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Bishop remembers Mother Theresa’s advice to him

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Bishop Gabriel Reyes

ANTIPOLO City, Dec. 26, 2013—Celebrating the anniversary of his priestly ordination, a bishop remembers Blessed Mother Theresa’s personal advice to him on joy and loving the poor. 

“You must be a joyful bishop. You must be a happy bishop,” Bishop Gabriel Reyes of Antipolo quoted the hard-working nun based in Calcutta as saying when he specifically asked her for advice on how to be a good bishop when she was in Manila with then Pope Blessed John Paul II in 1981. 

The joy of Christ never runs out 

According to Bishop Reyes, who celebrated his 47th sacerdotal anniversary last December 21 with a holy mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage in Antipolo, she also asked him to try “his best” to love the poor. 

Reflecting on these words, Bishop Reyes said, “There is something we can always give [the poor] and that is the joy of Christ.” 

Bl. Mother Theresa said, the faithful can always try their best to provide the poor with food, clothing and shelter, but sometimes, it will never be enough. This is when sharing the joy of Christ never ends. 

According to Bishop Reyes, Mother Theresa said, leaders have a specific power to spread joy among the people they serve. 

“You go there and some people are miserable and you also look miserable…[That’s why you should] give them the joy of Christ. That joy is based on our faith in God,” Bishop Reyes recalled her saying. 

Too humble 

Recalling the light-hearted conversation, Bishop Reyes, who is also the chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, said, Bl. Theresa was at first too humble to want to give outright advice. 

“You know that more than I do! You were the one made bishop, not me,” he remembered her saying. 

After decades, Bishop Reyes still recalls almost verbatim Bl. Theresa’s gracious words and how she was “very happy” about his appointment as bishop and her promises of prayers for him. 

Bishop Reyes will be celebrating his 33rd year as bishop this coming April 21. [Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz]


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