Wednesday, 5 October 2011

heroes: Mother Teresa

After supper last evening, we talked about heroes. Who are your heroes? One who always comes to mind for me is Mother Teresa. I had the chance to meet her in 1995 while I was in India.

I enlarged the photo on the left so that it focuses on that wonderful face, and those strong, worn, gentle hands. I keep this photo in my kitchen to remind me of what's important in life. 

I admire Mother Teresa and her tireless efforts to work with, and bring the world's attention to, the poor. Many of the things she wrote are inspiring, and here are a few that resonate with me:

"Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal."

"I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples."

"I'm a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world."

"People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, People may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway."

These are all lovely quotes, but I'm reading "Come Be My Light" by Mother Teresa right now, and I almost like it better than these uplifting writings. It's her correspondence with others about her dark nights of the soul, her doubts, her lack of belief, her struggles and spiritual dryness. And it didn't seem like it was a blip here and there, but there were long years, even decades, of pain and darkness in her soul.

Who would have known that this sweet, smiling nun was struggling so? But it gives me courage and pause - her optimistic writings give me hope, but even more, these sad laments do too. Comfort that I'm not alone in my doubts.


  1. I so wish we lived closer so we could get together for a cup of tea. So many questions I have.... Like where does doubt come from? Maybe since I have a renewed faith in God, that you are in part have helped me find, I don't yet understand the struggles one can have... Think I'll read Come Be By My Light.

  2. I'd love to go for tea, Pam. I don't know where doubt comes from, but I welcome it. I don't think of it as the opposite of faith, but something that can make faith stronger. I think I actually like doubt in a weird and wonderful way.