Smile.

 

 

Saint Teresa of Calcutta. I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Mother Teresa was canonized on September 4th. This amazing lady, who died a few months after I was born, is now a canonized Saint. It’s incredible!

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I know many people who have had a devotion to her for years, and that’s awesome.

She’s someone who I’ve grown up hearing about, how we know the priest who gave her the Last Rites, how she won the Nobel Peace prize, how humble she was, how amazing she was, and the list continues for a mile.

Do you know what my favorite thing about (St.) Mother Teresa is though?

Mother Teresa had many fantastic messages and she shared lots of words of wisdom, yet there’s one I found while I was looking up quotes from her for a talk I was asked to give that I found astoundingly awesome, and incredibly simple.

She spoke about smiling. The power of a smile.

How a smile is the beginning of peace:

“Peace begins with a smile..” – St.  Teresa of Calcutta

How powerful is that? Do you think peace can really begin with a smile?

Have you ever had a bad day, and then someone smiled at you and the day became better? Was your heart more at peace after the tough day at school when you came home and saw your mom’s smile? Maybe. Maybe not. Thing is – your smile is powerful.

Why is a smile so powerful?

Let’s ask St. Teresa…

“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”

A smile, as she so eloquently put, is an action of love, a truly beautiful thing to behold. It is a gift.

Often we wish we had more to give. Yet we hold in the simplest gift of all. That of a smile.

Maybe you can’t do anything for somebody but smile and show that you care. Maybe you’ll touch someone’s heart by smiling at them as you commute to school, work, or wherever. Think about how much better a place the world could be if we all shared smiles instead of frowns.
I think it’d be beautiful.

If that’s a lot to ask, then maybe start with people you interact with. Teachers? Classmates? Coworkers? Your annoying sibling?
If we desire to share a gift, an action of love, with those around us – we become the living expression of God’s kindness, as St. Teresa puts it…

“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”

And when it’s difficult to smile – smile all the more! Why?

“Let us make one point, that we meet each other with a smile, when it is difficult to smile. Smile at each other, make time for each other in your family.” 

Smile when it’s difficult. Your smile might make other people smile. It might be the one bright spot in somebody’s awful day. A smile is a gift. It is a sharing of love – and therefore a sharing of God and God’s love with one another. 

We should greet one another with a smile.

“Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.” 

And when we give, we should give with a smile too:

“The person who gives with a smile is the best giver because God loves a cheerful giver.”

 It is something so simple that we might not ever think of it.  Have you ever thought about how your smile could transform someone? She speaks of the way smiles can bring peace, love, beauty, and not just bring  those things but spread them. 

Smile. I love that.

So, smile at someone tomorrow. If they ask you why you’re smiling – say you’re following Mother Teresa’s advice.

St. Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us.

~
Catherine

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A New School Year

Hello, Heroic Catholics!

I’m wrapping up my second week of my Sophomore Year of college. So far, so good. My classes seem simple enough, not too much homework, and I’m starting to make some cool friends.

With the start of a new school year here, it’s important that we’re ready for everything the year brings. Dealing with teachers, annoying classmates, traffic on sidewalks (Thank you, Pokemon Go players!), and the ways people challenge your faith.

It’s not always in a big way, but it’s there. So far this year 2 of my classes have brought up the Catholic Church and its impact on various things. Some of the information they said was correct, some was stretching the truth, and some was flat out wrong.

How do you handle that? Or if a friend starts talking to you and attacks or questions your faith, what do you do?

What you don’t do is this:

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Or this:

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(#WHOLOCK)

And DEFINITELY not this:

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Okay? Cool. Let’s talk about the first situation I mentioned. The professor/teacher says something about Catholicism that is flat out wrong or partially true…

 

 

You can sit there and do nothing.

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You can raise your hand
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and politely ask for clarification:
“Prof. Sherlock, when you said that 2+2=5, are you talking about an extremely large value of 2 or did I hear you wrong?”

 

You can email your teacher/professor after class, politely asking for clarification and explaining your knowledge on the subject:

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“Dear Prof. Sherlock,
Today in class you wrote on the board that in the year 1995 the first Harry Potter book came out. I’m a little confused – for the release date online and everywhere I’ve looked says 1997.
Thanks,
Doctor. Who”

If your class is discussion oriented, bring it up if it fits! If you feel comfortable talking in front of the class about it and explaining it, fantastic. But that’s not most people. That’s not even me usually. I’d go for the email route or meeting with the professor after class.

Remember to be polite, sincere, and know they might just ignore you or choose to not do anything.

If you consistently have an issue with a professor or teacher about incorrect information, or if they refuse to listen or anything, your’e done your job so you can walk away. Maybe drop the course if you just see it as being one that will do nothing for you except make you mad. Turn up your collar and walk out:

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Now for friendly fire….you’ve been friends with this person since day one of classes, or maybe you met them at lunch, maybe they’ve been your friend since kindergarten – and now they’re attacking your faith. What do you do?

This?
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I’d highly recommend not.

Maybe this?

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I don’t know the dynamics of your friendships – but I wouldn’t recommend this either.

Just talk to them. Be nice about it. Find common ground if you can – if they’re asking you about Papal infallibility, you can agree that the Pope is not infallible when talking about who is going to win the next Quidditch match, he might say Hufflepuff when really..
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Common ground. Cool?

Then ask for clarification. As if that’s what they mean, did they mean they thought the Pope was infallible in all matters? They might go:
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Then you have your chance to figure out what they meant, and explain the truth of the matter – the Pope is only infallible when talking on matters of faith and mortals, as shown in scripture and carried down through the tradition of the Church.

They might go:
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Because your awesome Catholic geekness was, in fact, awesome.
Or they could go:
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Either way, good job.

Simple steps:
Common ground
LISTEN
Clarify (this goes with listening)
Explanation.

Heroic Catholics – you’ve got this school thing down. If you ever find yourself not knowing what to say or how to respond to someone, of if you just need to rant about how this professor doesn’t understand that the Canon of the Catholic Bible was decided upon in the 4th century and NOT at the council of Trent in the 1500s….shoot me an email. Comment here.

The main thing I want you to know is that there are answers out there for any question someone has and reasons for why the Church did what she did/behaved how she behaved throughout history.

And remember:
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