During my morning prayer each day I am in the custom of reading a little something from Mother Teresa. In fact, I’ve been reading from the book Love, A Fruit Always in Season: Daily Mediations by Mother Teresa for about 20 years now. The book sits on my little table in the chapel, and after greeting Jesus in the tabernacle I turn to my dear friend and teacher from Calcutta. Every day she consoles me with true wisdom.
Sidebar: Have you ever noticed how wisdom brings joy, and that without true wisdom we cannot be truly joyful? Joy comes to us when we perceive and live the right order of the universe, while nothing depresses us so much as chaos. The traditional prayer to the Holy Spirit asks for wisdom that we may be consoled by joy: “Grant us by that same Spirit to be truly wise, and ever to rejoice in His consolation.” Like a good mother, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta trains my mind in wisdom to console my heart.
Here is today’s meditation from Mother Teresa: “Rejoice that you have nothing, are nothing, can do nothing. Give Jesus a big smile each time your nothingness frightens you. Cling to Our Lady, for she too, before she could become full of grace, full of Jesus, had to go through that darkness.” Nothingness is frightening! The older we get, the closer we approach the precipice of nothingness. We look back over our years on earth and ask if it meant anything at all. We look over human history and see it as a handful of dust. We look forward and see only darkness. It frightens us and tests our faith. Mother speaks from her own darkness, and points to the dark confusion of Our Lady, which prepared her to receive the fullness of grace at the Annunciation.
When darkness overcomes us, we simply fix our eyes on Christ. Either He is everything, or there is nothing. I’ll place my bets on Something rather than nothing. What a joy to know that I am nothing, but there is Something. Fall into that Something, that Someone, I become something and I become someone. I used to wear a T-Shirt with this joyful wisdom on the back: “Two things are true: 1) There is a God 2) you are not Him. What a two-fold relief!
So Blessed Teresa consoled me this morning with her motherly presence and wisdom. St. John Vianney used to read the Lives of the Saints every night before going to bed. He needed the consolation of their presence as he faced the dark, even the demonic, in his empty rectory. If you don’t read the Lives of the Saints, or the writings of the saints, now is a good time to start.