I was very touched by a letter I received from a little child in the United States, written with the help of her father. When she was making her Fist Holy Communion, she told her parents, “Please don’t buy me a beautiful First Communion dress, or have a party for me in the house. Give me the money instead, so that I can send it to Mother Teresa for her poor children. I can make my First Communion in my school uniform.” With all the other children in their beautiful dresses, she had the courage to do this. Her parents were so touched by seeing their little daughter, their only child, doing this for the poor little children of Calcutta, that the mother gave up smoking and the father gave up drinking to help also. Calcutta is so far from the United States, but the tenderness of God’s love in that little child touched not only our poor children so far away, but also her own mother and father, bringing peace and unity and love to their own home.
I find it harder to help those suffering poverty of the heart than those who are materially poor. This is why our sisters pray so hard for the people, and do penance in order to carry a little part of their passion and pain for them.
Let me tell you one story. The other day I took a little five- or six-year-old girl from the streets. I could see from her face that she was very hungry, and probably hadn’t eaten for only God knows how many days. So I gave her some bread, and told her to start to eat. She took the bread from my hands, and began to eat it very slowly crumb by crumb. As I watched her, I said, “But eat, eat the bread! You are hungry.” This little girl looked at me and said, “I am so afraid that when this bread is finished I will be hungry again.” She was so young and so tiny and never complained, but she had already suffered the excruciating pain of a hunger you and I have never known.
These are the great and wonderful people of God. To them we must open our eyes. If our hearts are clean we will see God, Just as Christ promised, and it will be in them that we see Him. This does not mean only the materially poor. It can also be those who are lonely though living in rich houses, like the man who said to me,” Mother, send your sisters to visit us. In our house we have everything money can buy, but we have no one to talk to, not even each other. I am nearly blind and my wife is mentally ill.” When our sisters went to the house all kinds of pretty things were there, but they didn’t find any love or peace. It took the sisters a long time to help these people, and make things better for them in this house that had everything.
So it is not just a question of who is rich and who is poor. All are God’s children, and our brothers and sisters. Whether their poverty is material or of the heart, we must bring them the presence of Jesus by touching them with love. Let us also help them by bringing Mary into their lives, and by staying faithful to saying her Rosary ourselves. Then you will have peace and joy and happiness, and God will be within you. And that is holiness.