This book is filled with wonderful Mother Teresa thoughts on prayer. It also contains some beautiful prayers that can easily be incorporated in to daily prayer. The collection of thoughts is concise, on point and organized effectively. Mother Teresa never disappoints.
While this book is wonderful, it is not better than "No Greater Love" by Mother Teresa. "No Greater Love" remains my number one book of her wisdom.
Prayer speaks from the heart and when done well, it can bypass our inherent prejudices and resistance. Mother Teresa knew this, and her inspirational words, just as her prayers, transcend any faith position and speak to everyone. Dr. Anthony Stern, in his inspiring book brings this great master of prayer to the average reader. Everything Starts from Prayer presents Mother Teresa's own words in an arrangement both accessible and thought provoking.
As I was reading the book I was struck by the scope and the depth of prayer that the book reveals through Mother Teresa's beautiful and powerful prose. I realized that besides being an incredibly charitable woman, who devoted her life to help the poor and the sick, she was a great master of praying, with inner knowledge and experience that surpass many other spiritual teachers. Dr. Stern arranged Mother Terasa's prayers in a way that illustrates the nature and the process of prayer and illuminates the many variations and subtleties of praying. Mother Teresa addressed many aspects of prayer, from child-like prayer to healing prayer and even to the resistance to prayer. It is particularly instructive to read the way she addressed the special pain and loneliness of modernity. Her insights into the problems of the ailing psyche from a spiritual point of view are most interesting. When talking about the narcissistic self, she tells us that there is no place for spirit where there is only self. Even God cannot put anything into what is already full. (page 54). Unlike some current spiritual ideas, which divorce spirituality from morality, Mother Teresa teaches us that spirituality and morality go hand in hand. It is easy to be proud and harsh and selfish--so easy. But we have been created for better things (page 12).
I recommend this book for anyone who takes prayer seriously, whether new to the practice or experienced. We can all learn a great deal from Mother Teresa and use her experience to further enrich our own prayer lives and learn about our (spiritual) selves. It is a book which should be read not just once, but used repeatedly as a companion to the praying person, a resource that one can refer to when looking for guidance and inspiration.
The bibliography at the end of the volume includes books on prayer from different religious perspectives and the resource list will be useful for those who are searching for in-depth experience of prayer in a monastic setting.
Mark R. Banschick, MD Adjunct Professor, Hebrew Union College