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!
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.