2017 Resolutions | How to Love Like Saint Teresa of Calcutta

Monday, January 2, 2017

So I’m reading this book about Mother Teresa.

And let me just say, it’s really hard not to think about how bad you are at loving people when you’re reading a book about Mother Teresa. Like, come on. She’s like, the Michael Jordan of loving people. It’s really outrageous.

Her servant-heart was so remarkable. This is really the reason I sought out this book - because I’ve spent a lot of time this year thinking about how I’m totally NOT a servant-heart, and how I totally wish I was one.

I find myself contemplating the biblical story of Martha and Mary fairly often. In Luke 10:38-42, we read that Jesus stopped in the home of two sisters, Martha and Mary. As Mary sat at the feet of Jesus, Martha ran about the house, preparing the meal and acting as a hostess. Martha became upset at this and said to Him, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.”

Now, granted, Jesus defended Mary’s choice to sit at His feet. His message here was that we can’t be distracted from what’s really important. Nevertheless, Martha’s inclination to serve here is not condemned. This is important as well.

Service is not my inclination. In fact, if we were talking Dr. Gary Chapman’s Love Languages, Acts of Service is definitely not mine. Living with my family again for the first time in 6 years has been a painful reminder of that. And I’ve found that the more aware I become of my failings in this area, and the harder I try to be better, the greater a failure I feel that I am.

Mother Teresa is, in so many ways, my antithesis. Despite the ever-increasing barrenness she felt in her soul, she constantly forged ahead in love, always finding greater ways to forget herself entirely. She gave, and gave, and gave, and inspired everyone around her to do the same.

She challenged her Missionaries of Charity with a handful of objectives, some of which were:

- Make haste to serve as Mary did.
- Choose the hardest things. Go forth with a humble and generous heart.
- Say yes to peace… Hold your tongue rather than saying a word that might wound someone.
- Dedicate yourself without reservations. Give of yourself generously, unconditionally.

I’m pretty sure my guardian angel LOLed as I read these. I am SO BAD at these things.

In general, loving people is SO HARD. It’s so much more than simply saying, “I love you.” It’s so much more than giving presents at Christmas and birthdays. It’s so much more than spending quality time with one another. In truth, these things hardly scratch the surface.

Mother Teresa once said that “love, to be real, it must cost—it must hurt—it must empty us of self.”

Love is forgoing myself. It’s overcoming my own inclinations to defensiveness, to sharpness of tongue, to pridefulness. It’s asking myself, in the moments I’m feeling hurt or rejected or criticized, “how can I love the person in front of me?”

It’s forgetting myself entirely, and pouring myself out for other people. Yes, I’m tired today. I’m grouchy today. I’m feeling anxious today. But how can I serve my parents? How can I serve my sisters? Those I’ve neglected? Those I’ve taken advantage of? Those I’ll encounter today, whom I might never see again? This is the challenge. And this is the love of Mother Teresa.

I’m not really one for “New Year's Resolutions” but I’d really like to be better at pouring myself out.

And loving through service is a good place to start.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Sexual intimacy is a deeply personal experience. Unitive, as well as procreative by design, sex enriches and develops the relationship of a husband and wife, which must include being open to life or else sexual union is reduced to exploitation.

    Love is generative. Justifying wrong by desperately trying to make it not only appear intelligent and important but morally right and acceptable is simply self deception. Abortion is wrong. Contraception is wrong. God help us to be faithful to Him.


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