Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Mindful Monday: Mother Teresa On Prayer

mother teresa new book.jpgThree years ago, Mother Teresa graced the cover of Time magazine when her private writings were published, many of the excerpts filled with surprising doubt, despair, and a kind of spiritual anguish. I was lucky enough to get one of the first copies because my literary agent is the one the Sisters of Charity chose to represent them. And so I also received an advance copy of the sequel: “Where There Is Love, There Is God.”

It’s a beautiful prayer companion, and is filled with joy, love, wisdom, and some very practical advice. I thought I would excerpt three pieces on prayer, since that is the foundation for a healthy mental life as well as a spiritual life, and because I’ve been struggling with prayer throughout this summer.


Our Foundation

If our life is without prayer, it is like a house without a foundation. The other day I saw a ten storey building, beautiful, completely finished, but they had to break it down because the foundation was only for a one storey building, and they were forced to break it down–and the whole thing was completely painted and everything–but they had to break it down. Our life of prayer … let it be the foundation, the beginning. But then that life of complete surrender and loving trust, these are stories to help us climb closer, closer. And as we come, first thing: pure heart, and that real union, that complete attachment to Christ. If that is not there, it is like building a ten storey building on a foundation made for only a one storey–and what happens? It breaks.


When We Can’t Pray

And when time comes and we can’t pray it is very simple: if Jesus is in my heart let Him pray, let me allow Him to pray in me, to talk to his Father in the silence of my heart. If I cannot speak, He will speak; if I cannot pray, He will pray. That’s why often we should say, “Jesus in my heart, I believe in Your faithful love for me.” And often we should be in that unity with Him and allow Him, and when we have nothing to give–let us give Him that nothingness.

When we cannot pray–let us give that inability to Him….Let Him pray in us to the Father. Let us ask Him to pray in us, for no one knows the Father better than He. No one can pray better than Jesus. And if my heart is pure, if in my heart is Jesus, if my heart is a tabernacle of the living God to sanctify in grace: Jesus and I are one. He prays in me, He thinks in me, He works with me and through me, He uses my tongue to speak, He uses my brain to think, He uses my hand to touch Him in the broken body.


What Jesus Taught Us

The most important thing is to learn to pray. Very strange: Jesus did not enter into long discussions–high flown language, but He said: “When you pray, pray like this: “Our Father …”–that intimate oneness with the Father. He was so intimately united with Him that He wanted to be like Him. Again and again that beautiful simple word: Father. “My Father”–even little children can say it. We are creating all kinds of difficulties in our prayer. Let us go back to what Jesus has taught us–simple and intimate prayer–“Our Father.” Avoid anything that will take you away from this, so that in your teaching, in your life, you can hear Him in all that He says, and do the will of the Father. For this we need a clean heart.


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  • Elizabeth

    Hi Therese,
    This is so beautiful. Lately I have been reading a lot of Mother Teresa’s words. They uplift and inspire me so much. I love what she says about how when we can’t pray, we should let Jesus pray for us. So comforting.
    I have a few questions for you… now that you have a new job, will you continue writing Beyond Blue forever and ever or do you plan on ending your blog? If you end it, what will happen to your archives?
    I have noticed a trend on Beliefnet lately that kind of turns me off. They seem to be moving more into the New Agey direction .. for example, one of the articles today is on “The Seven Secrets of Synchronicity.” Sigh…. Why couldn’t they just leave Beliefnet alone?

  • Workerbev

    This was the most beautiful posts I have read in awhile. It is also one of the most “religious”. Sometimes posts and blogs seem to sway away from God and how He helps us throughout our lives, to just secular readings which leave me flat. Today uplifted me so much. I had never heard of letting Jesus pray for us. I will definitely hang onto that as I’m in a valley right now and having a hard time praying. I just seem to be able to say “Jesus, I love you” and that is all before intrusive thoughts start banging away in my head. Like you said, who better to pray for us? Thank you for such a beautiful Monday blog. God Bless You and Yours, Beverly Penney,(an American living in Tasmania)

  • Allison

    I agree…I was so relieved to find your blog and stumble upon another Christian struggling with anxiety/depression/and everything else on that wonderful chromosome :) It’s so great to have a healthy perspective to read! Your blog has been awesome – thanks for your openness and willingness to discuss this stuff so we all can understand ourselves better and see ourselves as beautiful just the way God made us. Maybe we’re just that much closer to brokenness all the time, which God thinks is beautiful…and really, I do to. Now hopefully I’m going to contemplate this truth and meditate on being fearfully and wonderfully made without ruminating on my post, how you and others perceive it, or how I can control being fearfully and wonderfully made :) Thanks again, Therese!

  • Scythe

    Mother Theresa did not even believe in god as her letters to her niece prove. You guys are kicking a dead horse.

  • joe gonzalez

    Thank you, Therese. And also congratulations you bear her name ! She’s one of the very few solid foundations AND constructions of the past 20th century. And what a buiding built on true Love ! Loving the ‘ poorest of the poor ‘ ( and no if, buts or ands about that ! )
    And what stuns me even more, what really ‘ blows my mind and heart ‘ is that, thru so many Dark Nights, so many doubts, she kept faithfully and unquestioningly Growing at her Exceptional Task ! Thank you, Mother Teresa, intercede for me and mine ( nay, for the whole world continually, seeing as you now can, and we so need it ! )
    And thank you, Therese, for showing us this Candle again ! The edifice Mother built will forever stand, and more beautiful and of more use than the Taj Mahal !

  • Sandra

    Responding to Scythe…Whether or not there is proof that Mother Theresa did not love God isn’t the question or the answer. The work she did in His Name was love enough. And God, being God, didn’t need her to love Him because He loved her. And that seems to have worked out well for everyone, doesn’t it?

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