To be Who You are Called to Be

To Be Who You are Called to Be: In honor of Mother Teresa's Canonization. Daily Graces at
© 1986 Túrelio (via Wikimedia-Commons), 1986 / , via Wikimedia Commons. Text added by Kate Taliaferro 2016

I was talking with my father-in-law the other night about tomorrow’s canonization of Mother Teresa. This is a huge event for so many people, Catholic or otherwise. Mother Teresa’s example of love, service solidarity, charity, compassion, mercy, forgiveness, faith, persistence, resolve, (need I go on?) will resound throughout the centuries as generations to come will continue to learn from her and her incredible witness. My father-in-law made a comment I’ve heard many times said by many people in similar words: “Look at her, how can we possibly hope to compare?”

At first I was inclined to agree. Indeed, Mother Teresa is a woman who stands out among women. She dedicated her life to God and actively sought His direction. She followed where God called her, even when it meant giving up comforts and familiar faces. She continued her obedience even when she walked through her dark night of the soul, her belief never wavering even in the midst of an arid spiritual desert.

It is true, Mother Teresa did things that few human beings have done. She was willing to sacrifice what the world holds dear so that she could fully embrace those the world has rejected. It is without question that she is someone to be admired, to be looked up to and to be challenged by.

But, I challenge the sentiment that we need to compare ourselves to her. She can challenge us to live better lives, she can encourage us to detach from the things that keep us from following God and she certainly can call us to improve in areas we fall short of compassion and generosity. However, I am not called to be Mother Teresa. You are not called to be Mother Teresa. I am called to be Kate Taliaferro. You are called to be [say name here]. We each have a unique mission given to us by God to fulfill for the betterment of one another.

What makes Mother Teresa so magnetic, what makes her smiling wrinkled face and worn hands so inspiring, is that she truly became who God had called her to be. When God called, she was listening. When God moved, she responded. When God challenged, she continued to empty herself into His hands so that He could work in and through them.

Mother was always encouraging those she encountered to continue growing in who they are as children of God. A simple Google search offers a plethora of quotes, all which can be applied not to becoming more like Mother, but to growing in holiness on our own paths that God has laid out for us.

If you judge people, you have no time to love them.

There are no great things, only small things with great love. Happy are those.

Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.
Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.
If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
Peace begins with a smile..
Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.
I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love.
If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.

We are not all called to Calcutta, but we are called to love each person we encounter in our day. We are not all called to work with the sick or dying, but we all know someone who is weak in spirit, harboring sadness or despair, or struggling through life who is in need of our kindness. We are not all called to walk through the streets feeding the hungry, but we all probably know of a corner where a person in need is waiting for someone to look them in the eyes, acknowledging our common humanity, and offer them a meal. We may not be called to give up everything, but we are all definitely called to sacrifice something that is keeping us from a deeper relationship with Christ.

So I challenge you, like I challenge myself, be who you are called to be. Be inspired by Mother Teresa’s holiness, her faith and her obedience, not intimidated. Be encouraged by her joy, her compassion and her generosity, not disheartened. May her smile be a pathway to the you you are called to be.

To Be Who You are Called to Be: In Honor of Mother Theresa's canonization. Daily Graces at
Mother Teresa by India 7 Network via Flickr 2011 CC.

Daily Graces.

Advent Reflections – December 6, 2015

Open to Life: In Church Tradition

A society will be judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members; and among the most vulnerable are surely the unborn and the dying. – John Paul II

The Catholic Church has an actually very simple philosophy on life. Life is to be respected, valued and protected from conception until natural death. Each life, regardless of who that life is, where they live, what they do, is sacred. And yet, often the simplest things in life are also the most complicated and challenging.

It is easy to be open to the life that we desire. It is easy to be open to the planned child, the neighbor who offers to watch our dog while we are out of town, the parent who ages gracefully, the person who holds the door open at the grocery store. Openness to life on our terms is easy.

The Church, however, isn’t calling us to be open to only the easy life. Jesus did not say “Blessed are those who loved the lovely, the gentle, the kind and forgiving.” Instead, he challenged that only those who saw Him hungry, thirsty, naked, in prison and sick, and did something about it, those few will enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 25:31-46).

The Church’s understanding of being open to life is an outward motion. It’s about hands extended, reaching out to those in need to offer comfort, warmth, acceptance and mercy, even when we find it difficult to do so.

Mother Teresa was famous for her “Five Finger Prayer.” Holding up each finger on one hand, slowly say the words “You did it for Me.” How does this prayer, coupled with your understanding of “openness to life” challenge you to be more open to those you encounter today?

Happy Thanksgiving


Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within the reach of every hand. – Mother Teresa


Today we celebrate Thanksgiving. Today is a day when we slow down, gather together, and bring to mind the things that we are grateful for. For some this year, there will be many things to be thankful for. Others may struggle, perhaps it was a year of hardship, difficulty or loss. Each year is unique and therefore, each Thanksgiving is filled with different hopes, joys, and sorrows.

This beautiful quote from Mother Teresa is appropriate for today. Regardless of the year you have had, love is always in season. God is Love. God’s love for each of us is never ending, untiring and ever merciful. It is never out of season, it is always in style.

It is my hope and prayer today that you are able to find time to spend with God, our creator and lover. I hope that you are able to recognize that no matter the year you’ve had, God’s love has been with you and will continue to be. When we extend our hands in thanksgiving, we realize our loving God has already filled them.

Happy Thanksgiving