Saturday, July 13, 2013

Where There is Love, There is God: A Book Review

I remember being in 5th grade when she died. The same year Princess Diana died. We had our kids' issue of Time magazine and both women graced the cover.

As a young girl, the pictures of the beautiful Princess fascinated me...

Yet even then, I remember the indescribable, intriguing beauty of the other woman.

Mother Teresa.

That was fifteen years ago, but she continues to inspire me the more I learn about her life, her heart, and her overflowing love for God and others.

So when I saw this book become available for review, I jumped at the chance to read more of her beautiful yet challenging words. Her humility and simplicity sometimes mask the strength and courage of this incredible daughter of God. Yet in every picture of her I see that unmistakable grace, that light of Christ shining through her. And I want to be like that. That's the beauty I want.

Though it would be too extensive to chronicle my path to my upcoming Haiti trip, this woman has had a huge part in it. We'll be working with the same order she was a part of--the Missionaries of Charity-- and I'm deeply happy to meet them and see the same spirit of joy and love among them that exuded from her. As a Catholic, I firmly believe in the Body of Christ both here on earth and in heaven, so I asked for her prayers surrounding the trip, that all would work out for me to go if God willed it and that my heart would be open to whatever way things turned out--even if it meant humbly accepting that I could not go. Sweet friends in Heaven.

Where There is Love, There is God is a collection of letters, speeches, and teaching from Mother Teresa. As the title implies, the resounding theme is love. It all comes down to love. Not a fluffy, emotional type love, but a deep, powerful love that can only come from intimacy with God, the One who is Love.

Time and again, she exhorts us to go deeper in prayer to find joy, peace, unending love, and a heart ready to serve--not to perform or check off good deeds, but rather as an outpouring of the love we receive from the Father. This is what the secular world does not seem to see in Mother Teresa...that she not only served the poor and was a world-changer in social justice, but that her service was so deeply rooted in a relationship with Christ. As St. Paul says, our actions are nothing without Love.

Beautiful. And challenging. Sometimes the simplest things are the most difficult.

This book is a treasure. The only downside I could possibly say about it is that it takes a long time to read--simply because each paragraph is so rich and so full of thought-provoking sentiments. And yet, perhaps to path of holiness is best taken one small step at a time. To reflect on one small truth at a time and let it sink deeply into our hearts and souls. Here are a few of those small steps that I loved. (And if you like, you can read Chapter 1 here!)

'The Father loves me, He wants me, He needs me.' That kind of attitude is our trust, our joy, our conviction. Anything may come: impatience, failures, joy, but say to yourself, 'The Father loves me.'

You must be full of silence, for in the silence of the heart God speaks. An empty heart God fills.

What does it mean to be alone with Jesus? It doesn't mean to sit alone with your own thoughts. No, but even in the midst of the work and of people, you know His presence. It means that you know that He is close to you, that He loves you, that you are precious to Him, that He is in love with you.

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.

[This book was provided to me at no cost in exchange for a review. These are my honest and original thoughts about the book. Thank you, WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Company!]


  1. Hard to believe it's been 16 years, huh?
    I was only 5, so I don't remember much about the deaths of either, but I've done a lot of research on both.
    On the upside, my brother was born that year! :)
    Hope you're well, Laura dear, and if you're missing my blog posts, they'll be back really soon! ;)

    1. Well, sweet Abigail, yes I have missed you! I hope your summer is going well! And hey-- are you going to Spain soon?!

  2. It is going great! Hope you can say the same :) And yes ma'am, I leave at the end of August.