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Does She Make Us Feel Ashamed? - September 10, 1997

Richard Brian McCarty

While the world poured out its grief over the death of Princess Diana in an almost infatuated manner, one of the giants of the Twentieth Century died quietly in her Calcutta home. Mother Teresa, 87, passed away as the world mourned for Diana. The news of Mother Teresa's death was a distant second to the continuing coverage of " A Death of a Princess." Perhaps that is the way Mother Teresa wanted it.

In life, Mother Teresa gave every praise she received to God and to those who were around her. Yet her faith and will brought comfort and love to thousands upon thousands of lives. Her work in Calcutta brought love and some comfort to those she called " the poorest of the poor." She lived the words of Christ.

Yet, Mother Teresa was an 87 year old woman without charming looks. Though she and Diana may both be hailed as humanitarians by the media, it is the differences in them that will make Mother Teresa's death less covered than Diana's.

Mother Teresa led a simple, if not boring personal life. She made a vow to God and kept it. People, especially those making mega-media decisions, can not identify with that. Further, she found no excuse not to exercise her faith. As a result, she butted heads with pro-choice activists and humanitarian relief agencies that provided more hype than relief.

Mother Teresa worked among the miserable and diseased in Calcutta, and then around the world. People who suffered from the last stages of AIDS and other horrible diseases knew they were loved by someone with the help of Mother Teresa and her order. She wanted no personal wealth or gratitude. She did not care who said what about her. She was committed to doing things most of us can not imagine doing--such as changing bloody and soiled clothes, and bringing love to hopeless children who lay dying from diseases. Even old and in poor health, she continued to do God's work for those in need. She would not use old age as an excuse.

While most of the world complains about what they can not do for others, Mother Teresa touched thousands. While people wondered about God, Mother Teresa decided to find Him and be close to Him. She did so with the humility few in the Christian community, much less the rest of the world, can honestly claim to have. It's only fitting that this simple woman die while the world is obsessed with the passing of one of the most complicated characters of the latter Twentieth Century.

The lingering questions after Diana's death revolve around the British monarchy and the tabloid press. People are quick to add their opinions on both and what should be done. But, there is not much reaction on how to carry on the works of Mother Teresa, or of Diana for that matter.

Perhaps discussing how to carry on what Mother Teresa done in her life is not discussed roundly because it shames us. It would force our world to face what we are. How many of us would give up wealth? How many of us would bathe an AIDS patient? We simply can not identify with that. It is beyond us, not like us. It shames us when we gripe or complain about our lives. Most of us can not comprehend what the thought process of total commitment to God and good is all about. For that reason, the world will mourn Mother Teresa, but not mourn her the way it did Diana. For in Diana, the world lost one of its own tragically. In Mother Teresa, God decided to call due our loan of one of His.

Richard Brian McCarty has worked on several political campaigns of conservatives. He holds a Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina and a BS degree from Lander University. An experienced writer, McCarty's columns are written from a distinctly Southern point of view. He is sometimes Southern, sometimes conservative, sometimes humorous, and sometimes all three.

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