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Another Voice: Mother Teresa taught us much about labor and life

By Zach Krajacic

It is only fitting that the canonization of Mother Teresa should occur on the day before Labor Day, for her entire life was a labor of love. Working in deplorable conditions, she labored not for material reward, but solely for God and other people.

Our generation was blessed to have witnessed the holiness of Mother Teresa – she will become St. Teresa of Calcutta – who has joined the church’s long line of canonized saints. Her canonization affirms that her soul is in heaven and gives honor to this holy servant of God. It also is meant to encourage us by reminding us of the eternal reward that awaits a life of sacrifice and heroic virtue.

With an open and docile heart, Mother Teresa heard God’s call and worked tirelessly to fulfill it. She lived every facet of the Catholic Church’s teachings, from serving the poor in India to courageously speaking out in defense of the unborn. She was a consummate Catholic who spent her life doing God’s will.

Like Mother Teresa, we too are called to find out what God wants us to do and to then do it. The idea of a specific calling was often expressed by Evelyn Waugh, an English writer and Catholic convert, who believed God “wants a different thing from each of us … something which only we can do and for which we were created.” Waugh’s novel “Helena” depicts the life of St. Helena, mother of Constantine, who discovered her vocation and pursued it vigorously: to find the True Cross of Christ.

Finding our purpose is essential to achieving happiness and satisfaction. We will likely discover that our calling is more humble and ordinary than that of Mother Teresa and St. Helena. But as Mother Teresa pointed out, “It is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the doing.”

Moreover, working toward a goal minimizes time spent on empty or harmful activities. We become less engaged in gossip, social media trivialities, the latest technological game. With so much work to be done, God did not create us for idleness or frivolity.

There is perhaps no greater tragedy in life than to be on one’s deathbed and realize that his or her life’s purpose was not fulfilled. How painful it must be for such a person to recall a life spent entirely on meaningless activities. But this need not happen to us.

While we may not be called to serve the poor in another continent, Mother Teresa’s life is a model for all of us to follow. This Labor Day, let us learn from her example by seeking God’s will and doing the work he planned for us prior to our existence: “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.” (Jeremiah 1:5)

Zach Krajacic, of Lancaster, is vice president at 101.7 FM the Station of the Cross Catholic Radio Network, based on Williamsville.

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