Feast of St. Mother Teresa September 5

In the fall of 1985 in Chicago, I was able to spend a few minutes with St. Mother Teresa. I asked her what she considered to be the number 1 urgency in the United States. She was sitting, bent over almost until her head touched her knees and stayed in that position about 20 long seconds. She emerged from this deep concentration and said three time: “Freedom of heart; freedom of heart; freedom of heart .” As usual, everything coming from the mouth of Mother no matter how secular had supernatural content. And by “supernatural content” I mean relationality.In a word, everything had to be for the others. There could be nothing for the self. Why? Because we are made in the image and likeness of the Son of the living God. Read the theology of the “Son” by Ratzinger (“Introduction to Christianity” Ignatius (1990) 138:

“The Son as Son, and in so far as he is Son, does not proceed in any way from himself and so is completely one with the Father; since he is nothing beside him, claims no special position of his own, confronts the Father with nothing belonging only to him, retains no room for his own individuality, therefore he is completely equal to the Father. The logic is compelling: if there is nothing in which he is just he, no kind of fenced-off private ground, then he coincides with the Father, is ‘one’ with him. It is precisely this totality of interplay that the word ‘Son’ aims at expressing. To John ‘Son’ means being-from-another; thus with this word he defines the being of this man as being from another and for others, as a being that is completely open on both sides, knows no reserved area of the mere ‘I. ‘When it thus becomes clear that the being of Jesus as Christ is a completely open being, a being ‘from’ and ‘towards,’ that nowhere clings to itself and nowhere stands on its own, then it is also clear at the same time that this being is pure relation (not substantiality) and, as pure relation, pure unity. This fundamental statement about Christ becomes, as we have seen, at the same time the explanation of Christian existence. To John, being a Christian means being like the Son, becoming a son; that is, not standing on one’s own and in oneself, but living completely open in the ‘from’ and ‘towards.’ In so far as the Christian is a ‘Christian,’ this is true of him. And certainly such utterances will make him aware as to how small an extent he is a Christian.12

   The key to living poverty according to the spirit of Opus Dei is work. Man was created to subdue the earth, and to subdue the earth, he had to subdue himself: The “I” mastering the “I.” By mastering self and the earth, man enters into possession of self and the subdued earth. He possesses private property now as he possess himself. But since man is not made for himself – as the Son of God Whom he images is not “for” Himself – man must make a gift of himself and the subdued earth to her. The “other” to begin with is the woman whom God created to accompany man since man, finding himself to be alone as “I” in a universe of “it” (things), man, in giving himself to the woman, also must give the fruit of his work. In a word, work has a social mortgage by the ontological dynamic of the human person as image (relation) of the Son. And in passing, the “work” of the enfleshed Son is the obedience of Himself on the Cross that destroys the disobedience of sin (which is the turning back to self).

   And so, the freedom of heart of St. Mother Teresa is to be achieved in the spirit of Opus Dei by work in the mastery of self and self gift to others. By going out of self, one becomes “free.” The Trinity is a triple freedom of Self-giving. The Father is the engendering of the Son; the Son is the obeying of the Father to death; the Spirit is the mutual self-giving of the Two. God is total freedom as Gift, i.e. Love. To love is to be free.

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