How Has Mother Teresa Inspired You?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Catholics worldwide celebrate the centennial of Mother Teresa

From the August 22, 2010, issue of OSV Newsweekly

by Mary DeTurris Poust

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s simple yet profound spirituality, which calls us all to holiness, still resonates today, a century after her birth
Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta was in many ways a study in contrasts. The diminutive founder of the Missionaries of Charity was at once the epitome of humility and yet a towering figure in the world at large. She was the definition of compassion toward others while taking on tremendous sufferings and sacrifices. She struggled with darkness in her own prayer life but remained a beacon of light to others. She promoted a spirituality that was on its surface so simple but at its core so profound.

It would be easy to get caught up in the awesomeness of Mother Teresa and think that what she preached was beyond anything that “regular” people could practice. But the real message of this “saint of the gutter,” whose 100 th birthday will be celebrated with much fanfare and some controversy around the world on Aug. 26, was that we are all called to be saints, and we can begin right where we are at this moment.

Small things with love

“Holiness is not the luxury of the few, it is a simple duty for each one of us,” she once said, emphasizing that peace and love and compassion must begin first at home, among the people closest to us.

Her writings on how to love God, serve others and live out the spirituality she taught are compiled in a new book, “Where There Is God, There Is Love” (Random House, $24), edited by Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, postulator of Mother Teresa’s cause for canonization and director of the Mother Teresa Center, which has offices in California, Mexico, India and Italy. Read the remainder of the article here»
Learn more about Blessed Mother Teresa on»

Monday, August 17, 2009

Conversion Diary blog on Secret Fire

From Jennifer Fulwiler's blog, Conversion Diary:

"Last night I was reading the excellent book Mother Teresa's Secret Fire by Joseph Langford, and I came across this inspiring passage that I thought I'd share:

[Her letters] show a Mother Teresa not unlike the rest of us, as we struggle to answer the promptings of grace that nudge us beyond ourselves. Unfortunately, when faced with new challenges our first response is often negative, as we listen instead to the voice that insists we cannot change....

Read the remainder of Jennifer's entry here»

Get your own copy of Mother Teresa's Secret Fire by clicking here»

Friday, February 20, 2009

Excerpt from Mother Teresa: In the Shadow of Our Lady

By Father Joseph Langford.
Excerpt from the Introduction, "A Light Shining in the Darkness"
"Mother Teresa? A female Albert Schweitzer with nothing much to say...." That is how the "Saint of Calcutta" has so often been seen, even by those who admire her. Thanks to thirty thousand pages of documents gathers for her canonization, a fuller and more nuanced picture of Mother Teresa's inner world is coming to light. What we find is a grand kaleidoscope of surprising depth and richness, a mix of colors, even of darkness and light, which yield their beauty only by being seen together. To attempt to describe Mother Teresa in a few broad strokes by holding up one or another aspect of her life or work without reference to the whole is to fail to grasp who she was.
Mother Teresa lived with her heart in the heavens and her hands buried in the worst this world could offer. She managed not only to live at both poles of this soul-stretching axis, but to wed them, to make them one in Christ, such that Calcutta became a gateway to Jerusalem. She worked this miracle not only in herself, but in all those she touched -- the poor, her own Sisters, and the many volunteers and acquaintance of every faith (and none) who found themselves in her orbit. For all of these, through the challenge of her inward night, she spanned darkness and light, pain and love, riches and pverty, even the trappings of heaven and hell, that we might do the same.
From Mother Teresa: In the Shadow of Our Lady, by Father Joseph Langford, MC, Copyright © 2007, Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, Our Sunday Visitor, Inc. All rights reserved. Order online here»

Monday, January 26, 2009

Read an exerpt from 'Mother Teresa's Lesson of Love and Secrets of Sanctity'

From the book by Susan Conroy, is here an excerpt entitled, "We Are Called to be Faithful"»

Some people who visit the Home for the Dying naturally are upset about the way this place is run, the quality of medical attention, and the overall conditions. I was not at issue with the goings-on, because I was more attuned to the spiritual side of what was happening there — the love, the peace, the joy, the tenderness with which the patients were cared for — more than the medical side, which was not the least bit “high tech,” but neither was it meant to be. As Mother Teresa has said in the past, “God has not called me to be successful; He has called me to be faithful.” To me, it was a beautiful place, a place where people died in peace with God after being loved and cared for like angels. “I don’t want the work to become a business, but to remain a work of love,” Mother Teresa said. And that is what her work was and continues to be.
Mother Teresa was once asked: “Why do you give them fish to eat? Why don’t you give them a rod to catch the fish?” She responded: “But my people can’t even stand. They’re sick, crippled, demented. When I have given them fish to eat and they can stand, I’ll turn them over and you give them the rod to catch the fish!”9 She felt that we each have a role to play in serving those in need. She understood that there are many different levels of service, each of them important. Mother Teresa personally was called to serve at the level where people could not even help themselves; she was called to do work that was essential, and to do work that most of us would never care to do. Read the rest here»

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Father Langford interviewed on C-SPAN

"Father Joseph Langford talked about his book Mother Teresa's Secret Fire: The Encounter That Changed Her Life and How It Can Transform Your Own (Our Sunday Visitor; October 15, 2008). Mother Teresa referred to September 10, 1946, as Inspiration Day, but did not speak about her experience until she shared it with Father Langford in 1984 as they co-founded the Missionaries of Charity Fathers. He was interviewed at the 2008 National Book Club Fair."
See the interview here»

Order Mother Teresa's Secret Fire here»

Visit Our Sunday Visitor's Mother Teresa web site, with a wealth of excerpts, articles, and multimedia, here»

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Happy Catholic blogs about Mother Teresa's Secret Fire

Read Julie's post "10,000 Hours, Prayer, and Mother Teresa" here»
An excerpt: "I meant to only read one chapter but was drawn on and on. It is written that way, so simple but compelling at the same time. The book tells us of how Mother Teresa was transformed by God and then leads us to consider how we are called for that same sort of transformation. The chapter about the mystery of prayer didn't hit me like a brick but gently was integrated into my previous thinking as a natural progression. The following excerpts are cobbled together from the chapter to give you a taste. In a nutshell let me give you this summary: "What can be more important than prayer?"

Also from Happy Catholic, "Just How Much Does God Love You?"»

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Father Langford's Washington Post Article

Father Langford wrote an article for Advent for the Washington Post (Dec. 23, 2008):

"Mother Teresa and God's Recovery Plan"

While the challenges of Mother Teresa's life may seem to have little to do with us in 21st Century America, this may be less and less the case in years to come, as the many-sided specter of crisis looms over our nation and world.
Who will teach us to deal with these previously unknown trials? What solutions will there be for us--besides escape, the hollow promises of a prosperity gospel, or the secret of "attracting abundance"? Mother Teresa's secret was quite another: more robust, reliable, and real; born of the most powerful force in the universe--the only One to have faced death and overcome it forever. The God-man whose light shines still gentle and strong in our collective night.
As the years go by, Mother Teresa's challenges may seem less foreign and her solutions more meaningful, even vital. Our common human plight has become our bond with her.
She would tell us that we are each equipped by God to not only survive our personal Calcutta, but to serve there--to contribute to those around us whose personal night intersects our own. If she could face the worst of human suffering, all the while bearing her own pain, then we can do the same in the lesser Calcutta that is ours.
She has taught us the divine alchemy that turns our personal hardships into compassion for others, our lack of material goods into wealth of spirit, and, should it come to that, the loss of our standard of living into the chance to become what ease and abundance would never have allowed us to be.
Mother Teresa's lessons will prepare us, as no political or economic programs can, to live through our trials with grace, and to turn them into blessings for others. If this simple, humanly un-extraordinary woman could have filled Calcutta's slums with such love and energy and ingenuity, then we can learn to do the same in our life, no matter what may come.
The history of those whom we call the saints reaches back to the beginning of all things, when on the first day God said, "Let there be light." This does not refer to the light of the sun, which was not created until the fourth day, but to God's own light. Adam and Eve were created to inhabit and embody that first light. According to Jewish tradition, after the Fall, God left a trace of original glory on the body of Adam and Eve. At the tip of their hands and feet, God left slivers of flesh dipped in light, translucent tokens of that first light that is still our destiny. Something as humble as fingernails would be God's reminder to us of the transparency that once was ours, and of the light from which, and for which, we were made.
The saints of today, like Mother Teresa, are sent for this same purpose. They are that small sliver of humanity, dipped in God, that still shines with his light. Their lives beckon us back, calling us to our senses and our source, as God called out to Adam after the Fall, "Where are you?" They reflect here and now the luminous face of our first parents, coming forth fresh from the hand of God.
Witnessing to this light in the midst of darkness would become the focus of Mother Teresa's entire vocation. God sent her to "be his light" in Calcutta's night, the dimensions of which transcend mere geography. She was asked to share this universal "night" in her own soul, and she did so without wavering. It is precisely her share in this inner night that made her not just a teacher, but a guide--a companion on our own journey into light.
Read it on the Washington Post site»
Order Mother Teresa's Secret Fire here»