Happy New Year to all readers of CTS Catholic Compass!
One of the happier pieces of news over the festive period is that Blessed Mother Teresa is to be canonised during this Year of Mercy.
As we approached Advent at the tail end of last year, I kept thinking that the Year of Mercy was to begin on the First Sunday of that season. Stood to reason, I thought. First Sunday of the new liturgical year.
In fact, of course, the jubilee Year of Mercy officially began on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, 8th December.
With the conception of the Sinless One, the New Eve, the path in time of our Redemption was begun, God’s Merciful plan was launched.
Mother Teresa surely epitomises the traditional all-encompassing mercy of the Church and her saints. That care for body and soul; the whole person.
And I always find it interesting that it is often the greatest mystics who have the most concern for the bodily well-being of their fellows. Think of Padre Pio and his magnificent hospital.
“Nothing is too good for the sick,”
he used to say.
And the Servant of God Chiara Lubich, foundress of a vast worldwide movement, was always the first to run to the bedside of a dying member of her movement in the residences for elderly members near her headquarters.
When I sent the late Servant of God Chiara Lubich a copy of my CTS biography of Mother Teresa, she was delighted and wrote to me of Mother being one of her ‘dearest friends’.
When Mother Teresa was given a former Hindu pilgrim hospice to open her first Home for the Dying, many were the Hindu brahmin or holy men who were outraged and protested.
But Mother stayed calm. This was the property the City of Calcutta (as was then) had given her and so it was where God meant her Home to be.
She named it Nirmal Hriday .
This, she once explained to me, meant Place of the Pure Heart.
“Oh!” I said, “House of the Immaculate Heart?”.
She smiled and nodded.
And every time we pray the Rosary we are reminded of the charity and mercy of Mary, the Mystical Rose.
In the second Joyful Mystery she makes haste to be with her older kinswoman, the moment that she hears she too is with child.
Happy and fruitful Year of Mercy to one and all!
Jim Gallagher is a journalist and author who lives in London. His books have been translated into many different languages, including Icelandic, Norwegian, Chinese and Czech. His biographies for CTS include those of Blessed Mother Teresa and the Servant of God Chiara Lubich.