By Father Bob Kraig This past Sunday the Roman Catholic Church canonized Mother Teresa. The 20th century saint has been an inspiration to many and I am grateful that we here at Saint John Neumann were able to add a beautiful statue of her to our church four years ago when we added the four we did: St. John Neumann, St. John Paul II, Saint Mother Teresa and Saint Teresa of Lisieux.
I truly wish we could have put them on an eye level; however, because of the architecture of our church, the way it was built and other twists, turns and dimensions we had to place them so that people have to look up at them.
Somewhere recently I read that there is a church in which you look at the statue of the saint at eye level. I’m not sure but perhaps it was the Cathedral in Los Angeles. What a great thing – to be able to look at the ‘cloud of witnesses’ at an eyeball to eyeball level rather than looking up at them as we do in so many of our churches.
Mother Teresa – or I should say Saint Mother Teresa – lived in our day and age. She was a very humble person who got down to the level of people no matter how small or how feeble or how sick they were and brought God into their lives. We often think God, the saints are ‘up there’ somewhere but they are right in our midst. You and I are called to holiness; it is why we exist; why we are created in God’s image and likeness – to be holy and to bring god to others.
Pray to the saints – they are not ‘up there!’ They are not people with halos around their heads, unapproachable. They are guides who show us the way to God. Pick up a book on Saint Mother Teresa or some other saint you might be familiar or unfamiliar with. Read about their lives – they were tempted to sin like you and me and yet they knew reality; and that reality is very simple: no matter what transpires in our lives God is faithful with His love and forgiveness.
Speaking of fidelity Saint Mother Teresa always said: ‘I am not called to be successful but to be faithful!’ May we too remain faithful to God despite our failings. He does not abandon us. One book I might strongly recommend on Mother Teresa is entitled: ‘Mother Teresa’s Secret Fire’ by Robert Langford.
Finally, let me conclude this week with what many of the great saints always said: “The more I get closer to God the more I am tempted!’ What a great consolation! And what a great gift to not have to look ‘up there’ but to know God is right here, one of us, in our lives, faithful always!