After praying the Sunday midday Angelus prayer on October 29, 2023, Pope Francis highlighted St. Teresa of Calcutta as a model to imitate in order for Christians to learn to “take the first step” and love their “brothers and sisters.” He acknowledged that it is not always easy but by loving others “we reflect the Father’s love like mirrors.”
“This is how she, who was so little, was able to do so much good – by reflecting God’s love like a drop,” the Pope said. “If at times, looking at her and other saints, we might be moved to think that they are heroes that cannot be imitated, let us think again about that small drop: love is a drop that can change many things.”
After celebrating the closing Mass of the first session of the Synod on the Future of the Church, Pope Francis came to the window of the Apostolic Palace to lead the Marian Angelus prayer and deliver a short teaching on the day’s Gospel.
“One day, Saint Teresa of Calcutta responded to a journalist who asked her if she had illusions about changing the world by which she was doing, ‘Me no, I never thought I could change the world! I only wanted to be a drop of clean water, through which God’s love could shine,” the Pope explained, citing this moment that occurred after Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.
He then told the faithful that the way to become this drop of love was by “taking the first step, always” towards those around us.
“Sometimes it is not easy to take the first step,to forget things …, to take the first step – let’s do that. This is the drop – to take the first step,” he said.
God’s love always precedes us
In his reflection Pope Francis also encouraged Christians to surrender themselves to God’s love in order to be able to love their neighbor. “The fact that love for the Lord comes first reminds us that God always precedes us, he anticipates us with his infinite tenderness,” the Pope said. “You cannot truly love others if you do not have this root, which is love of God, love for Jesus.”
“The Psalm says, ‘Like a weaned child in the arms of its mother’ (cf. 131:2). This is how we should feel in God’s arms. And there, we absorb the Lord’s affection; there, we encounter the love that impels us to give ourselves generously,” he said.
As he regularly does at the end of his Sunday catechesis, he posed a series of questions to the crowd gathered in St Peter’s Square: “Am I grateful to the Lord that he loves me first? Do I feel God’s love and am I grateful to him? And do I try to reflect His love? Do I strive to love my brothers and sisters, and take this second step?”