How do we compensate for the irresponsible? The law says let them have their way to avoid public inconvenience. The saints have a different way. According to a reflection on the life of Mother Teresa at CatholicCulture.org, entitled "Adoption Is 'A Concrete Way of Love'" the answer is to become super responsible: pick up the precious burdens that others drop and care for them.
Responding to Jesus desire, "Let the children come to me." (Mark 10:14), Mother Teresa said "You keep your heart clean from the killing of your child. Give me your child and I will give the child to a family that will take care and love the child."1
As a nation, we consider the least among us to be unworthy of our attention. But for Mother Teresa, no one was so unworthy. According to Fr. Pat Eaton, "Even though she was a world figure dealing with so many people when you were in front of her you were the centre of her attention. It was never that she was mechanically dealing with people one after another. There is a certain Sister who started a project in Calcutta and she was living in a small house, three in a bed as it were. Her arm was always grazing against the wall as it was a small house and a small bed. She would go to Mother House for Mass every morning. One day Mother called her and said, 'You know Sister, I have noticed how for over a month you are wearing that band-aid. Why is that band-aid there? What is the problem?' And this actually started a whole process by which eventually a Sister got her own place and her own accommodation. But it just shows you know there are so many foreigners coming for Mass from Japan, from Europe, from all over the world. And Mother notices one simple Sister who has a band-aid and she takes the initiative to call her and ask her what her problem was. This was an amazing characteristic of Mother Teresa. She could focus on you and you were the centre of her attention."2
What is at work here? Jesus told us to love our neighbor, and to drive home his point, he told the parable of the Good Samaritan. At the end, he asked, simply, "Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers' victim?" In other words, which one was sensitive to the plight of the victim and care enough to help? The above story shows that the saints have an amazing sensitivity to the needs of others, a sensitivity that defies the normal limits of human awareness. It's as if her love was a kind of radar, and the strongest blips came from people in need. It is this sensitivity to the needs of the simple that characterizes the attention and concern of God Almighty. It was this sensitivity of God to our needs that Jesus referred to when he said, "Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins? Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God. Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows." [Luke 12:6-7]
- 1See "Kolkata salutes a Saint."