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My New Favorite Mother Teresa of Calcutta Story

alec vanderboom

"After receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Mother Teresa was invited to a official reception in Delhi's historic Red Fort in February 1980... Mother Teresa rose to speak. She told the story of a leper who had run the doorbell of the mother house a few days previously. Here tale was a clear indication of the perspective from which she viewed her international acclaim:

It was a leper shivering with cold. I asked him whether he needed anything from me. I wanted to offer him food and a blanket to protect himself from the bitter night of Calcutta.

He replied in the negative. He showed me his begging bowl. He told me in Bengali: "Mother, people were talking that you received some prize. This morning I decided that whatever I got through begging today, I would hand over to you this evening. That is why I am here."

I found in the begging bowl 75 paise (2 pence). The gift was small. I keep it even today on my table because this tiny gift reveals to me the largeness of a human heart. It is beautiful."

The leper's small gift she kept on her table; the Nobel medal she had temporarily mislaid at the reception following the ceremony. After some searching it was found among the coats in the entrance hall.
(From Mother Teresa: A Complete Authorized Biography by Kathryn Spink, HarperSanFrancisco, 1997, pg 171.)

Did you catch that? The Noble Peace Prize-- (the award I would have been clutching onto with pride and joy)-- this Saint immediately LOST in a coat closet. The two worthless pennies from a beggar, Mother Teresa enshrines on a place of honor at her desk.

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us. Ask Christ to heal our vanity. Pray that we will start to hold more lightly the worthless things of the world, and hold tighter too the things that are great in the eyes of God.