Monday, October 24, 2016
As I anticipated the Sept. 4 canonization of Mother Teresa of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), I remembered her visit to the United States when she addressed President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore and their wives at the annual Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C.
The year was 1994. Mother Teresa of Calcutta stood on a stool, barely visible behind the microphone on the podium, before the president and vice president of the United States, and boldly declared: “Any country that accepts abortion doesn’t teach its people to love. Abortion is the greatest destroyer of peace today.”
President Clinton and Vice President Gore sat still and cold as the audience erupted in applause of agreement. Unfortunately, our country’s two leaders could not do the same because of the policies they supported. One of those policies was the extreme partial-birth abortion method, used in the late term of a woman’s pregnancy.
Unafraid to speak the truth, Mother Teresa continued: “To me, the nations who have legalized abortion, they are the poorest nations. They are afraid of the little one, they are afraid of the unborn child, and the child must die because they don't want to feed one more child, to educate one more child, the child must die.”
Mother Teresa told them that there was a "war against the child" who is being "murdered by the mother herself." She said she would take any unwanted children from us. "Give the child to me... any child. Do not destroy the child."
She also pointed out that the first one to proclaim the coming of Christ on earth was an unborn child: John the Baptist in the womb of his mother Elizabeth. “When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leapt in her womb...” (Luke 1:41)
Mother Teresa pleaded for the people of our country by saying, "If we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how do we tell others not to kill one another?"
She taught us in her speech that day that abortion brings people to a “spiritual poverty.” Which, she said, is the “worst kind of poverty.”
We who work in the Respect Life Ministry know how true this is when we minister to those who have experienced the horror we call “abortion” through our Project Rachel post-abortion healing program. Many of these injured souls search for years to find the courage to ask for help, being unable to forgive themselves for what many see as the unforgivable sin.
These are the poor among us — our neighbors in need. We the Church must reach out to them to help them find their way back to healing and the sacraments. We must admit that we have all aborted the will of God at some time in our lives and we must all seek forgiveness.
Mother Teresa told America 22 years ago that we could become a sign of peace for the whole world by the way we choose to treat the unborn child. This is the link everyone seems to be missing in our search for peace.
Mother Teresa, now a saint, told us that abortion would destroy the peace in our country. Will we listen to her wisdom now, or will we continue to allow abortion to destroy our ability to love, especially the least among us.