What do I labour for? If there be no God—there can be no soul.—If there is no soul then Jesus—You also are not true... Jesus don't let my soul be deceived—nor let me deceive anyone. In the call You said that I would have to suffer much.—Ten years—my Jesus, You have done to me according to Your will—and Jesus hear my prayer—if this pleases You—if my pain and suffering—my darkness and separation gives You a drop of consolation—my own Jesus, do with me as You wish—as long as You wish, without a single glance at my feelings and pain... I beg of You only one thing—please do not take the trouble to return soon.—I am ready to wait for You for all eternity.
Letter dated September 3, 1959 — as quoted in Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light (2007) edited by Brian Kolodiejchu, p. 193-4
Often I wonder what does really God get from me in this state — no faith, no love — not even in feelings. The other day I can't tell you how bad I felt. — There was a moment when I nearly refused to accept. — Deliberately I took the Rosary and very slowly and without even meditating or thinking – I said it slowly and calmly. The moment passed — but the darkness is so dark, and the pain is so painful. – But I accept whatever He gives and I give whatever He takes. People say they are drawn closer to God — seeing my strong faith. – is this not deceiving people? Every time I have wanted to tell the truth – “that I have no faith” – the words just do not come – my mouth remains closed. – And yet I still keep on smiling at God and all.
I try to give to the poor people for love what the rich could get for money. No. I wouldn't touch a leper for a thousand pounds; yet I willingly cure him for the love of God.
In: Malcolm Muggeridge, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, A Gift For God: Prayers and Meditations, New York: Harper & Row, 1975. p. 61; Cited in: M. Dhavamony. "Mother Teresa's mission of love for the poor" in: Studia missionalia, Vol 39. (1990), p. 137
People are happier. There are more jobs. There are no strikes.
Mother Teresa in Emergency Rule period, 1975-77; quoted in: David Aikman (1998), Great souls: six who changed the century, p. 244
Jesus has a very special love for you. As for me, the silence and emptiness is so great that I look and do not see, listen and do not hear. The tongue moves but does not speak.
The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.
From now on you must pray for your people and yourself three times a day.
Remarks to Mengistu Haile Mariam during the 1984-85 Ethiopian famine, as quoted by Dawit Wolde Giorgis in Red Tears: War, Famine and Revolution in Ethiopia, (The Red Sea Press Inc. 1989), p. 213
We are misunderstood, we are misrepresented, we are misreported. We are not nurses, we are not doctors, we are not teachers, we are not social workers. We are religious, we are religious, we are religious.
As quoted in Angelo Devananda, Daily Prayers with Mother Teresa (Fount, 1987), p. 91
Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand. Anyone may gather it and no limit is set. Everyone can reach this love through meditation, spirit of prayer, and sacrifice, by an intense inner life.
Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.
Mary Alice Warner, Dayna Beilenson (1987) Women of faith and spirit: their words & thoughts, p. 42
Be kind to each other in your homes. Be kind to those who surround you. I prefer that you make mistakes in kindness rather than that you work miracles in unkindness. Often just for one word, one look, one quick action, and darkness fills the heart of the one we love.
Quoted in: Charlotte Gray. Mother Teresa: Her Mission to Serve God by Caring for the Poor. G. Stevens, (1988), p. 53
I don't know what to say since I don't know what is happening [in Albania]. I can say only one thing. My Albanian people are always in my heart. I pray very much to our Lord that His peace may come to our hearts, in our families and in all the world. I pray for Albania, that the Lord may help its leaders to see clearly because if they want to live in peace, they should love one another.
As quoted in Louis Zanga "Mother Teresa's visit to Albania", Radio Free Europe Research, (23 August 1989)
The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.
Interview by Edward W. Desmond in TIME magazine (4 December 1989)
Holiness is not the luxury of the few; it is a simply duty, for you and for me, because Jesus has very clearly stated, "Be ye holy as my father in heaven is holy." So let us pray for each other that we grow in love for each other, and through this love become holy as Jesus wants us to be for he died out of love for us.
One day I met a lady who was dying of cancer in a most terrible condition. And I told her, I say, "You know, this terrible pain is only the kiss of Jesus — a sign that you have come so close to Jesus on the cross that he can kiss you." And she joined her hands together and said, "Mother Teresa, please tell Jesus to stop kissing me".
Unsourced variant or paraphrase: I think it is very good when people suffer. To me, that is like the kiss of Jesus.
But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? … By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And, by abortion, that father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. The father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.
I do not know anything about Charles Keating's work or his business or the matters you are dealing with. I only know he has been kind and generous to God's poor, and always ready to help whenever there was a need... Whenever someone asks me to speak to a judge, I always tell them to pray, to look into [their] heart, and to do what Jesus would do in that circumstance. And this is what I am asking of you, your Honor.
I am so pleased with all the goodwork you are doing for worldpeace and for people in so many countries. May we continue to work together and to share together all for the glory of God and for the good of man.
Spread love everywhere you go; first of all in your house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor. Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.
As quoted in Worldwide Laws of Life : 200 Eternal Spiritual Principles (1998) by John Templeton, p. 448
I do not agree with a big way of doing things. What matters is the individual. If we wait till we get numbers, then we will be lost in the numbers and we will never be able to show that love and respect for the person.
I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I do know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us, He will not ask, "How many good things have you done in your life?," rather He will ask, "How much love did you put into what you did?
Quoted in: Honor Books, W. B. Freeman (2004), God's Little Devotional Book for Girls, p. 205
If I ever become a Saint — I surely be one of "darkness". I will continually be absent from Heaven — to light the light of those in darkness on earth.
Don't look for big things, just do small things with great love....The smaller the thing, the greater must be our love.
As quoted in Mother Teresa : Come Be My Light (2007) by Brian Kolodiejchuk
I call, I cling, I want … and there is no One to answer … no One on Whom I can cling … no, No One. Alone … Where is my Faith … even deep down right in there is nothing, but emptiness & darkness … My God … how painful is this unknown pain … I have no Faith … I dare not utter the words & thoughts that crowd in my heart … & make me suffer untold agony. So many unanswered questions live within me afraid to uncover them … because of the blasphemy … If there be God … please forgive me … When I try to raise my thoughts to Heaven there is such convicting emptiness that those very thoughts return like sharp knives & hurt my very soul. I am told God loves me … and yet the reality of darkness & coldness & emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. ~ Kent M. Keith
People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
This is a variant or paraphrase of The Paradoxical Commandments, by Kent M. Keith, student activist, first composed in 1968 as part of a booklet for student leaders, which had hung on the wall of Mother Teresa's children's home in Calcutta, India, and have sometimes become misattributed to her. The version posted at his site begins:
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
I could go on and on, filling page after page with dense examples of disasters and crises where Mother Teresa had had no involvement whatsoever. For me, a Calcuttan, born and bred, it does not come as surprise, as I know her order has no infrastructure — indeed it had never been her intention to create an infrastructure for such work, as she had frequently said, 'I'm not a social worker.' But what I find somewhat disturbing is that she remained inactive when children were hurt or killed, or were at the risk of being orphaned … this did not sit comfortably with her 'Child First' philosophy. But then, for her the unborn child was far more important than the actual child. Having gone through hundreds of her speeches I have wondered, when compared to the unborn child if the actual child mattered to her at all.
Aroup Chatterjee (1998), Mother Teresa: The Final Verdict
Mother Teresa of Calcutta actually said, in her speech accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, 'The greatest destroyer of peace is abortion.' What? How can a woman with such cock-eyed judgement be taken seriously on any topic, let alone be thought seriously worthy of a Nobel Prize?
Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (2006), Ch. 8: "What's wrong with religion? Why be so hostile?"
She is truly a living saint. She serves as a source of inspiration for me to this day... She is unique in that all her requests for assistance are always approved. No one can say no to Mother Teresa.
Dawit Wolde Giorgis, in Red Tears: War, Famine and Revolution in Ethiopia, (The Red Sea Press Inc. 1989), p. 212
MT was not a friend of the poor. She was a friend of poverty. She said that suffering was a gift from God. She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction. And she was a friend to the worst of the rich, taking misappropriated money from the atrocious Duvalier family in Haiti (whose rule she praised in return) and from Charles Keating of the Lincoln Savings and Loan. Where did that money, and all the other donations, go? The primitive hospice in Calcutta was as run down when she died as it always had been—she preferred California clinics when she got sick herself — and her order always refused to publish any audit. But we have her own claim that she opened 500 convents in more than a hundred countries, all bearing the name of her own order. Excuse me, but this is modesty and humility?
Mother Teresa was a true patriot. A great Albanian. She showed the world how to help the poor and devoted her life to the neediest without interfering in political issues. Just like any religious leader should do...
I don't believe in God. I'm a Marxist. I believe in man and in the people. But we liked Mother Teresa. You know, she felt at home here. She came with an open mind and praised our achievements.
Nexhmije Hoxha, widow of Enver Hoxha, as quoted in Riccardo Orizio, Talk of the Devil: Encounters with Seven Dictators, (Walker and Company, 2003), pp. 102-103
You urge Judge Ito to look into his heart — as he sentences Charles Keating — and do what Jesus would do. I submit the same challenge to you. Ask yourself what Jesus would do if he were given the fruits of a crime; what Jesus would do if he were in possession of money that had been stolen; what Jesus would do if he were being exploited by a thief to ease his conscience? I submit that Jesus would probably and unhesitatingly return the stolen property to its rightful owners. You should do the same. You have been given money by Mr. Keating that he has been convicted of stealing by fraud. Do not permit him the 'indulgence' he desires. Do not keep the money. Return it to those who worked for it and earned it!