Monday, February 16, 2015

The Portrait of Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Just reading a wonderful and powerful book written by Heather King called "Stumble, virtue, vice, and the space between". In chapter 16, Temperance, she writes about Mother Teresa. She speaks of visiting the L.A. Central Library where she views photos of famous people taken by Yousuf Karsh. One photograph especially captures her attention -- Mother Teresa. I love the way she writes about what she sees in this photograph: "One photo alone stood out. One face so distinguished itself that I stopped short: the face of a small, old, deeply wrinkled, resolutely plain...woman...Her gnarled fingers gripped a rosary. She looked exhausted, possibly ticked off. Her face was not one any of us, no matter how passionately we admired her work, would have asked for. Her face was a scandal: naked, almost ugly....It was the face of a woman who understood that our task on earth is not to be effective, but to love; that the goal is not success, but love; who knew the terrible cost of love."
She goes on to write about the people who criticized her, hated her, and had nothing but contempt for her work; and yet, she rose above it all choosing to serve and love God in her weariness, her brokenness, her loneliness considering all life to be sacred from conception to death.
The author culminates the chapter by having us consider what is beauty -- is it these lovely to look at photos of famous people, or perhaps it is the face of Mother Teresa, filled with craggy wrinkles who shines as a brilliant blistering light showing us the way to truth. What did Jesus say..."If you have done it to the least of these, you have done it to me".