By LINDA M. LINONIS
Dr. Paul Wright shared “Mother Teresa’s Prescription for Happiness and Peace in Service” with some 150 people who attended a program this week at St. Paul the Apostle Church.
The lecture topic also is the title of the book written by the Valley cardiologist that details how he was transformed after meeting and working with the late Mother Teresa (1910-97).
In service to others is where people ultimately find “peace and happiness,” Wright said. Spiritual attitudes, exemplified by the life and work of Mother Teresa, to achieve that goal are compassion, love, contentment, gratitude, honesty, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, humility, community, faith and reverence for human life.
Wright said the “greatest books ever written” such as the Bible, the Divine Comedy, writings of Confucius and the Quran have topics in common. They address queries central to life — “why am I here?” ... “what is the meaning of life” and “what does it mean to live a good life?”
Wright said he was plagued with those questions. The graduate of the University of Notre Dame, an established and respected physician, sought answers from Mother Teresa. He met the nun in January 1992 when she was recuperating from a heart attack at Beato Juan Diego, a homeless shelter run by the Missionaries of Charity in Tijuana, Mexico.
“She was a spiritually powerful person ... you felt the touch of perfect humanity,” Wright said, describing her as “a living saint.”
Wright said when he was with Mother Teresa, he felt he “was in the presence of a higher spiritual being.”
He said her work with the poor focused on the end question — “what will Jesus ask when I die?” Wright said her answer, and the answer for all of humanity, can be found in Matthew 25 — “Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.” By not addressing the hunger, thirst, lack of shelter and clothing, sickness and prison experienced by humanity, people are ignoring God.
“Jesus comes every day in these guises,” Wright said, and people must face what they did or didn’t do. “We’ll be judged by how much we loved.”
Wright said he experienced “an ephiphany of understanding” in the importance of serving “the least.” And he noted, that’s a “lifetime process.”
He continued that “God has given the Earth the resources for everyone to live well.” It is humanity’s challenge to “share resources.”
The speaker told his audience that “we’re not all called to do the same thing, but we’re all called to serve.” He continued that people have God-given talents that they should use to that end.
Wright also signed copies of book, whose royalties go to the Missionaries of Charity begun by Mother Teresa.