Mother Teresa Prays with Washington Lawyers#
In 1991, Evan Thomas wrote a biography of Edward Bennett Williams, titled The Man to See. Williams was a legendary Washington lawyer who enjoyed Frank Sinatra, Richard Nixon and the Washington Post as his clients. He died of cancer in 1988.
Thomas records the visit of Mother Teresa to Williams' office. She was raising funds for an AIDS hospice. Before she arrived, Williams said to his legal partner Paul Dietrich - You know Paul, AIDS is not my favourite disease. I don't really want to make a contribution. But I've got this Catholic saint coming to see me, and I don't know what to do. They agreed that they would be polite, hear her out, but then say no.
Mother Teresa arrived. She looked like a little sparrow sitting on the other side of Williams' huge mahogany desk. She made her appeal for the hospice, and Williams said - We are touched by your appeal, but we cannot help.
Mother Teresa responded - Gentlemen, then let us pray.
Williams looked at Dietrich and they bowed their heads while she prayed. Mother Teresa then made the same appeal, word for word. Williams repeated his polite no.
Mother Teresa responded - Gentlemen, then let us pray again. Williams exasperated, looked up at the ceiling and said - Alright, alright, Paul get me my check book!
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. (Luke 18:1)
Now, is this what Jesus is asking of us, that we too are to pray like this, consistently refusing to take no for an answer?
Well this is part of it, but it cannot be the entire story, otherwise Jesus' lesson would be:
Whenever you pray be feisty, demanding and obstinate.
In the end however, if the persistent widow in Jesus' parable (or an equally persistent modern day Mother Teresa) without influence can wrangle justice from a judge without honor, then the message is surely:
How much more,
How much more,
How much more can we, the beloved children owned by a God of mercy and justice, be sure of being heard and answered when we pray continually and never lose heart?
Pray persistently today, for tomorrow inescapably depends upon it.
Today's Soul Snippet:
"The good you do today will often be forgotten - do good anyway". ~ Mother Teresa
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#This SoulSnack was extracted from of a homily penned by Father Ronan Kilgannon of the Catholic parish of Kangaroo Valley and used with permission and slight editing.