The title of this book came from Malcolm Muggeridge’s infamous interview and subsequent 50-minute documentary on Mother Teresa. Muggeridge explains, in appropriate British fashion, how he felt the filming of the interview was flat, not the least bit compelling. In his words,
The verdict on the Mother Teresa interview was that, technically, it was barely usable, and there was for a while some doubt as to whether it was good enough for showing at all except late at night. In the end–again thanks to Oliver Hunkin–it was put out on a Sunday evening. The response was greater than I have known to any comparable programme… Muggeridge, p. 31
The authenticity of this truly wonderful ambassador of Christ won the day. People responded by sending donations and the interview was rebroadcast by demand with an even greater response. It’s interesting. There was no controversy, no mud slinging, no fingers pointed. Mother Teresa was purely authentic. She had committed her life to serving the poorest of the poor, seeing Jesus behind the pain and agony of disease and destitute. She led by doing, not by talking about doing and many others came to join a cause for Christian love.
Far beyond a social program, Mother Teresa offered the love of God to people who were tossed out, those who society wanted to forget.
Nowadays we have found medicine for leprosy and lepers can be cured. There’s medicine for TB and consumptives can be cured. For all kinds of diseases there are medicines and cures. But for being unwanted, except there are willing hands to serve and there’s a loving heart to love, I don’t think this terrible disease can ever be cured. –Mother Teresa (p. 99)
I have yet to find a copy of this interview, but I look forward to seeing it one day–or perhaps not. The words and description of the Sisters in action fill my mind with hope for honesty in the world.
The question that rattles around in my head: what do I do with this information? Do I pack up and move to Calcutta? Or Boston? Do I learn from her example and truly love people as God loves us all? At the very least I hope I have learned that each life matters to God and so it must matter to us. I must have willing hands to serve and a loving heart to love. Whatever inconveniences I encounter, as I surround myself with worldly comforts, pale in comparison to real life struggles and pain.
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40
Mother Teresa’s Way of Love
- On Love of God. Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand.
- On Prayer. Our activity is truly apostolic only in so far as we permit him to work in us and through us, with his power, with his desire, with his love. Love to pray–feel often during the day the need for prayer, and take trouble to pray.
- On Silence. We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness.
- On Holiness. I will renounce my will, my inclinations, my whims and fancies, and make myself a willing slave to the will of God.
- On Humility. Let there be no pride or vanity in the work.
- On Submission. True holiness consists in doing God’s will with a smile.
- On Suffering. Without our suffering, our work would just be social work, very good and helpful, but it would not be the work of Jesus Christ, not part of the Redemption.
- On Joy. Joy is prayer – Joy is strength – Joy is love – Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.
- On Kindness. Let no one ever come to you without coming away better and happier.
- On Our Lady. Let us as our Lady to make our hearts ‘meek and humble’ as her Son’s was.
- On Thoughtfulness. If you learn this art of being thoughtful, you will become more and more Christ-like, for his heart was meek and he always thought of others.
Daily Prayer for the Children’s Home
Dearest Lord, may I see you today and every day in the person of your sick, and, whilst nursing them, minister unto you. Though you hide yourself behind the unattractive disguise of the irritable, the exacting, the unreasonable, may I still recognize you, and say: ‘Jesus, my patient, how sweet it is to serve you.’
Take time to listen to someone. Slow down and hear that which surrounds you. Look, there is Jesus in the least, the lost and the lonely. He died for all. You know this if you are a Christ follower. Now, be Christ to someone else.
1 Something Beautiful for God: Mother Teresa of Calcutta, by Malcolm Muggeridge, Copyright © 1971 by The Mother Teresa Committee.