In addition to the books I read to meet my inquisitive mind and those I read for the sole pleasure of story-telling and the art of writing, I usually have a book that is intended to assist one in meditation. You know the kind. They are often broken down into days, so one can read an reflect on an inspirational thought each day. The one I am using right now is Mother Teresa: Her Essential Wisdom. I picked it up at Barnes and Noble when I was buying books for gifts; it was a gift to myself.
I was drawn to it because Mother Teresa is one of my heroes and the appeal of the book is that the words therein are her’s alone. This in not her story. it is not a book written to praise her. Just her day to day thoughts written down, probably in a journal. When my daughter-in-law, Wendy, came in January for her sister’s memorial, she selected a few readings from this little book to read at the service because they spoke profoundly about love and it made her think of her own sister.
Mother Teresa was known for her special relationship with the poor. For her they were her most important teachers. They shaped her spirituality and her world view. This morning I read the following three reflections:
“To know the problem of poverty intellectually is not to understand it. It is not by reading, taking a walk in the slums, admiring and regretting, that we come to understand it and to discover what it has of bad and good. We have to dive into it, live it, share it.”
“Today it is fashionable to talk about the poor. Unfortunately, it is not fashionable to talk with them.”
“I once picked up a small girl who was wandering the streets, lost. Hunger was written all over her face. Who knows how long it had been since she had eaten anything! I offered her a piece of bread. The little one started eating, crumb bu crumb. I told her, ‘Eat, eat the bread! Aren’t you hungry?’ She looked at me and said, ‘I am just afraid that when I run out of bread, I’ll still be hungry.'”