What’s in a face?

A friend of mine recently lost some weight. When I told her how great she looked, she said not everyone thinks so. Some people have told her she’s too thin, though she is healthier now. The negative comments don’t trouble her. “It’s just that older women look better with plumper faces,” she pointed out.

That little conversation happened yesterday. This morning, I picked up a daily devotional book I bought last weekend, and it struck me that the back cover illustrated my friend’s point. Here was the face of an older woman, too thin and wrinkled to be beautiful. The face is weathered—nearly withered. And yet the face of Mother Teresa is beautiful to me and to many, many people.

Not only that, but the photograph is, to my eye, artistically beautiful. The photographer (UPI/Corbis-Bettmann) seems to have caught her in a moment of intense prayer. And the colored lines of her habit form an attractive frame. (I hope my habits do as much for me.)

The book is called Thirsting for God: A Yearbook of Prayers, Meditations, & Anecdotes by Mother Teresa, compiled by Angelo D. Scolozzi. I found it at the Well-Read Mom conference held at St. Thomas University last Saturday—at the vender table for St. George Bookstore (st.georgebooks.com).

Here’s the devotional quote for today, February 2: “We are at his disposal. If he wants us to be sick in bed, if he wants us to proclaim his word in the street, if he wants us to clean the toilets all day, that’s all right, everything is all right. We must say, ‘I belong to you. You can do whatever you like.’ This is our strength and this is the joy of the Lord.”

This attitude illuminates Mother Teresa’s face.

The third annual Well-Read Mom conference was a fabulous way to spend a winter Saturday afternoon. It was inspirational to hear the stimulating talks and to be surrounded by several hundred other Christian women who love books as much as I do. If you’re looking for reading partners or inspiration, check out www.wellreadmom.com.