Next Sunday the world celebrates the canonization of Mother Teresa of Caclutta. It is fitting to reflect on the words of The Paradoxical Commandments often attributed to Mother Teresa.
When she first heard The Paradoxical Commandments, written by Doctor Kent M. Keith, she was moved to put them on the wall of one of her homes for children in Calcutta. They are powerful guidelines for finding personal meaning in the face of adversity and transcend all creeds and cultures.
Dr. Keith’s creed very aptly describes Mother Teresa’s way of dealing personally with such a huge number of people throughout her lifetime. She understood well Jesus’ culture of encounter on every page of the gospels. Let us allow them to ring in our ears and in our communities this week as we prepare to celebrate the Church’s newest Saint.
The Paradoxical Commandments
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centred.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives,
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies,
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you,
Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight,
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous,
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten,
Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough,
Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.