Blessed Mother Teresa`s Feet

5 09 2008

On September 5th 197 she passed away.  She was beatified on October 19 2003.  Even though it is eleven years after her death many people around the world, even here in Japan recognize her face and know her name.  Of course in her beautiful smiling face we see holiness, we see God radiating through her.  There is a part of her though that is not well photographed but says just as much: her feet.

What caused her feet to become so deformed?  Selflessness.  She would wait until everyone else had selected the donated shoes giving them the best selection and leaving herself with the ill fitting ones.

source for the statement

So many things could be said about that photo but one I would like to add would be as follows.  In many countries including Japan women wear stylish shoes in order to look good.  These stylish shoes may casue them discomfort but they dismiss the pain because they are making themselves look attractive.  Blessed Mother Teresa sacrificed even her feet because she was thinking of others first.  A saintly shoes model sacrificing her feet for the right reasons.

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If you are still interested in reading I have one other personal observation to add.  Blessed Mother Teresa is an example of Catholic sacrificial living, living a life of service for the benefit of others and little concern for one`s self.  I am not aware of examples of that in Buddhism or Shinto here.  Of the varieties of Buddhism here none that I know of emphasize personal sacrifice solely for the good and benefit of others.  Buddhism here focuses on emptying oneself, to feel nothingness, to think nothing, to do it for me myself and I so that I may attain enlightenment.  Think of the yamabushi monks who sit under water falls and such.  Their suffering is not for the benefit of others but only focused on themselves and what they can gain from it.  From wikipedia

Yamabushi began as yamahoshi, isolated clusters (or individuals) of mountain hermits, ascetics, and “holy men”, who followed the path of shugendō, a search for spiritual, mystical, or supernatural powers gained through asceticism.

Further in the article

Shingon Buddhism was one of the primary sects of mikkyo (密教) or Esoteric Buddhism, according to which enlightenment is found through isolation, and the study and contemplation of oneself, as well as nature, and esoteric images called mandala.

Shinto is basically nature worship and the rituals focus on a good harvest and that kind of thing I am not aware of a great concern for helping others in it.

Catholicism has Jesus who says “leave everything and come follow me.”  While on that path some people He allows to have material gifts in life, nice gifts like gold, and silver, and plasma  tvs.  Others He leads on a path where they have less material goods.  Whichever path Jesus is leading us on we are called to be grateful for any material gifts He gives us, and generous with them too.  While some people may be very noticeable in their generosity of material goods others may be equally generous with their spiritual gifts for example through prayer or physical suffering.

That was just a couple of thoughts on sacrifice and generosity in Catholicism and Japanese Buddhism.  There is so much to say on the subject though Im sure it could fill a very long book.


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