“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” –Mother Teresa
The world, at times, can seem very divisive and very contentious. It often feels like peace is a far off, unattainable dream. But nothing could be further from the truth. For every “bad news” story we hear, there are hundreds of “good news” stories that never make the evening news.
Individuals and organizations across the country dedicate their lives to providing service to the underserved, the sick, the forgotten and the desperate. Especially at this time of year, our hearts turn to the service of our fellow man.
People living significant lives do more than the minimum requirement. They know that the lives of both the giver and the receiver of service are positively and simultaneously transformed. Whoever renders service puts himself in line for greatness—great wealth, great return, great satisfaction and great love.
When she was 18, Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu began missionary service in India. In 1929, she took her vows as a nun and changed her name to Sister Mary Teresa. After teaching the children of wealthy families, she was sent to Calcutta where most of the students were from the middle class. The school where she taught was located near the slums of Calcutta which were filled with the poor, the sick, the starving, the outcasts and the unwanted.
Her heart went out to those people and she spent her free time helping the suffering people in the slums. In 1948, Pope Pius XII granted Sister Teresa permission to leave her convent and dedicate herself to serving the poor of Calcutta. She worked tirelessly to provide food, shelter, education, health services and respect for these people who had been forgotten by society.
The people of India began calling her Mother Teresa and she established the Missionaries of Charity in 1950 which has grown to include thousands of missionaries from around the world. The organization has created places of refuge for orphaned children, people dying from leprosy and AIDS–and Mother Teresa’s name has become synonymous with selfless service.
She was one woman who created a tidal wave of service. Her life was not only significant, but she influenced the great leaders of our world today with her dedication to the poor and helpless.
We don’t have to look any further than our own neighborhoods and communities to find those who have been cast aside; people who struggle with poverty, illness, addiction and homelessness. We don’t have to change the world through our service, but our acts of kindness will definitely change the world for the people we help.
The secret lies in realizing that what goes around, comes around. Through service, both the giver’s life and the receiver’s life transforms forever. We should all rise to the occasion to serve a cause larger than ourselves with duty, honor and gratitude.
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Mahatma Gandhi