Charity and heaps of love from Angel of the slums | Daily News


Charity and heaps of love from Angel of the slums

Thursday September 5, 2017 marks the sixth annual International Day of Charity, also referred to as World Charity Day. Established in 2013, the United Nations created this day to honour the death anniversary of one of the most well-known humanitarians and philanthropists in history.

Obviously of more significance is that on September 4, 2016 the day prior to her death anniversary, Blessed Mother Teresa was canonized as a saint. Not only did Pope Francis raise Mother Teresa to the altars at a canonization Mass in St. Peter’s Square on September 4, the entire week - September 1-8 - was devoted to celebrating the Albanian religious sister who became known as the ‘Angel of the slums.’

It is the day when the world pays tribute to the selfless character of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, her incredible dedication to help those in need and the impact she made on the world which will last far beyond her death. On this day, people around the world are encouraged to contribute to charity in some way, and become a part of the change that is needed to improve the lives of future generations.

It is appropriate that the day of her death commemorates the tireless work that Mother Teresa achieved by devoting her whole life to charity work. To celebrate this special day every year, the work of different charities all over the world is publicised and celebrated and people are encouraged to donate money and time, to carry out altruistic works and also to educate people and raise awareness about the many charitable issues worldwide.

Mother Teresa was a humanitarian of the highest calibre. She was a tiny woman of just 4 feet 11 inches and weighed less than 100 pounds. Although diminutive in stature, she stood out conspicuously as a colossus among the leaders of the world. Astoundingly, she spent many years lifting and carrying those who were dying or sick. Mother Teresa chose to serve the poorest of the poor and to live among them and love them.

Mother Teresa was widely known as a living saint as she ministered to the sick and the dying in some of the poorest neighbourhoods in the world. Although some people criticized her for not also challenging the injustices that kept so many people so poor and abandoned, her simple service touched the hearts of millions of people of all faiths.

She spent her entire adult life working persistently to advance the quality of life of the people, particularly the deprived and the disadvantaged. She never wavered from her chosen path despite several challenges she had been confronted with.

Mother Teresa saw beauty in every human being. She, along with others of the Missionaries of Charity, strove to make the lives and deaths of those around them more peaceful, comfortable and full of love. She fed, washed, and cared for anyone who needed such assistance. Mother Teresa was awarded the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize for founding her missionary congregation.

It was a commendable choice. No character in recent history was more deserving of such an international honour and recognition of humanitarian enterprise. Over the years, Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity established homes all over the world for the dying, the sick, orphaned children, leprosy patients, the aged, the disabled, and AIDS victims.

Mother Teresa saw beauty in all of these individuals who were abandoned or rejected by others. Every year, charities all over the world help to save and improve people’s lives, fighting disease, protecting children, and giving hope to many thousands of people.

In truth, there is more than enough wealth and money in the world to adequately provide for everybody’s need, but the problem is that it is not distributed evenly to those who need it. As such, in most communities to gain wealth and not use it for a good purpose it has to disadvantage someone else. A corrupt few individuals accumulate most of the wealth so that only a limited amount of wealth is distributed to the average person. For an average person to gain wealth it has to be taken off another average person.

One example is where governments waste money on unnecessary effects that benefit the rich at the expense of the poor. Poor people are starved of funding and also pay taxes to the government. Their tax money is given to the rich and wasted. The government only has a limited amount of money in the budget.

Some people wrongly believe that strong economic activity benefits everyone. Often in countries with the largest wealth there is more poverty. The rich are getting richer, and the poor poorer. Countries and people are becoming more indebted. The gaining wealth of the multinationals is doing the opposite of making the average person prosper. It is resulting in the destruction of useful small businesses that cannot compete. The end result is that local jobs, services and wealth are lost.

Mostly, the poverty of the poor is not their fault, but the fault of corruption, disasters, wars, multinationals, unjust prison detention, their country’s policies, illness, abuse, technical problems, governments, high costs, trade unions, and other unfortunate circumstances beyond their control.

If we could form a better system it would be fine to have a lot more personal wealth than suggested. That is a tall order because you can’t change the whole world system, but in a small group we could form a better system independent of the mainstream one. If more affluent people shared their wealth we would have more than enough finances to do what we need and help others.

There are three kinds of givers - the flint, the sponge and the honeycomb. To get anything out of a flint you must hammer it. And then you get only chips and sparks. To get water out of a sponge you must squeeze it and the more you use pressure, the more you will get. But the honeycomb just overflows with its own sweetness. Which kind of giver are you?

As the world has been turned upside down by civil violence, religious conflict, natural disasters, government corruption, and numerous power struggles, we must turn to simple acts of kindness to make a difference in our own communities. The International Day of Charity is a day for every individual to step up and do their part to make a positive impact on the world.

If political and diocesan leaders are tempted to grumble about a lack of time or resources, Mother Teresa also offers another valuable example. You don’t really need deep pockets or massive infrastructure to get something done, only the relentless will to make it happen.

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