Mother Teresa is a formidable, selfless woman originally from Albania and who famously spent her life in India assisting sufferers of leprosy. She is now known as Saint Teresa of Calcutta within the Catholic Church. Beyond the Catholic Church, she is well known and well regarded as one who epitomizes compassion and a “good” life.
Mother Teresa traveled lightly, never taking much more than the clothes on her back. But she always traveled with three books: the Bible, her breviary and the third was ‘The Poem of the Man-God’, by Maria Valtorta. Valtorta’s work is a big text, with five volumes, all similar in thickness to a bible. Such was her conviction of their value that she never went anywhere without them.
Her chaplain of some years twice asked Mother Teresa about the Maria Valtorta book. Both times she simply replied: “Read it”. As if to say: I cannot speak about it highly enough, nor as well as the book itself, such is the worth of this book, that it will be evident to you upon your own reading.
Mother Teresa is known for distilling wisdom into the simplicity and essence of a life well lived. Contrasted with the contemporary culture of information overload and uncertainty of how or why we live. It is worth paying attention to the information that she held so dear and helped her see and live her life with such clarity.
To some, it would have seemed like throwing a life away when she moved to Calcutta to care for the outcast sick. But looking back now on her life, who could say that it was not a rich life, well lived and with an extraordinary and global impact. From such a humble, invisible setting came a platform that the world watched with interest.
Here is how she summarized her own life: “By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus.”
There is much we can glean from Mother Teresa’s life of obedience and compassion. This includes her esteem for “The Poem of the Man-God” by Maria Valtorta and all the resides in those volumes.