Tag Archives: mother teresa

Prayers of the Saints: A New Prayer Resource with Christian Masters


Zechariah father of John the Baptist

Augustine of Hippo

St. Francis of Assisi

St. Teresa of Avila

St. John of the Cross

Ignatius of Loyola

St. Therese of Lisieux

Evelyn Underhill

Thomas Merton

Adrian van Kaam

Mother Teresa

What it Takes to See the Image of God in Others

Wisdom for centuries has challenged us to see the image of God in others.  The earliest Jewish and Christian texts point us there and the spiritual masters do too.  They tell us to look carefully and find the hidden nobility planted in each person we meet.

Reverence for human personality marked the ministry of Mother Teresa:

All my time belongs to others, because in dedicating myself with all my heart to the suffering, it is Jesus whom we serve in his disfigured face, for he himself has said: “You have done it for me”…

Another master, John Wesley, pointed this out to us too:

“You have well night lost your zeal for works of mercy as well as of piety.  You once pushed on through cold or rain, or whatever cross lay your in your way, to see the poor, the sick, the distressed.  You found out every scene of human misery, and assisted according to your power: Each form of woe your generous pity moved; Your Saviour’s face you saw, and, seeing, loved.

So why do we find it so difficult?   Why when it comes to our ordinary, everyday lives, do we have problems seeing the image of God in the homeless, in the rich, in jails even in communities of faith?  True, we humans leave a lot to be desired. If we are honest, we must admit that even after trying hard, we all struggle to see even the image of God in ourselves.

So how do we get there?  Do we focus on our nobility first? On others?  Like any virtue, we can not change ourselves.  We have to join in the ancient flow of the universe, which seeks to make us into people of faith, hope, and love.  This means keeping our eyes and ears open to the messages embedded in every disappointment and joy we encounter.  Yet, we can also join in the process.  We can first come to realize that all is not well if we struggle in this arena.  We can mediate on our nobility and others in a mysterious cycle. We can ask God to open our eyes.

Yet, what is most important in the challenge to see the face of God in every person we encounter is a simple humility.  When we give ourselves to this life, rather than trying to take what is rightfully ours, we find deep mystery wrapped in skin and bones.  When we give some effort to perceive the nobility in others, we engage in that benevolent circle of life that strangely runs on 10% of our effort and 100% of God’s.

Joy is a Wild Spruce, Defiant and Full of Abandon

When Mother Teresa was building her order, she placed high value in joy.  She knew that her sisters would see some of the most horrific sights and care for the most disgusting wounds, and –as we would later find out– she knew that they would often live months at a time without sense that God was near.

I recently heard a beautiful rendition of “Jesus the Center of my Joy.” Gorgeous.  The lyrics spoke of lonely places and troubling circumstances.  It posed that essential question: how can I remain joyful?  Joy is not a blissfulness ignorant of life’s trials.  Joy is not a conjured-up faithfulness to a promise we once made, way back.  Joy is a wild spruce that endures through harsh winters. It nourishes itself from the soil of defiance, drinks from the dregs of mercy, and stretches itself in abandon to the sun– knowing full well it will never touch that orb, which shoots forth its warming rays.  Joy endures the hardest of seasons.

I love how Mother Teresa put it:

A joyful heart is the normal result of a heart burning with love.  Joy is not simply a matter of temperament, it is always hard to remain joyful – all the more reason why we should try to acquire it and make it grow in our hearts.  Joy is prayer; joy is strength; joy is love.  She gives most who gives with joy.

To children and to the poor, to all those who suffer and are lonely, give them always a happy smile; give them not only your care but also your heart.  We may not be able to give much, but we can always give the joy that springs from a heart that is filled with love.

Prayers of the Saints: Mother Teresa


You Are the Thirsty to Be Given Drink

You are God. You are true God from true God. Generated not created. Of the selfsame substance of the Father. You are the Second Person of the most Holy Trinity. You are the one in being with the Father. You are with the Father from all eternity. All things were created by you and the Father. You are the Beloved Son in whom the Father is well pleased. You are the Son of Mary, conceived by the Holy Spirit in her virginal womb. You were born in Bethlehem. You were wrapped in swaddling clothes by Mary and placed in a manger filled with straw. You are an ordinary man without much education, and the educated class in Israel judges you.

Jesus is: the Word made flesh…the bread of life, the victim immolated for our sins on the cross, the sacrifice offered for the sins of the world and for my sins in the Holy Mass, the word to be proclaimed, the truth to be revealed, the way to be followed, the light to illumine, the life to live, the love to be loved,

the hungry person to be fed, the thirsty person given drink, the naked one to clothe, the homeless to receive shelter, the sick to be cured, the abandoned to be loved, the outcast to be welcomed, the leper whose wounds are bathed, the beggar to whom a smile is given, the drunkard who needs to be listened to,

the mentally disturbed who needs to be protected, the infant who needs to be held in our arms, the blind person who needs to be led by the hand, the mute for whom someone must speak, the crippled with whom one walks, the drug addict who needs help, the prostituted who needs to be taken off the street and listened to, the prisoner who needs to be visited, the aged person who needs to be taken care of.

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