Faith: Five lessons from Mother Teresa




Our Guest Writer Jim Towey was a high-flying US Congressional staffer and lawyer in the 1980s until a brief meeting with Mother Teresa illuminated the emptiness of his life. Soon, he had given up his job and possessions and had become a full-time volunteer for Mother Teresa. Here he shares five of the most important lessons he learned during his time with her:

One: Never Quit
Mother Teresa taught me to never quit. She never quit. She persevered throughout all the adversities that she knew in her life.

Her life was no bed of roses. She showed grit and determination through the darkness that she experienced spiritually. She knew to continue to pray and to persevere even in the darkness. Thank God she did because she’s now left us a lesson. She had for decades this sense of darkness and abandonment. I think God allowed her this so that she could experience what the poor felt who were abandoned, neglected and alone.

Two: Embrace the Power of Prayer
She was a respecter of all faiths but she was in love with her own. She said that if you’re too busy to pray, you’re too busy.

For her, it all began with prayer. As she connected with God in that relationship, she was able to connect with God in the relationships she had around her. The gospel passage in Matt 25 says that whenever you did it to the least of my brethren, you did it to me. That connection between her prayer life and that you did it to me – serving the hungry, the poor, the sick and the naked. Mother Teresa had that connection between the two and it really fed her life. She knew that without prayer what she did was just simply social work.

Three: Age with Dignity
She delighted in old age. I knew her the last 12 years of her life. I met her the week she turned 75 and I saw her on and off during those 12 years she aged beautifully and with dignity.

She loved chocolate. She loved her favourite foods. She loved to be with her sisters, rejoiced in friendship. She dealt with her illnesses too. She didn’t gloss over the difficulties of ageing. Ageing can be very difficult. She knew grief and loss as people that she loved died. She also knew physical pain and spiritual pain but through it all, she maintained her God-given dignity. She knew that she had come from God and she was going home to God and that was the secret to how she aged with dignity.

Four: Find Joy in Serving Others
She said that a life not lived for others was not worth living. She lived for others and derived great joy from her relationships.

She found joy in giving until it hurts, loving until it hurts. Those were her expressions and described how she gave and lived. It’s a lesson that we all need now in a world that’s so estranged from one another. We find ourselves distant from one another. She went out and, in feeding the hungry and giving drink to those who thirsted, she was finding joy in her own vocation, her own life as a mother.

Five: We Need Each Other
She knew that we were made to love and to be loved. That this was the primary need of human beings and she lived that out, loving others and allowing them to love her particularly as she aged and became more dependent on the sisters who cared for her.

One of the great joys of life was to be in friendship, in relationship. The book, To Love and Be Loved, talks about the great friendships she had, not only in India but in her travels with Princess Diana, with President Reagan and others that came into her life.

Main Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jim Towey

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In the quest to bring you more insights Sorted includes interesting articles from specially selected Guest Writers. Each piece is carefully chosen and edited by our own Editorial Team to inform, inspire and entertain our readers.

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