True Compassion is an Action: stop the fatal love of suffering

From Mother Teresa and the fatal love of suffering

Unfortunately, there is a lot of suffering in this world. What should we do when we see someone suffering? To me the answer is simple: Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world. Work hard for the positive change in this world by combating suffering. To me that’s the true nature of compassion and empathy, morality and spirituality. I could never understand why so many religious leaders and ambassadors refuse to take action, opting for prolonging suffering on this planet. Mother Teresa’s work provides an example of that approach.

Hitchens-Mother-TeresaFrom Mother Teresa Was No Humanitarian

The myth of altruism and generosity surrounding Mother Teresa is dispelled in a paper by Serge Larivée and Genevieve Chenard of University of Montreal’s Department of Psychoeducation and Carole Sénéchal of the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Education.  These researchers collected 502 documents on the life and work of Mother Teresa. After eliminating 195 duplicates, they consulted 287 documents to conduct their analysis, representing 96% of the literature on the founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity (OMC). Their findings were very disturbing.

“At the time of her death, Mother Teresa had opened 517 missions welcoming the poor and sick in more than 100 countries. The missions have been described as “homes for the dying” by doctors visiting several of these establishments in Calcutta. People coming to these missions hoped to a find a doctor to treat them, but were left dying without receiving appropriate care. The doctors observed a significant lack of hygiene, even unfit conditions, as well as a shortage of actual care, inadequate food, and no painkillers. The problem is not a lack of money—the Foundation created by Mother Teresa has raised hundreds of millions of dollars—but rather a particular conception of suffering and death: “There is something beautiful in seeing the poor accept their lot, to suffer it like Christ’s Passion. The world gains much from their suffering,” was her reply to criticism, cites the journalist Christopher Hitchens. Nevertheless, when Mother Teresa required palliative care, she received it in a modern American hospital.”

“Mother Teresa was generous with her prayers but rather miserly with her foundation’s millions when it came to humanity’s suffering. During numerous floods in India or following the explosion of a pesticide plant in Bhopal, she offered numerous prayers and medallions of the Virgin Mary but no direct or monetary aid?”

How can people understand the compassion by silently witnessing suffering and refusing to provide any help? As David Hayward points out, “it’s one thing to suffer well, it’s another thing to invite it and then keep it long after it wants to go. It’s one thing to sit with others in their suffering, it’s another thing to let it continue when you have the power to change things.” Let’s get that right and stop prolonging the suffering on this planet. True compassion is an action.

From Expanding our Capacity for Kindness


25 thoughts on “True Compassion is an Action: stop the fatal love of suffering

  1. katelon says:

    Thanks for posting this. So many people held Mother Teresa up as such a great heroine and could never relate to her and felt like a traitor in feeling so. I felt like she continued that dangerous myth of the vow of poverty and the martyr archetype that Christianity so loves.

  2. paxgirl says:

    This definitely gave me some food for thought–as your posts often do! Thank you.

  3. Rob Harrison says:

    Nicely said. Define the pattern of the world we should stop conforming to?

    • Otrazhenie says:

      In this particular post, I’m talking about glorification of suffering, spreading false attitudes to suffering and inflicting more pain on fellow human beings. I believe that to be one of the patterns we should stop conforming to.

  4. Excellent post. Glad to see someone telling the truth about this strange and unpleasant woman who saw fit to socialise with the occasional dictator.

    • Otrazhenie says:

      Thanks for your comment. It always surprises me that in spite of the truth being known for so many years, a large number of people still believe that she was a true “Saint”. 😦

  5. cramercare says:

    Yes, thank you for saying this so well. Many people are surprised to hear these things, but it is important to know the reality. This brand of glorification of other people’s suffering is atrocious

  6. God'sNotDead says:

    Shocking, I’ve never heard anything like this! I think Mother Theresa did some good things, probably made mistakes too. But this just goes to show that you can’t idolize people. No one is perfect or even close!

    • Otrazhenie says:

      Very good point. Despite Mother Teresa’s way of caring for the sick by glorifying their suffering instead of relieving it, Serge Larivée and his colleagues point out the positive effect of the Mother Teresa myth: “If the extraordinary image of Mother Teresa conveyed in the collective imagination has encouraged humanitarian initiatives that are genuinely engaged with those crushed by poverty, we can only rejoice. It is likely that she has inspired many humanitarian workers whose actions have truly relieved the suffering of the destitute and addressed the causes of poverty and isolation without being extolled by the media.”

      However as you are saying, no one is perfect. She was only a human and all humans err… 😦

  7. kindadukish says:

    People should read the book that Christopher Hitchens wrote about Mother Teresa, it is a thorough critique of the woman and her appalling attitude to human suffering whilst banking millions of dollars from corrupt regimes and dictators.

  8. hello, interesting post – something knew nothing about. Something that bothers me is also how people weigh up if people are worth saving, i think all life is worth saving, everyone deserves a chance, we have been told in a different set of circumstances, that it would be a waste of someones resources to help, if help wasnt actively received – but isnt this a signal, that this person needs more help, like when you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated

  9. Just by the way, some sort of problem accessing wordpress over here in uk

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