“Pray that I have clarity…”


“When John Kavanaugh, the noted and famous ethicist, went to Calcutta, he was seeking Mother Teresa … and more. He went for three months to work at “the house of the dying” to find out how best he could spend the rest of his life.

When he met Mother Teresa, he asked her to pray for him. “What do you want me to pray for?” she replied. He then uttered the request he had carried thousands of miles: “Clarity. Pray that I have clarity.”

“No,” Mother Teresa answered, “I will not do that.” When he asked her why, she said, “Clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and must let go of.” When Kavanaugh said that she always seemed to have clarity, the very kind of clarity he was looking for, Mother Teresa laughed and said: I have never had clarity; what I have always had is trust. So I will pray that you trust God.

This account, taken from Brennan Manning’s classic book: “The Ragamuffin Gospel”, perfectly illustrates the true nature of faith. Faith is not about having clarity but having trust in the face of uncertainty. Human beings naturally seek clarity. It is not enough to know there is a plan for our lives, we want to know the plan. This desire for clarity can be the enemy of trust. As Proverbs 3:5 famously exhorts: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding.”

Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear…


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