Something Beautiful for God by Malcolm Muggeridge

Malcolm Muggeridge, a BBC journalist, wrote a very popular book on Mother Teresa in 1971. After conducting a TV interview that became unexpectedly popular across the world, Muggeride became close friends with MT and was profoundly influenced by her holiness. This book is his testimony to her life. Muggeride said that he has never met anyone less sentimental, less scatty, more down-to-earth than Mother Teresa. Muggeride’s conclusion on Mother Teresa:

“It will be for posterity to decide whether she is a saint. I only say of her that in a dark time she is a burning and shining light; in a cruel time, a living embodiment of Christ’s gospel of love; in a godless time, the Word dwelling among us, full of grace and truth. For this, all who have the inestimable privilege of knowing her, or knowing of her, must be eternally grateful.”

Some of my favourite quotes from the book:

Christianity is not about the numbers:

“It is perfectly true, of course, that, statistically speaking, what she achieves is little, or even negligible. But then Christianity is not a statistical view of life. That there should be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than love all the hosts of the just, is an anti-statistical proposition. Likewise with the work of the MCs. Mother Teresa is fond of saying that welfare is for a purpose – an admirable and necessary one – whereas Christian love is for a person. The one is about numbers, the other about a man who was also God. Herein lies the essential difference between the welfare services and the service of Christ”.

On the individual:

I do not agree with the big way of doing things. To us what matters is an individual. To get to love the person we must come in close contact with him. If we wait till we get the 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 believe in person to person; every person is Christ for me, and since there is only one Jesus, that person is only one person in the world for me at that moment. 

On the smallness of the work:

We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But if that drop was not in the ocean I think that the ocean will be less because of that missing drop. 

On Christ’s desires for you:

Christ is longing to be your food. Surrounded by the fullness of the living God, you allow yourself to starve. Christ has created you because he wants you. 

On holiness & desires:

Our progress in holiness depends on God and ourselves – on God’s grace and on our will to be holy. We must have a real living determination to reach holiness. ‘I will be a saint’ means that I will despoil myself of all that is not God; I will strip my heart of all created things; I will live in poverty and detachment; I will renounce my will, my inclinations, my whims and fancies, and make myself a willing slave to the will of God. 

On gratitude:

The best way to show our gratitude to God and the people is to accept everything with joy. 

On humility:

We learn humility through accepting humiliations cheerfully. 

On thoughtfulness:

Thoughtfulness is the beginning of great sanctity. If you learn this art of being thoughtful, you will become more and more Christ-like, for his heart was meek and he always thought of others. Our vocation, to be beautiful, must be full of thought for others. Jesus went about doing good. Our Lady did nothing else in Cana but thought of the needs of others and made their needs known to Jesus. 

Apostle of the unwanted:

The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted, uncared for and deserted by everybody. The greatest evil is lack of love and charity, that terrible indifference toward one’s neighbour who lives at the roadside assaulted by exploitation, corruption, poverty and disease. 

The poor help us much more:

Only in heaven we will see how much we owe to the poor for helping us to love God better because of them. 

On doing God’s work:

That’s why I was not afraid; I knew that if the work was mine it would die with me. But I knew it was his work, that it will live and bring much good. 

Why faith is lacking:

It is lacking because there is so much selfishness and so much gain only for self. But faith to be true has to be a giving love. Love and faith go together. They complete each other. 

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