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8 December 2014
"Blessed are the peacemakers, they will be called sons of God." Mt 5:9
My dearest Co-Workers, Active and Sick & Suffering, Lay MCs and Volunteers,
The 9th of November marked the fall of the Berlin Wall 25 years ago. Holy Father Pope Francis commented, "We need bridges not walls. Where there is a wall, there is a closed heart,"
At Christmas, we rejoice in the Incarnation of Jesus, the Son of God, who unites in His Person God and man. He is the bridge stretching over the gap which separated us from God. He abolished the wall of division by assuming our human nature. He makes us share in His Divinity through the Sacraments.
At Christmas, we contemplate Love in the weak and lowly Baby Jesus, who draws all men to Himself. Love opens closed hearts and breaks down walls of division. Missionaries of Charity, an international religious family, together with you all, witness to the undivided love of the Trinity.
Our Mother's presence, her kindness, her compassion and her God-infused wisdom brought peace and reconciliation to individuals, families and conflicting groups. During the Hindu-Muslim riots in Kolkata in 1963» she went daily in an Array truck to pick up the bodies of the dead Muslim patients to take them from Kalighat to their burial sites. On 2nd January 1991 she wrote a letter jointly addressed to President Bush and President Saddam Hussein pleading with them to choose the way of peace. Our Mother did not judge, nor did she criticize; she loved and put her love into action. She became a symbol of unity. In our world today all of us have to become increasingly channels of peace and unity.
"Disputes about words produce envy, insult, evil suspicion and unending conflict." (1 Tim 6: 4-5) At this Christmas let us silently ponder the Word of God in our hearts like Mary and let us focus on the meek and humble Jesus.
I thank God for giving our sisters the opportunity to remain with our poor during the bombing in the Middle East and Libya, and during the e bola epidemic in Africa. For the glory of God may the prayers and sufferings of the poor obtain peace on earth for all people of good will. The following are excerpts from the letters to me from our sisters in the Middle East:
Amman. Jordan: We are so privileged to live in these "Holy Places", and in such a time of grace! We are happy to share fully with our poor who are for years in these places of war, persecution, martyrdom and tension. We want to tell you not to worry about us because we want to live and die for Jesus, with Jesus and like Jesus. We are sure that we are getting strength and many graces from these holy places where saints and martyrs gave their lives for Christ, and above all from our Heavenly Mother. We ask Jesus every day to give us the faith and strength to die to ourselves in order to become a harvest for Him so that He may continue through us to give life to men.
Gaza, Palestine: One night at 10 p.m., we were told that within 10 minutes bombs would h±i us. We quickly took our children to the Church compound where we stayed for 2 hours but then returned to our house as we heard that the plane would only bomb the area around our house. Another time the military phoned us at midnight ordering us to evacuate. Two Sisters went to see the priest and the other two remained praying. The priest contacted the Patriarch who told us, "Remain where you are but be in the basement of your house." We carried our 28 severely handicapped children to the lower level where we remained during the peak of the war for 3 weeks. The Army called us 5 times to evacuate but we didn't. Each time a bomb fell, the epileptic children would have a fit. We have Mass daily at 6 p.m. We were in the center of the war with four tunnel cities under our home. The satellite light was on us for 3 days so they'd know where we are. We gathered supplies during ceasefire. We brought our old ladies in Nirmal Hriday (home for the sick) from the other side of the road to be with us. We remained untouched by the bombs. At the end of the month during 3 days of ceasefire, Father took us out to see Gaza—all around us is destroyed! Our Lady kept us alive and our compound stands—a real miracle!
Alappo. Syriat On January 15, 2013» we were finishing lunch and we saw dust 2nd stones flying outside. The house shook. With the help of the Word Incarnate Fathers we moved our patients. Our house was full of stones, mud, asphalt, glass everywhere. It took almost 4 days to clear the home and compound. We were frightened at first but prayers of all the Sisters supported us9 so we could continue doing His work in the midst of fear,
Placing all our trust in HiM, None of the Sisters asked to be changed, Instead, each one supported the other. We were happy to have less in every¬thing. From 2012- 2014, we could not travel even for our annual retreat because of kidnapping. We thank Our Lady for always being a loving Mother to us.
The sisters in Lebanon wrote: When unrest broke out in Arsal, the closest village to Syria, Catholic Bishops asked for 3 Masses from each priest per day, 3 days of fasting in the whole country, and adoration in many Churches and Shrines held day and night; chains of rosaries were prayed, and each family was asked to light a candle and place it on the verandah or window. By Tuesday evening, the ceasefire was in view and on Wednesday all hostages returned and the militants retreated to Syria. Thursday was proclaimed a day of thanksgiving. The Te Deum was intoned at all the Masses; adorations and rosary chains were offered in thanksgiving for the intervention of Our Lady. A miracle was reported in Arsal of a young man who took a picture of a house that was bombed and smoke was coming up. One of his friends noticed that Our Lady was appearing in that smoke with the same figure as in Harissa. The next day, an agreement was announced!
The Word of God will fill us with the generosity and energy to pay the price, to take the trouble to build the bridge of peace and unity in our own family and among the people where we live. Our dearest Mother's jôy will be full when she sees all of you in your families and neighborhoods one heart full of love around the crib this Christmas.
I pray for you that Jesus may find a warm home in your heart and in your family. May the coming New Year, 2015, be filled with God's own love, peace and joy. Please pray for me.
Mother Teresa Center
524 West Calle Primera,
San Ysidro, CA 92173