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Mother's Wisdom

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Mother
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Smiles | Family | Life & Death | Love |
Loneliness |The Poor | Prayer

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Smiles

"Peace begins with a smile."
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"Sometimes it is harder for us to smile at those who live with us, the immediate members of our families, than it is to smile at those who are not so close to us. Let us never forget: love begins at home."
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"I will never understand all the good that a simple smile can accomplish."
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"To smile at someone who is sad; to visit, even for a little while, someone who is lonely; to give someone shelter from the rain with our umbrella; to read something for someone who is blind; these and others can be small things, very small things, but they are appropriate to give our love of God concrete expression to the poor."

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Family

"The woman is the heart of the home.  Let us pray that we women realize the reason of our existence: to love and be loved and through this love become instruments of peace in the world."
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"The most natural thing is the family life. What keeps the family together, what nourishes the life of the family together, is that surrender to each other; is that obedience; is that accepting of each other"
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"We should teach our children to love one another at home.  They can learn this only from their father and mother, when they see the parents' love for each other."
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"To parents: It is very important that children learn from their fathers and mothers how to love one another--not in the school, not from the teacher, but from you.  It is very important that you share with your children the joy of that smile. There will be misunderstandings; every family has its cross, its suffering.  Always be the first to forgive with a smile.  Be cheerful, be happy."
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"Today we see more and more that all the suffering in the world has started from the home.  Today we have no time even to look at each other, to talk to each other, to enjoy each other, and still less to be what our children expect from us, what the husband expects from the wife, what the wife expects from the husband.  And so more and more we are out of our homes and less and less in touch with each other."
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"Maybe in our own family we have somebody who is feeling lonely, who is feeling sick, who is feeling worried.  Are we there?  Let us know the poor in our own families first.  We have old people: they are put in institutions and they are never visited; with less and less time even to smile at each other, with less and less time to be together.  Love begins at home, if we can only make our own homes temples of love."
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"I think of you and your families and pray for each one of you: 'Lord, keep them faithful to each other in Your love. Let nothing, nobody separate them from Your love and love for each other. Let the child, the gift of Yourself to every family, be the bond of love, unity, joy, and peace. Amen' " 

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Life & Death

"In my heart, I carry the last glances of the dying.  I do all I can so that they feel loved at that most important moment when a seemingly useless existence can be redeemed."
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"The fact of death should not sadden us.  The only thing that should sadden us is to know that we are not saints."
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"At the moment of death, we will not be judged according to the number of good deeds we have done or by the diplomas we have received.  We will be judged according to the love we have put into our work."   

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 Love

"In your life, in mine, in the life of each of us, God has made us for bigger things.  He has created us to love and to be loved, so that we walk toward our heavenly home. As we carry Jesus in the world, we will be prepared to return eagerly to our Father's house when the day arrives for us to be called home"
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"The important thing is not how much we accomplish, but how much love we put into our deeds every day. That is the measure of our love for God."
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"Love is a fruit, in season at all times and within the reach of every hand. Anyone may gather it and no limit is set. Everyone can reach this love through meditation, the spirit of prayer, and sacrifice."
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"How do we love? Not in big things, but in small things with great love. There is so much love in us all. We must not be afraid to show our love."
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"My sisters and I always greet the Lord and one another each morning at 4:30 a.m. with the words: 'Let us bless the Lord Thanks be to God.' Let us always greet each other with a smile--for a smile is the beginning of love."
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"Love begins by taking care of the closest ones--the ones at home.  Let us ask ourselves if we are aware that maybe our husband, our wife, our children, or our parents live isolated from others, do not feel loved enough, even though they may live with us.  Do we realize this?  Where are the old people today?  They are in nursing homes (if there are any).  Why? Because they are not wanted, because they are too much trouble, because....."
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"Love is, just like Christ himself showed with his death, the greatest gift."
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"All sicknesses have cures.  The only one that cannot be cured is the sickness of  feeling unloved.  I invite all those who appreciate our work to look around them and be willing to love those who have no love and to offer them their services.  Are we not, by definition, messengers of love?"
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"Let us not love by words alone, but let us love until it hurts. It cost Jesus to love us. He even died for us. Now it is our turn to love one another as Jesus loved us.  You must not be afraid to say "yes" to Jesus, because there is no greater love than his love and no greater joy than his joy."
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"God pays attention to our love.  Not one of us is indispensable.  God has the means to do all things and to do away with the work of the most capable human being.  We can work until we drop.  We can work excessively.  If what we do is not connected to love, however, our work is useless in God's eyes."

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Loneliness

"There are many kinds of poverty.  Even in countries where the economic situation seems to be a good one, there are expressions of poverty hidden in a deep place, such as the tremendous loneliness of people who have been abandoned and who are suffering."
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"Everywhere there exists loneliness, the same deep need to be loved and cared for. Right in your midst there are those who suffer because they do not feel wanted or loved. They experience the anguish of having no one to call their own.   This is real poverty without a doubt. We need to want to be someone for those who need us."
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"As far as I am concerned, the greatest suffering is to feel alone, unwanted, unloved.  The greatest suffering is also having no one, forgetting what an intimate, truly human relationship is, not knowing what it means to be loved, not having a family or friends."
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"Homelessness is not only of bricks but homelessness comes from that terrible loneliness that the unwanted, the unloved know along their way. Are we there? Do we know them? Do we see them?"   

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The Poor

"None of  us, I am sure, knows what is the pain of hunger, but one day I learned it from a little child.   I found the child in the street and I saw in her face that terrible hunger that I  have seen in many eyes.   Without questioning her, I gave her a piece of bread, and then I saw that the little child was eating the bread crumb by crumb.  And I said to her: 'Eat the bread.' And that little one looked at me and said; 'I am afraid because when the bread is finished, I will be hungry again.' "
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"Jesus is the one we take care of, visit, clothe, feed, and comfort every time we do this to the poorest of the poor, to the sick, to the dying, to the lepers, and to the ones who suffer from AIDS."
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"When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her.  It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed.  We have refused to be instruments of love in the hands of God to give the poor a piece of bread, to offer them a dress with which to ward off the cold.  It has happened because we did not recognize Christ when, once more, he appeared under the guise of pain, identified with a man numb from the cold, dying of hunger, when he came in a lonely human being, in a lost child in search of a home."
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"The poor call to us.  We have to be aware of them in order to love them.  We have to ask ourselves if we know the truth.  Do we know the poor in our own homes?"
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"Sometimes people can hunger for more than bread.  It is possible that our children, our husband, our wife, do not hunger for bread, do not need clothes, do not lack a house.  But are we equally sure that none of them feels alone, abandoned, neglected, needing some affection?  That, too, is poverty."
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"I will never tire of repeating this: what the poor need the most is not pity but love. They need to feel respect for their human dignity, which is neither less nor different from the dignity of any other human being."
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"The greatest injustice we have done to our poor people is that we think they are good for nothing; we have forgotten to treat them with respect, with dignity as a child of God.  People have forgotten what the human touch is, what it is to smile, for somebody to smile at them, somebody to recognize them, somebody to wish them well. The terrible thing is to be unwanted."
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"I repeat that the poor, the sufferers from leprosy, the rejected, the alcoholics, whom we serve, are beautiful people.  Many of them have wonderful personalities. The experience which we have by serving them, we must pass on to people who have not had that wonderful experience."
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"I was asked why I did not give a rod with which to fish, in the hands of the poor, rather than give the fish itself as this makes them remain poor.  So I told them: The people whom we pick up are not able to stand with a rod.  So today I will give them fish and when they are able to stand, then I shall send them to you and you can give them the rod.  That is your job.  Let me do my work today."

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Prayer

"Everything starts with prayer. Love to pray--feel the need to pray often during the day and take the trouble to pray.  If you want to pray better, you must pray more. The more you pray, the easier it becomes. Perfect prayer does not consist of many words but in the fervor of the desire which raises the heart to Jesus."
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"The fruit of prayer is a clean heart and a clean heart is free to love. The fruit of love is Peace--Unity--Joy."
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"Silence is the root of our union with God and with one another.  In silence we are filled with the energy of God Himself that makes us do all things in joy.  The more we receive in silent prayer, the more we can give in our active life."
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"Let us all pray especially that people shall be brothers and sisters in the world and will understand this prayer. We can each think about it separately and examine our conscience.  And let each of us ,before we pass the prayer on to somebody else, put this prayer into life: "Lead me from death to life, from falsehood to truth; Lead me from despair to hope, from fear to trust; Lead me from hate to love, from war to peace; Let peace fill our heart, our world, our universe."
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"Today, more than ever, we need to pray....for the light  to know the will of God.....for the love to accept the will of God....for the way to do the will of God."
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"Do I need to pray? Do I want to pray? Remember wherever you may be---Mother Teresa's prayer, love and blessing will always be with you. God bless you."

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The above quotes were taken from "Mother Teresa: In My Own Words"/by Mother Teresa/compiled by Jose Luis Gonzalez-Balado/Gramercy Books, Random House Publishing, Inc./1996; and from "Mother Teresa: The Joy In Loving"/by Mother Teresa/compiled by Jaya Chaliha and Edward Le Joly/Viking Penguin/1996.