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Bl. Teresa of Calcutta & St. Francis of Assisi

I like it when the saints talk about each other. Even across geography and time, they share an understanding of the Christian life - what it means to wholly surrender one's self day after day to imitating Jesus.
I found this little article from American Catholic, as Bl. Teresa of Calcutta comments on St. Francis:

Why does she admire St. Francis? And why does she think that he has had an impact on her life? “I suppose it’s because St. Francis of Assisi tried to imitate the poverty of Christ so closely,” responds the nun who has spent 35 years caring for the poor and dying in the slums of Calcutta.

The incident in the life of St. Francis that most appeals to her is his kissing of the leper. One day St. Francis had passed a leper on the road—too repulsed at first even to greet the man. “But then he came back and embraced him,” Mother Teresa relates. “That was the beginning of St. Francis. That act of surrender made St. Francis.... After that he was ready to give anything!”

Most of us will never come into contact with a leper. Yet, we meet lepers of society every day: in the homeless, the obese, the autistic, the alcoholic and addicted, the tattooed, the mentally ill - all those whom society relegates to the fringes and says: "not REALLY one of us....not TRULY like me...." Are we (you and me, actually, in real life, not just talking about some airy, academic sense) going to embrace them fully, like Francis and Teresa, or are we  going to simply turn away? I am willing to bet that, if you pay close attention, God will provide you an opportunity this week to kiss the leper.

Comments

  1. Lovely. If you're not ready to kiss the leper, just try smiling at him or her or saying hello. What you will see on their faces will make you cry and you will never, ever pass by them again.

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