Saturday, September 05, 2009

Mother Teresa, Saturday Plans, and Early Morning Musings

Memorial plaque dedicated to Mother Teresa by ...Image via Wikipedia

It's 8:10 a.m.

I've been awake, unable to sleep, for nearly two hours already.

50 minutes from now, my alarm will go off, reminding me that I need to wake up, and be at mom and dad's house 45 minutes after that.

Today is the feast day for Mother Teresa. I suppose the fact that I pay attention to such things makes me slightly odd in the world of protestant christians that I mostly inhabit. Then again, I wear a bracelet with saints around my wrist, collect quotes from them, and wear a medal with St. Clare of Assisi on it around my neck most days, so I suppose all of those things also make me odd in that world.

In any case, Mother Teresa is one of those saints that has profoundly moved and impacted me. You can read about her here.

I sent a dear friend this e-card this morning, and was struck by the memories that came as I read that bit of a prayer.

Many years ago, in my last year of high school, I encountered Lent for the first time. A friend who in many ways profoundly shaped my life challenged me to practice the discipline of giving up something I loved, and replacing it with time spent meditating on Jesus. That year I gave up reading fiction and magazines (a challenge, since at that stage in my life I generally plowed through 2-3 novels a week). I replaced the fiction with classic Christian works, and works written by those whose faith I admired.

Mother Teresa had died a few years before that, and I'd been deeply moved as I'd watched the outpouring of emotion that came with her death. Emotion so different from that which had come only days early with the death of Princess Diana.

One of the first books I read during that Lenten period was one of Mother Teresa's. "No Greater Love." The book challenged and moved me deeply, and I'll never forget encountering the prayer I linked to above, in it's full form. It ushered in a period in my life where nearly daily I revisited that prayer, crying out the words to Jesus, and asking him to form them in my life. I prayed it alone, and, in a few precious and difficult moments where we were struggling, with friends.

As I lay in bed this morning, reading the email that reminded me that today was the feast day of Mother Teresa, I was thinking again of that prayer, and of how, years later, I am beginning to see how praying it formed my heart. How I have met people who truly glowed with Christ, and how I continue to pray that glow will be within me as well.

I have varied plans for today. Helping my mom with a cleaning and organization project. Errands. Some cleaning and sorting around my own house. Likely church. But the day is being formed in these early hours, as I am remembering the prayer written by John Henry Newman, loved by Mother Teresa, and prayed daily by her and the sisters of charity. I am remembering these words, and praying them again today...

Dear Lord:
Help me to spread your fragrance wherever I go.
Flood my soul with your spirit and life.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of yours.
Shine through me, and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel your presene in my soul.
Let them look up and see no longer me, but only you, O Lord!
Stay with me, then I shall begin to shine as you do; so to shine as to be a light to others.
The light, O Lord, will be all from you; none of it will be mine; it will be you shining on others through me.
Let me thus praise you in the way you love best, by shining on those around me.
Let me preach you without preaching, not by words, but by my example, by the catching force, the sympathetic influence of what I do, the evident fullness of the love my heart bears to you.
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Shelley said...

That prayer is the cry of my heart as well. You have no idea....

thank you for sharing this post.

and I love how your heart is shaped..

Lisa said...

yes... I know just a little how much it's the cry of your heart... love your heart too...