Remarks on the 1st anniversary of the death of Mother Theresa of Calcutta (September 5, 1998)
Saturday, 5 September 1998
Exactly one year ago, on the evening of 5 September, Mother Teresa died in Calcutta. Her memory lives on in the hearts of us all, throughout the Church and the world. What marvelous work this little woman from a humble family was able to accomplish with the strength of her faith in God and her love of neighbor!
In truth, Mother Teresa was God's gift to the poorest of the poor; at the same time, precisely through her extraordinary love for the lowliest, she was and remains an exceptional gift for the Church and the world. Her total self-giving to God, reconfirmed each day in prayer, was translated into total self-giving to her neighbor.
In Mother Teresa's smile, words and deeds, Jesus again walked the streets of the world as the Good Samaritan, and he continues to do so in the Missionaries of Charity, who form the great family she founded. Let us thank the daughters and sons of Mother Teresa for their radical Gospel commitment and let us pray for them all, that they will always be faithful to the charism that the Holy Spirit instilled in their foundress.
Let us not forget the great example left by Mother Teresa, and let us not commemorate it in words alone! Let us always have the courage to give priority to the human person and his fundamental rights. To the heads of nations, whether rich or poor, I say: do not trust in the power of weapons! Continue resolutely and honestly on the way of disarmament, in order to devote the necessary resources to the true, great objectives of civilization, in order to join forces in fighting hunger and disease, so that every individual can live and die as a human being. This is God's will and he has reminded us of it through the witness of Mother Teresa.