Pope Francis has written the preface to a new book on Mother Teresa entitled “let us love those who are unloved” that is based on two speeches given by her during a meeting with young people and with religious sisters in Milan in 1973. Founder of the Missionaries of Charity order, Mother Teresa will be proclaimed a saint by Pope Francis on 4 September. In his preface, the Pope reflected on the five themes of prayer, charity, works of mercy, family and young people.
Pope Francis noted that Mother Teresa always began her day by going to Mass and ended it with the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. In this way, he said, it’s possible to transform our work into prayer. If we enter into the feelings of Jesus we can savour life and give a renewed look to those we meet.
Turning next to charity, the Pope explained that this means being close to all those on the peripheries that we meet every day, feeling compassion for those who are the least in terms of body and spirit and to bear witness to God’s caress for every wound of humanity.
When it comes to works of mercy, Pope Francis reminded that we are called to take care of every person with works of corporal and spiritual mercy. He said this is a way to reawaken our consciences that often have become dormant when faced with the harsh reality of poverty in order to enter more fully into the heart of the Gospel where the poor are the recipients of divine mercy.
Looking next at the family, the Pope noted that this is where we learn from our parents to smile and forgive each other, to welcome and sacrifice ourselves for others, to give without expecting anything in return, to pray and suffer together, to rejoice and help each other, just like Mother Teresa urged us to do.
Concluding by turning to the theme of young people, Pope Francis spoke of the upcoming World Youth Day gathering in Krakow, Poland and urged young people to serve the poor and to be builders of bridges that tear down the logic of division, rejection and fear of others. He also appealed to them to face up with courage to life, describing it as a gift of God.
In the book, Mother Teresa states that “the greatest disease is not leprosy or tuberculosis but loneliness.” This, she said, “is the cause of so many conflicts, divisions and wars that afflict us nowadays.”