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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Lady Diana & Mother Teresa

Awhile ago I came across the following in a book called culture making. The author related how Princess Diana and Mother Teresa died the same week. And how much of the world would give anything to be famous like Diana but so few will even come close yet almost all of us could easily be giving of ourselves...

....The moralistic turn to take at this point to urge us all to become more like Mother-to take up the vocation of service and among the poor, foregoing the accumulation of possessions and privilege. And there is no doubt that when Jesus met at least one young man of privilege, he invited him to do exactly that. There’s a difference, as the black preacher said between having a title and a testimony. Diana had the title, I can hear him say, “But Mother had the testimony.”
Furthermore, there is an unsettling asymmetry between the Princess and the Mother. I dare say that precisely no readers of this book ever could, in any possible scenario, take Princess Dianas place-either her royal station, her worldwide celebrity or her magnetic grip on every nearby camera. Leaving aside the fact that most of us are not subjects of the British Crown, you and I are simply not cut out for the job. Princess Diana’s singular life was just that, singular. There will be, in our lifetime, an absolutely tiny number of women (or men) who will charm the cameras and manipulate the celebrity press so effectively that they reach her level of fame. For the rest of us to chase that kind of popularity and visibility would be both foolish and futile. Of course, the sad conclusion of Dianas short life is that even for them to chase that kind of popularity and visibility would be both foolish and futile.
And yet there is nothing-absolutely nothing-stopping us from taking Mother Teresa’s place. None of the intrinsic barriers to taking up the life of a celebrity princess apply to those who might want to take up the life of a servant to the poor. As I write there are hundreds of people volunteering at the Missionaries of Charitys home for the dying in Calcutta. Some have been there for a day or two; others have stayed for years or decades. Hey obviously will not necessarily achieve Mother’s worldwide recognition but they are living, in every material respect the life she lived. At the end Mother Teresa was a wizened old woman whose face bore a crease for very year of her life, with all the plastic surgery money could buy, you or I will never look like Princess Diana in her prime-but for absolutely no cost except a life of love, we could look like Mother Teresa. For nearly all of us, becoming a celebrity is completely, categorically impossible. For all of us, becoming a saint is completely, categorically possible. So why are so many trying to become a celebrity and so few trying to become a saint?

Culture Making- Andy Crouch
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