...in reading Fr Leo Maasburg's book about Mother Teresa, with whom he worked in India and Russia and Armenia among other places...there are many gems in this book...some very amusing stories, some exciting ones and some poignant and tender ones...
But the main thing that I have learned is how little personal possessions really matter: how we should tread lightly and firmly across the years, getting on with what we are meant to do but not bothering about acquiring lots of material things or holding on to them once we have got them. I realise that this may be due to my own position as I plod into late middle-age: the desire to paste mementoes into albumns, and store up nice little nicknacks in drawers and cupboards has long faded, and even that oh-I-must-keep-that-dress-I-did-so-love-it has given way to the realities of charity shops and offloading things. But it isn't that: it goes deeper. We don't really own things: everything is a gift and lots of the things we really like could in fact be given away.
Mother Teresa - whom I met and of course have never forgotten meeting - was a very forthright and everyday sort of speaker. I mean, she didn't gush. She had simple tastes and liked to give out holy pictures and - especially - Miraculous Medals. She didn't offer pearls of wisdom - it was just a matter of doing what Jesus wanted and living b y the law of love. She talked about love, and seeing Jesus in everyone and especially in those who were suffering. And that was about it: oh, and she wanted people to smile a lot more. She urged her sisters to make a smile even if they didn't have one.
This has been a useful book to carry around on difficult days.