Perhaps not since the sudden assassination of John Kennedy did the western world receive a jolt such as upon hearing that their beloved Princess Diana had died in a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997. This date soon became etched in the collective memories of millions of people as they vividly recalled where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news. For days after her tragic death, millions upon millions of people were in a state of shock and mourning.
On September 5, 1997 in a hospital in Calcutta, India Mother Teresa died of heart failure. Her health had been in decline for years and she had recently given up her position as head of the charities she founded. Despite being 87 years old, those who knew her and especially those who received help from her were devastated by her loss. Unfortunately, most of the world was glued to the funeral of Princess Diana on the 6th of September.
I have nothing against princess Diana, but the question that begs to be answered is why most people vividly remember the events of August 31st through September 6th as they unfolded in Paris and London but hardly anyone could tell you where Mother Teresa served and when she died. Which of these two women did more for more people? Which of these two women better exemplified Jesus Christ through their life's activities and missions?
The world remembers Princess Diana because of its fascination with royal families and especially the soap opera that took place with Diana and Prince Charles. Why people like my mom were enthralled by what took place in England is beyond me. She was more interested in what was going on with the Royal family than what was taking place in Washington D.C. My mom wasn't alone in her preoccupation with such matters.
It is estimated that 2.5 BILLION people watched Princess Diana's funeral. That is over one third of the world's population. No one knows how many people watched Mother Teresa's funeral, but it surely numbered in the MILLIONS and certainly not the billions.
Everyday throughout this world there are millions upon millions of people suffering. Those of us living in the prosperous parts of this world have no clue what it is like to face each day not knowing if there will be enough food to keep another child from dying. We have no clue what it means to live in slums where millions of people have no safe drinking water, nowhere near enough food to survive and where diseases shorten people's lifespan to maybe 30 years if they are lucky.
I believe the terms should be reversed regarding the two women who died in 1997. I believe Teresa was the true princess and Diana was a good mother. I pray that the generation which is just now reaching the age they can learn about great people who lived before them will take the time to study and learn about the amazing acts of charity Mother Teresa did in one of the ugliest places on earth, Calcutta India.
From what I have heard, those who did meet Mother Teresa were never the same afterward. They were humbled by the commitment in her heart to serve and help others. They were stricken in their heart at their own selfishness and self-serving view of life. They were brought to their knees and many times brought to tears as they witnessed firsthand what it takes to reach out and love the unlovable and help the desolate and rejected.
Even now, if I had the means I would gladly follow in her footsteps. I would find nothing more rewarding in this life than devoting it to helping those who have nothing or have lost everything. I pray that we all never lose sight of what this life is really all about, and that is our attitude of service to those we meet and to those less fortunate than us. I pray that we all can rise up to be as humble, giving and willing as Mother Teresa was.
Thank you and as always, Blessings 2 You!
I was not one of the 2.5 billion but I understand what you mean. Strangely enough, I remember where I was when I heard the news of Princess Diana's car accident though I could not tell you for certain where I was when I learned of her death. It might have been in the exact same spot for I don't remember how long it was before the news was released. I remember hearing of Mother Theresa's death the day it happened but I could not possibly tell you where I was or what I was doing.
I have a feeling that the "greatest" of saints in Heaven will be "the unknowns" who never sought fame but just simply went about doing their business as God directed them. They are truly faithful servants! May we all strive to emulate them as well.