Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Tuesday 11 May |
Saint of the Day: St. Ignatius of Laconi
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

Why Mother Teresa didn’t want everyone to be exactly like her

PRAY

Debajyoti Chakraborty | NurPhoto | AFP

Philip Kosloski - published on 09/05/19

On multiple occasions St. Teresa of Calcutta urged people not to completely imitate her example.

It’s become a cliche of Western culture to say, “I’m no Mother Teresa!” It is usually said in response to some extraordinary act of charity, expressing a person’s belief that they could never do such a thing.

Oddly enough, St. Teresa of Calcutta would completely agree with that statement, not wanting people to be exactly like her, but to accomplish God’s unique will in their lives.

Her beliefs are best expressed in this quotation, “What I can do, you cannot. What you can do, I cannot. But together we can do something beautiful for God.”

It expresses the idea that each person has a unique place in this world and that very few people should sell all their things and move to Calcutta to serve the poor. In fact, Mother Teresa would advise against such a mass exodus from the world.

Instead Mother Teresa encouraged people to “find your own Calcutta.”

Stay where you are. Find your own Calcutta. Find the sick, the suffering, and the lonely, right where you are — in your own homes and in your own families, in homes and in your workplaces and in your schools. You can find Calcutta all over the world, if you have eyes to see. Everywhere, wherever you go, you find people who are unwanted, unloved, uncared for, just rejected by society — completely forgotten, completely left alone.

This concept does not absolve us from helping the poor, but instead it challenges us to examine ourselves and our place in this world. Each of us have unique gifts and talents that are to be used for the benefit of the community. We may not be called to tend the wounds of the sick and homeless on a daily basis, but we are called to exercise Christian charity in each individual situation.

So if you feel like you could never be a “Mother Teresa,” that is a good thing! Very few people are called to such a unique vocation. However, we are called to “find your own Calcutta” and to discern how we can help the poor and suffering in our own lives. We can do things that no-one else can do. Even Mother Teresa could not do some of the things that we can do.

Everyone is unique and when we work together to build a better world, “we can do something beautiful for God.”


MATKA TERESA Z KALKUTY

Read more:
A prayer for families to pray every day, by Mother Teresa


MOTHER THERESA

Read more:
Mother Teresa prayed this inspirational prayer on a daily basis

Tags:
Mother TeresaSaints
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
2
MOTHER OF ASIA - TOWER OF PEACE
J-P Mauro
Philippines finishes construction of largest Marian statue in the...
3
OUR LADY OF FATIMA,SUN
Philip Kosloski
Prayer to Our Lady of Fatima for healing and strength
4
CHURCH
Philip Kosloski
What are the 4 different parts of the Mass?
5
FIRST LOOK
Sarah Robsdottir
Dad’s priceless reaction to newborn goes viral
6
PRAY
Philip Kosloski
3 Signs of a spiritual attack on your soul
7
SAINTS
Meg Hunter-Kilmer
Saints to help if Mother’s Day is hard
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.