Was she a world leader?
What was her job?
Why was she famous?
Why did important people do what she asked?
I understood that Mother Teresa was world renowned and had influence because of her choice to live in poverty so that she could best bring love and hope to the most destitute of people. Even as a child I understood that her life was rare and beautiful and when she died, the year I left home for university, I knew that it was a great loss to the world. What exactly did she do to make such a difference in the world, when she was not wealthy or powerful?
I sat with my five year old daughter watching the live vigil leading up to Mother Teresa’s sainthood this year. It was somehow a relief to know that she was officially among the saints. It’s as if the world has her with us again. It brings me joy to have lived during her work, death and eventual sainthood.
So when I had the opportunity to read the most recent book about her, A Call to Mercy: Hearts to Love, Hands to Serve, I was very excited. The book is a collection of commentary from Mother Teresa and those who knew her, organised around the framework of the fourteen acts of mercy that Pope Francis has talked about this year, The Year of Mercy. The book shows us how Mother Teresa dedicated each day of her life to these acts of mercy, through short, inspiring stories and quotes.
Throughout the book we see the authenticity and simplicity of Mother Teresa’s mission and we are humbled by her faith. Over and over we see that the heart of her work was not concerned with the procurement of resources or with planning for the future, but it was about the free gift of herself and whatever material things she had to share, there, in that moment.
So many of us, when we try to be generous, hold back by calculating or planning, and let our fears and selfish impulses get in our way. We need to follow the example of Saint Teresa and pour out ourselves in service to others. The simplicity of how she served is a great inspiration to those of us who struggle to find time or resources to give. This book is full of Mother Teresa’s wisdom, and reminds us to give all we can, even if that is only a kind word.
I recommend this book for anyone who would like to get to know who Mother Teresa was and how she lived so selflessly.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.