To Be Honored By Men

A Hindu organization threw a reception to honor Mother Teresa after she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  Dignitaries were in attendance: the prime minister, his cabinet, various diplomats.  Mother Teresa was asked to address the crowd so she chose to tell the story of one man who had rung her doorbell a few days before.

It was a leper shivering with cold.  I asked him whether he needed anything from me.  I wanted to offer him food and a blanket to protect himself from the bitter night of Calcutta.

He replied in the negative.  He showed me his begging bowl. He told me in Bengali: “Mother, people were talking that you had received some prize. This morning I decided that whatever I got through begging today, I would hand over to you this evening.  That is why I am here.”

I found in the begging bowl 75 paise (2 cents).  The gift was small.  I keep it even today on my table because this tiny gift reveals to me the largeness of the human heart.  It is beautiful.

Mother Teresa kept the beggar’s small gift on her table but the Nobel medal was temporarily misplaced following the reception where his story was told.  It was eventually found under some coats in the entry way of the reception hall.