Although I’ve read that Mother Teresa could be rather testy sometimes in mustering obedience in God’s service, she ultimately did a bit of good, don’t you think? In honor of her canonization, here’s one of those “I was Beethoven’s roommate” stories–a second-hand or third-hand or even more remote encounter with grace and glory.
A friend of a friend tells the story of a friend of hers who got on an airplane and settled into his seat. In due time, a fellow passenger made her way down the aisle and sat in the seat beside him. He was speechless. It was Mother Teresa.
As the plane began its take-off, Mother Teresa drew out her rosary and began to pray aloud. The man, lapsed Catholic that he was, nevertheless began praying along with her. Mother Teresa then asked him, “Do you pray the rosary often?” He replied, ‘Uh, no.” (Who can lie to Mother Teresa??) Mother Teresa took his hand and placed her rosary into his palm. “You will now,” she said.
As the man told and retold this story, it became known around the community. One day, a woman approached him. “Such-and-such a person is seriously ill. May I borrow Mother Teresa’s rosary for prayer together?” Of course, said the man. Subsequently, the patient made a full recovery. After that, the rosary began its own holy road trip of prayer. Unfortunately, at some point, the rosary was lost. So, all that my friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend has left is the wonderful story.
The wonderful story. Sometimes that’s all you need for sustaining miracles.
THE OLD SOLDIER SPEAKS
They took a large sum of money and gave it
to the soldiers, bribing them to say, “His disciples
came in the night and stole the body while we
were sleeping.” from Matthew 28
I took the money. But with my last breath,
I tell you, I am not afraid of death
because of what came over me that day.
An earthquake rocked that blasted stone away
and lightning struck us blind.
The corpse was gone.
Some women came and found us, close to dawn,
two simple soldiers up against the wall,
about to cut our throats and end it all
before the charge of dereliction fell.
So what would you have done?
We ran like hell.
Of course, they found us, then cooked up a lie
to spread around, and bought our alibi.
Years later, I still dream about that night—
the heaving ground, the terrifying light.
But from the start, no matter what I said,
I knew that Galilean wasn’t dead.