Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | January 20, 2009

Unexpected Tears

   En Route to Kolkata via Dubai

   After several months of prayer and anticipation, I am finally en route to Kolkata. As our plane picked up speed on runway 33 North at Bush Intercontinental Airport, I reflected on when this trip really started. Several months ago while in Nigeria, I stopped by a bookstore and purchased a copy of Mother Teresa’s biography to read on my flight home. Like most people, I only knew Mother Teresa as the Catholic nun who had devoted her life to caring for the poorest of the poor in Kolkata. I didn’t know much more about her. However, as I read her biography I gained a profound respect and appreciation for this tiny woman who left a huge legacy to the world. I had to know more, so in the next two months I read six more books and a number of articles about her.

   I discovered that Mother Teresa was passionately in love with Jesus and had a profoundly intimate walk with Him. She desired nothing more than to please Him in all respects and accepted nothing less than total commitment to Him. She was especially moved by His concern for and identification with the least of these (Matthew 25:31-46). As a result, she walked the streets of Kolkata looking for Jesus in His many distressing disguises. She fed the hungry, clothed the naked, and cared for the sick as though she were doing it for Jesus Himself. She challenged those who worked with her to do the same.

   One day Mother Teresa came upon a woman dying on the streets. She took the woman with her and offered her a bed so that the poor woman could die with a measure of peace and human dignity. That act of compassion led her to open Nirmal Hriday, a home for the dying, in 1952. Later, she opened Shishu Bhavan, the first of a series of homes to care for abandoned children. Homes for lepers, people with AIDS, and unwed mothers soon followed. The Order of the Missionaries of Charity grew as more and more joined her in caring for the least of these. Today, thousands of volunteers from all over the world continue to serve the least of these through the many homes she started.

   I am no stranger to the sight of extreme poverty and suffering. Over the years, I have visited displacement camps in northern Darfur, crawled into the sewers of Ulan Bataar where throw-away kids struggle to survive, walked among lepers and the blind in Nigeria, looked with disbelief at beggars with grotesque deformities on the streets of Dhaka, and more. I have seen a lot of human suffering from a relatively sterile distance. And, I have always returned to my comfortable home. But, this trip will be different for me because its exclusive focus is the least of these. In a short while, my life will intersect with those who have lived a lifetime with nothing – the poorest of the poor. And, I will meet Mother Teresa’s nuns who have denied themselves the comforts I enjoy in order to better identify with the poor they serve. I have so much to learn.

   As we flew over the Atlantic I re-read one of Mother Teresa’s books and welcomed unexpected tears as I contemplated her life. Her love for Jesus led her to love people. She fed the hungry and clothed the naked and cared for the sick because she understood that even the least of these bear the image of God. And, because each person is created in the image of God, they possess the inherent dignity and value that accompanies it. Our world needs those who, like Mother Teresa, are willing to compassionately incarnate the gospel and affirm the worth of others through unconditional acts of love and kindness. Thanks for your prayers for me and for my friends Jon and Holloway as we continue our journey.


  1. Omar,

    I appreciate a lot to keep learning about her life, actions, & works.

    Thank you for keep updating. This is a great thing for me to learn from my computer at home. And go out for doing actions of practice!

    We have an opportunity to learn from mother Teresa, how she done for the people who had needed real loves. She loved those people who need it. So that I am trying to say that, those we are think that, we are flowers of Jesus. We could do same as mother Teresa did for the people, those are created by image of God.

    She shown us that how obey Jesus commends. I think that she understood well Matt 25:34-40 and this teachings of Jesus she done practicing by her self a lot with many other verses about the poverty.

    So that, I am trying to say again, you and I, we do not have time any more, to careless for the people of the world who needed you attentions. We should be very much sensitive for those people who needed helps & expects from me and you.

    So many people are dies today without Jesus. For those people we are responsible to share them Jesus who had still a life. Each of us, we had a lots of works in this world.

    Thanks for reading a little bit big article.

    Dahaka, Bangladesh

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