It’s never too late

August 16, 2009 | 23 comments

Last night I was reading the excellent book Mother Teresa’s Secret Fire by Joseph Langford, and I came across this inspiring passage that I thought I’d share:

[Her letters] show a Mother Teresa not unlike the rest of us, as we struggle to answer the promptings of grace that nudge us beyond ourselves. Unfortunately, when faced with new challenges our first response is often negative, as we listen instead to the voice that insists we cannot change.

As she, when faced with God’s unexpected invitations, we find ourselves held back by fear, fatigue, tepidity, and a reluctance to take on new challenges. And we pull back. Mother Teresa shows us, though, that despite our struggles it is never too change, to grow, to say yes to the God who calls — if only we trust more in him that we mistrust ourselves: “Give yourself fully to God. He will use you to accomplish great things, on the condition that you believe much more in his love than in your own weakness.”

Remember that her September encounter [when God called her to serve the poorest of the poor] was a mid-life grace for Mother Teresa, a mid-life call. When she first stepped out alone into the slums, leaving behind her familiar existence, she was almost forty years old. Later, she would launch a pioneering network of AIDS shelters at the age of seventy. And by the time our community of priests [the Missionaries of Charity Fathers] was approved, she was already eight-two. She is proof that it is never too late for God to transform us, never too late to launch us on a new plan, to use us for the good.

Langford goes on to point out that “for God, it is never too late to begin the work of our divinization; each day is always a new beginning, always full of hope.” And he offers this great lesson that Mother Teresa always encouraged everyone to remember:

Yesterday is gone; tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.

When I came across that passage it was one of those moments where I thought, “I bet there’s someone out there who really needs to hear that right now!” so I thought I’d post it. I hope you find it as inspiring as I did.

23 Comments

  1. Daniel Cox

    How easy it becomes to ignore "the still small voice" in the middle of life. In my experience, it's not so much my mistrust that causes me to pause. I wrestle more with feeling acceptable to the one who calls me.

    Does He love me?
    Will I be good enough?

    That's where I usually stopped – afraid that I would somehow do something or miss something that would cause Him to no longer love and accept me.

    As if!

    I appreciate the reminder that the outcome is not our responsibility – only to be obedient to the call.

    Thanks.

  2. Jane

    When is YOUR book being published? Any news on that front?

  3. monica_divineoffice.org

    I know about fear and weakens. I sometime struggle to remember that I have with me the love of God and His forgiveness for my mistakes.
    Thank you for this post! God bless!

    Liturgy of the Hours

  4. Anonymous

    I think I was that person that needed to hear this. Up in the middle of the night, unable to sleep. This put my heart at ease.

    Thank you

  5. NC Sue

    Good morning!

    Thank you for these thoughts. I find that Mother Teresa is a constant source of encouragement for me. When I read "Come Be My Light", I found myself being humbled to see her example of faithfulness even when it seemed to her that God was not present to her and that he did not love her. If only I could be one-tenth as faithful!

    The passage you've given us here shows how to be faithful – one moment at a time, with trust in God rather than ourselves.

  6. Pharmgirl

    That someone was me. Thanks for posting.

  7. Leigh-ann

    thanks for this post. i needed to hear it 🙂

  8. Judy

    I needed that quote today.

    Thank you.

    I've only been visiting here for a short time, but am enjoying your blog so very much.

  9. Melanie B

    "Remember that her September encounter [when God called her to serve the poorest of the poor] was a mid-life grace for Mother Teresa, a mid-life call."

    Thank you! So very inspiring. I totally need to be reminded that it's not too late. It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking I'm too old and set in my ways.

  10. ELC

    Thanks.

  11. Christian H

    Is it odd that today's sermon at my church was along the lines of Carpe Diem as well? All we have is now. Why waste our only resource?

  12. Elizabeth Mahlou

    My conversion came after more than five decades, so I know that it is never too late for God. What amazes me about Mother Theresa, though, is that she had an incredibly long, dark night but never lost her faith. That speaks volumes.

  13. Brendan

    This was what I needed to hear. I agree that it is certainly very inspiring to read. Thanks for sharing, you always post the best stuff!

    God Bless,

    Brendan

  14. Amy

    This gives me hope, as I frequently wonder if I missed the boat on faith.

    Sounds like many others needed to hear it as well.
    Thank you!

  15. Regina

    I thought, "I bet there's someone out there who really needs to hear that right now!"

    Well, you would be right about that… so, thanks!
    I'm a new reader (and now fan) of your blog. Thanks so much for sharing so much of yourself here.

    I have always loved Mother Teresa but somehow I have gotten away from her- she was unfortunately left behind in the dust of my life somewhere…

    It was good to read this and I must pick up this book.
    🙂

  16. Christine

    This is awesome! Growing up Catholic I was always told "St. So and So" was a saint at 8 or whatever young age (by various people). Many saints died young too. It's easy to get discouraged when you're getting older and you're not yet a saint. Thank you!

  17. Arkanabar T'verrick Ilarsadin

    St Augustine also came to the Faith rather late in life, and after living wild for decades. God can do anything He wants, regardless of the materials He starts out with.

  18. grace

    Thank you.

  19. RFP

    I'm one of those someones who needed to hear that message. Thank you.

  20. Dawn Farias

    Thank you for sharing.

  21. Anonymous

    thank you, I needed to read this today as I struggled in my weight loss program.

  22. Sara

    my "to do" list for the day usually includes all the things that you list as "hidden." If I can cross off "make lunch," and "clean up from lunch," "start the laundry," and "fold the laundry," I feel more accomplished for doing the same amount of work and have less tendencey to overbook. In addition, I try to put put a few "smell the roses" type things on my list . . . "make sure to read at least five books to youngest," and such

  23. Kevin_Chicago

    Mother Teresa and her Missionaries are a great witness to the world. There
    are lots of other good Catholic religious communities as well.Check out this
    New Video by Daughters of St. Francis of Assisi, launched
    two days ago!

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