I be faithful. When facing God, results are not important. Faithfulness is what is important.”
10. “We must become holy not because we want to feel holy, but because Christ must be able to live His life fully in us.”
11. “Nothing can make me holy except the presence of God and to me the presence of God is fidelity to small things. Fidelity to small things will lead you to Christ. Infidelity to small things will lead you to sin.”
For many of us, including the saints before us, this is where the rubber hits the road…
12. “I must give myself completely to him. I must not attempt to control God’s actions. I must not desire a clear perception of my advance along the road, nor know precisely where I am on the way of holiness. I ask him to make a saint of me, yet I must leave to him the choice of that saintliness itself and still more the choice of the means that lead to it.”
As we continue to get closer to the Canonization of St. Teresa of Calcutta, let us pray this day that we can answer the call from our Baptism and strive for holiness in whatever state or vocation we are in currently. Ask the Saints in Heaven to pray for you. Ask them to show you how they grew in holiness.
St. Teresa of Calcutta…Pray for Us.