Helping the Meek Inherit

When Mother Teresa was accused by a Hindu fundamentalist of converting Hindus to Catholicism, she made a typically blunt, unorthodox reply:

"I do convert," she told her biographer. " I convert you to become a better Hindu or Moslem or Buddhist or Protestant. When you have found God it is up to you to do with Him what you wish."

What she wished was that individuals find a way to follow the teaching and example of religious leaders: to love their brother as themselves - to help the needy. Particularly to practice the healing touch for those most in need, as she did throughout her life.

The founder of this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote at the passing of Pope Leo XIII what could equally be said of the Albanian-born nun who ministered to the poorest of the poor in Calcutta - that she is "the loved and lost of many millions. I sympathize with those who mourn, but rejoice in knowing our dear God comforts such with the blessed assurance that life is not lost; its influence remains in the minds of men..."

It's significant that the influence of both Princess Diana and Mother Teresa has been so strong in the minds of ordinary men and women that queens and governments have been forced to take notice. The outpouring of respect, affection, and introspection in Britain, India, and the larger world for these two quite different women, who practiced what all too many just talk, is important. It speaks of a search deep in people's hearts for what Diana's brother Charles called "genuine goodness" to accompany mankind's material and intellectual achievements.

Now it is up to the hundreds of millions who poured out their respect to practice in daily life some form of the goodness they admired. To do that beyond these two weeks in September would be a fitting memorial.

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