"You and I have been created for greater things. We have not been created to just pass through this life without aim. And that greater aim is to love and be loved ~Mother Teresa."
Vatican news reports Pope Francis' emotional admonition of "diabolical" attacks carried out by radical Islamist assassins who executed 15 innocent people including four Mother Teresa Nuns while these beloved "Missionaries of Charity" were selflessly caring for the forgotten poor, sick and dying. This Aden home opened by Mother Teresa in 1992, the last Christian place in this Muslim country for helping mentally retarded children, elderly and dying people. It is also reported that the only priest left there, Father Tom Uzhunnalil from India, was kidnapped from the chapel within the home. He offered daily Mass and prayed with the Sisters. On Sacred Heart of Jesus Friday, March 4, the perpetrators deliberately and strategically went from room to room executing the victims by shooting them point blank in the head including the nuns, the workers, the sick, the dying and the disabled. Evil of this nature can only be described as "diabolical," but humans have the primary responsibility.
Silence Is Dangerous
Declaring these victims of hate and malevolent desire for power "martyrs of Christianity" the Holy Father grieved and lamented over the "apathy and global indifference" by the media, political leaders and good people of the world. He asked why is this treacherous story not on the front page of newspapers and "breaking news" on televisions. Making people wonder, why Is President Obama quiet? There has been more interest in the size of Trump's hands firing up social and mainstream media than these innocent people being targeted and executed by the wicked hands of radical Islamist assassins. Where is the decent human concern and outrage? The only possible good outcome for media and leaders to downplay this shocking news is that the immoral and perverse gangsters are not being glorified. But why the silence from righteous Muslims?
Hardened Hearts Attack Loving Hearts, "Forgive Them Father, They Know Not What They Do!"
Just as this gentle, good "man of faith" was devastated and disheartened by the evil attacks in Paris taking defenseless innocent life, Pope Francis lamented this act of heartless violence with a deep sense of hopelessness for humanity. This vile strike is likened to serpents attacking God's special forces of good in this world. These vipers arrived telling the trusting nuns they were coming to visit their mothers at the home for elderly. The Qur'an states: "Thenceforth were your hearts hardened: they became like a rock and even worse in hardness (Surah 2:74)."
This demonic-human act on Mother Teresa's nuns and the people they serve is deeply personal for Pope Francis as it is for all who know these religious sisters in communities globally and their holy work, including myself and our family. The Pope's loving heart and the hearts of all good people are innately united with the loving hearts of Mother Teresa and her Missionaries of Charity which are spiritually connected to the loving and merciful Hearts of Jesus and Mary. I know from experience with these nuns that while they are mourning the loss of their sisters and the Yemeni people they cared for, at the same time they are praying for the attackers. Hard example to follow, but it is the Jesus Way!
Strategy for Good Conquering Evil: Peace Through Strength and Reconciliation
My dear Muslim friend, former Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto, also loved Catholic nuns. She too was educated by them, in her predominately Muslim country. Benazir, like these sisters, was gunned down on December 27, 2007 by radical Islamist assassins. She wrote in her book "Reconciliation, Islam, Democracy and the West," that good people of all faiths must unite and work for good to conquer evil, only then will good prevail. Benazir's mother was Shiite from Iran and her father, also former Prime Minister of Pakistan was Sunni. He was executed by his successor desiring power, illustrating the strategy is exercised.
Interesting to note, the modern executions of Christians and Muslims undertaken by nefarious radical Islamist groups mirrors the 12th/13th century power grab strategy of "The Ismaili Assassins" using murdering terror as the tactic to be relevant for financial gain and to accomplish their goals. In "The Assassins" by Middle East expert Bernard Lewis, it is written, "The connection between the medieval Assassins and their modern counterparts are striking: The Syrian-Iranian connection; the calculated use of terror; the total dedication of the assassin emissary, to the point of self-immolation, in the service of his cause and in the expectation of heavenly recompense." Lewis advises that a notable difference from medieval times to today is the chosen victims targeted for execution were more often rulers, leaders and major religious functionaries of the existing order more than the ordinary people. Lewis further notes that in modern times targeting anyone deemed an apostate to their Islamic view is marked to be assassinated. Hence, the heartless execution of nuns and co-workers and kidnapping of a priest in a "Christian" hospice helps fulfill the goal for a strictly Islam- under Sharia Law nation.
Is The Holy Father Vindicating CEO Trump's Rhetoric?
Pope Francis clearly understands the historic significance of a medieval strategy attempting to destroy the world as we know it, and the need for all good people to unite to stop the violence. The Pope calls for change of hearts for human transformation. GOP Presidential Frontrunner Trump on the other hand calls for change of will and revised terms of engagement. Historically both paths are necessary for victory. Jesus taught to love enemies, turning the other cheek, standing ground. But Jesus proclaimed in the Gospel of Matthew, "Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword (of truth) Mt.10:34." Jesus directed humanity to choose sides, "good or evil." And, "good" He taught is the only path to peace, security and salvation.
History Repeats Evil with Complacency and Cowardice
The "lassez-faire" attitude in hardened hearts of nations and people is pervasive and disturbing. The Pope and concerned people hold that the media and the human race is becoming more and more insensitive to daily world news reports of slaughter, destruction and suffering. Christians are taught, "Those who do nothing about sin and evil, help the sin and evil to prevail. One who is silent when there are those around him in sin becomes a partaker with them (Ephesians 5:7)."
Remembering victims of The Holocaust in Europe, The Killing Fields in Cambodia or the Nanjing Massacre in China helps us realize people with hardened hearts perpetrating acts of evil must be held accountable in this world and the next. But we are also informed in Sacred Scripture, that those who observed and turned a "blind eye" to evil will answer on Judgment Day, or in some faith traditions attain "bad karma" by complacency and cowardice. In The Qur'an, it states in Al Hadid, "For those who give in 'Charity', men and women, and loan to Allah a beautiful loan, it shall be increased manifold (to their credit) And they shall have besides, a liberal reward (Surah57:18)." Clearly, execution and kidnapping as a "reward" for performing "Charity" is not in keeping with this Islamic teaching. But the teachings in The Qur'an are contradictory, arguably providing selective direction for what is preferred by individuals as Allah's will and cover for committing cowardice acts.
The tragic news about this murderous attack of the Missionaries of Charity came to me by text from a priest who also knew Mother Teresa personally, even celebrating Mass with her in Rome. Every chapel of Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity across the globe has the poignant words of Jesus next to The Crucifix, "I Thirst." Mother said that Jesus thirsts for the hearts and souls of humanity. Father Higgins recently celebrated 51 years as a Catholic priest helping families across America. He heard the news from a mutual friend who learned about it on Croatia news reports. Amazing that we had to find out through Croatia such an important story, germane to our own national security interests. America is focused only on political infighting amongst presidential candidates and occasionally what's going on in the Kardashian world. My reaction to the attacks was similar to when I received a call from Fox News on September 5, 1997 informing me of Mother Teresa's passing and requesting my comment, I cried and cried and cried. Overcome with sadness, I called the Missionaries of Charity in Los Angeles to share grief with the sisters nearby who help pregnant unmarried women and their babies. The names of the nuns who were murdered are, Sister Marguerite and Sister Reginat from Rwanda, Sister Judith from Kenya, and Sister Anselm who we knew from India. She like all of the M.C. sisters was a "living saint." They are all clones of Mother Teresa, overflowing with love for God and humanity.
I have never felt anything like it before until being in their holy presence. It's overwhelming, humbling and inspiring! Recalling the many trips made with family and team members to support the amazing work of these dedicated nuns, brothers and priests, inspired me to write about them, honoring the passing of these brave souls to Jesus. We visited M.C. homes across India, Mexico, Cuba, Cambodia, Grenada, Costa Rica, Israel and across America from Los Angeles to the Bronx, St. Louis to San Francisco and many more places of grace.
"What The World Needs Now Is Love, Sweet Love"
So many incredibly beautiful stories to share in a future treatise, but for now I feel compelled to remember one that hopefully opens eyes and hearts for people thirsting to love and to be loved. The Mother House of the Missionaries of Charity is in Calcutta. We were blessed to spend time with Mother Teresa there. Her nearby home for abandoned children, Shishu Bhavan, is where we met young Sister Charmaine. She joined the convent in her teens and had no formal medical training. Yet doctors from the best hospitals around the world came to learn from her the formula for hopeless cases of preemie babies surviving and thriving, becoming healthy babies and children. This joyful, brightly smiling nun in her blue and white sari, held a tiny, tiny baby that fit in the palm of her hand and she fed the baby with an eye dropper. She then placed the one-pound infant, like a baby chick, under a light warmer and most importantly she held, cuddled and sang prayers to the happiest gift from God.
In other words, the compassionate Sister simply loved the baby with all her heart- for life! Most of the babies brought to her by the police were providentially rescued from botched abortions or had been abandoned in the gutters by desperate mothers. After they are cared for by these loving nuns, they are adopted by loving Indian or international families without children. When thinking about Mother Teresa and her Missionaries of Charity, especially the four young nuns who sacrificed their lives in Yemen loving everyone there, the inspirational lyrics sung by Dionne Warwick came to mind. "What the world needs now is love, sweet love. It's the only thing that there's just too little of. No, not just for some, but for everyone."
Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, pray for Father Tom and us.
Brothers and Sisters, Alleluia. Amen.