Mother Teresa on Religion

The fruit of silence is prayer,
The fruit of prayer is faith,
The fruit of faith is love,
The fruit of love is service,
The fruit of service is peace.
  • “Religion is meant to be a work of love. Therefore, it should not divide us and destroy the peace and unity. Let us use religion to help us become one heart full of love in the heart of God. By loving one another, we will fulfill the reason for our creation - to love and be loved.”
  • “We are all capable of good and evil. We are not born bad. Everybody has something good inside. Some hide it, some neglect it, but it is there. God created us to love and be loved…we are all His children - Hindu, Muslim, or Christian.”
  • “We are all God's children - and we have been created for greater things, to love and be loved. God loves each one of us with an everlasting love - We are precious to Him. Therefore nothing should separate us. Religion is a gift of God and is meant to help us to be one heart full of love. God is our Father - and we are all His children - we are all brothers and sisters. Let there be no distinction of race or colour or creed.”
  • “We are sent to unify under one Spirit, all people of whatever nation, race or culture. Under what spirit? The spirit of love! We are sent to unify all under the spirit of love: to unify all men of different religions: Hindus, Muslims and all people of different caste, colour or culture. We are called to witness to the reality of the brotherhood of all people in which the fullness of the law is love.”
  • “Let us not use religion to divide us. In all the holy books we see how God calls us to love. Whatever we do to each other we do to Him because God is our Father. Religion is a work of love - and not to destroy the peace and unity.”
  • “Some call Him Ishwar, some call Him Allah, some simply God, but we all have to acknowledge that it is He who made us for greater things, to love and to be loved. What matters is that we love. We cannot love without prayer, and so whatever religion we are, we must pray...”
  • “Our work in India and elsewhere is not intended for conversions, but to bring people particularly those in need, closer to God through our works of charity.”
  • “Oh, I hope I am converting. I don’t mean what you think. I hope we are converting hearts. Not even Almighty God can convert a person unless that person wants it. What we are trying to do by our work, by serving the people, is to come closer to God. If in coming face to face with God we accept Him in our lives, then we are converting. We become a better Hindu, a better Muslim, a better Catholic, a better whatever we are and then by being better we come closer and closer to Him.”
  • “The best conversion is to make the people love one another. When they love one another they come closer to God.”
  • To be able to love the unloved, to be able to give … in your heart to the unwanted, unloved, uncared, that love begins at home. And how does it begin? By praying together. For the fruit of prayer is deepening of faith, then I believe that really whatever I do, I do it to God Himself; deepening of faith. And the fruit of faith is love, God loves me, I love my brother, my sister. Doesn’t matter religion, doesn’t matter color, doesn’t matter place, …my brother, my sister, created by God Himself – same hand – and then the fruit of that love must be action, must be service, I do something. And, therefore, let us pray to bring prayer in our family. Pray together, really have the courage to do something beautiful for God, and whatever you do to each other, you do it to God.
  • “Works of love are works of peace - to love we must know one another. Today if we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other - that man, that woman, that child is my brother, my sister. If every one could see the image of God in his neighbor, do you think we would still need guns and bombs?”
  • “Let us always meet each other with a smile…for a smile is the beginning of love.”
  • “Be kind and merciful. Let no one ever come to you without coming away better, happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile. Kindness in your warm greeting.”
  • “God has His own ways and today if we have no peace means to work in the hearts of men, and we do not know how close they are to Him...If the individual thinks and believes that this is the only way to God for her or him, this is the way God comes into their life.”
  • “In our Congregation we have a fourth vow of giving wholehearted and free service to the poorest of the poor, to the unwanted, to the unloved, the uncared, to the hungry, to the alcoholic, to the rejected, to people who have no one, nobody; it doesn’t matter what religion, doesn’t matter what color, doesn't matter what caste, doesn’t matter what nationality.”
  • The sisters and brothers are all over the world in every country we try to do the same kind of tender love and care without looking at religion or caste or color, we try to serve the child of God, our brother, our sister. And I think this has been another beautiful gift of God to us in giving us this opportunity to serve Him.
  • When asked about administering Christian rites to the other religion destitute in Kalighat: Well, the best thing that these people question the Hindu Satkar Samity and they will be able to tell how many people they have picked up, because I am very strict for this, that our dying people and our dead people have the ceremony according to their religion. So Hindu Satkar Samity comes and takes the Hindus; Anjuman comes and takes the Muslims, Buddhists come and take their own, Christians come and take their own. There’s been absolutely no difficulty, no doubt about that.
  • “Yes, the first woman I saw I myself picked up from the street. She had been half eaten by the rats and ants. I took her to the hospital but they could not do anything for her. They only took her in because I refused to move until they accepted her. From there I went to the municipality and I asked them to give me a place where I could bring these people because on the same day I had found other people dying in the streets. The health officer of the municipality took me to the temple, the Kali Temple, and showed me the Darmashalah where the people used to rest after they had done their worship of Kali goddess. It was an empty building; he asked me if I would accept it. I was very happy to have that place for many reasons, but especially knowing that it was a centre of worship and devotion of the Hindus. Within twenty- four hours we had our patients there and we started the work of the home for the sick and dying who are destitutes. Since then we have picked up over twenty-three thousand people from the streets of Calcutta of which about fifty per cent have died.”
  • Q Some Muslims in Assam feel that you are espousing their cause. They have referred to your recent work in Beirut, where you saved stranded Muslim children. Not because they are Muslims. Please try and understand this. Be it Beirut, be it Assam, they are the children of God. We make no distinction of caste, creed or nationality. But now I hope there will be peace in Assam. This is a wonderful opportunity to forgive and forget - and the Assamese should seize it. Non-forgiveness will always prevent us from loving each other.
  • I had the most extraordinary experience of love of neighbor with a Hindu family. A gentleman came to our house and said, “Mother Teresa, there is a family who has not eaten for so long. Do something.” So I took some rice and went there immediately. And I saw the children—their eyes shining with hunger. I don’t know if you have ever seen hunger, but I have seen it very often. And the mother of the family took the rice I gave her and went out. When she came back I asked her, “Where did you go; what did you do?” And she gave me a very simple answer: “They [a Muslim family] are hungry also.” What struck me most was that she knew, and who are they? A Muslim family. And she knew. And I did not bring any more rice that evening because I wanted them—Hindus and Muslims—to enjoy the joy of sharing. But there were those children radiating joy, sharing their joy and peace with their mother because she had the love to give until it hurts, and you see this is where love begins—at home in the family.

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