Jim Castle was tired when he boarded his plane
in Cincinnati,Ohio, that night in 1981. The 45-year-old management
consultant had put in a week-long series of business meetings
and seminars, and now he sank gratefully into his seat ready
for the flight home to Kansas City, Kansas. As more passengers
entered, the place hummed with conversation, mixed with the
sound of bags being stowed.
Then, suddenly, people fell silent. They quiet
moved slowly up the aisle like an invisible wake behind a boat.
Jim craned his head to see what was happening, and his mouth
dropped open. Walking up the aisle were two nuns clad in simple
white habits bordered in blue. He recognized the familiar face
of one at once, the wrinkled skin, the eyes warmly intent. This
was a face he'd seen in newscasts and on the cover of TIME.
The two nuns halted, and Jim realized that his seat companion
was going to be Mother Teresa!
As the last few passengers settled in, Mother Teresa and her
companion pulled out rosaries. Each decade of the beads was
a different color, Jim noticed. The decades represented various
areas of the world, Mother Teresa told him later, and added,
"I pray for the poor and dying on each continent.
The airplane taxied to the runway, and the
two women began to pray, their voices a low murmur. Though Jim
considered himself not a very religious Catholic who went to
church mostly out of habit, inexplicably he found himself joining
By the time they murmured the final prayer,
the place had reached cruising altitude. Mother Teresa turned
toward him. For the first time in his life, Jim understood what
people meant when they spoke of a person possessing an aura".
As she gazed at him, a sense of peace filled him; he could no
more see it than he could see the wind, but he felt it, just
as surely as he felt a warm summer breeze. "Young man,"
she inquired, "do you say the rosary often?" "No,
not really," he admitted. She took his hand, while her
eyes probed his. Then she smiled. "Well, you will now."
And she dropped her rosary into his palm.
An hour later Jim entered the Kansas City airport, where he
was met by his wife, Ruth. "What in the world?" Ruth
asked when she noticed the rosary in his hand. They kissed and
Jim described his encounter. Driving home, he said "I feel
as if I met a true sister of God."
Nine months later Jim and Ruth visited Connie,
a friend of theirs for several years. Connie confessed that
she'd been told she had ovarian cancer. "The doctor says
it's a tough case," said Connie, "but I'm going to
fight it I won't give up." Jim clasped her hand. Then,
after reaching into his pocket,
he gently twined Mother Teresa's rosary around
her fingers. He told her the story and said, "Keep it with
you Connie. It may help." "Although Connie wasn't
Catholic, her hand closed willingly around the small plastic
beads. Thank you," she whispered. "I hope I can return
it." More than a year passed before Jim saw Connie again.
This time, face glowing, she hurried toward him and handed him
the rosary "I carried it with me all year," she said.
"I've had surgery and have been on chemotherapy, too. Last
month, the doctors did a second-look surgery, and the tumor's
gone completely!" Her eyes met Jim's. "I knew it was
time to give the rosary back."
In the fall of 1987, Ruth's sister, Liz, fell
into a deep depression after her divorce. She asked Jim if she
could borrow the rosary, and when he sent it, she hung it over
her bedpost in a small velvet bag. "At night I held on
to it, just physically held on. I was so lonely and afraid,"
she says, "yet when I gripped that rosary, I felt as if
I held a loving hand." Gradually, Liz pulled her life together,
and she mailed the rosary back. "Someone else may need
it," she said.
Then one night in 1988, a stranger telephoned
Ruth. She'd heard about the rosary from a neighbor and asked
if she could borrow it to take to the hospital where her mother
lay in a coma. The family hoped the rosary might help their
mother die peacefully.
A few days later, the woman returned the beads.
"The nurses told me a coma patient can still hear,"
she said, "so I explained to my mother that I had Mother
Teresa's rosary and that when I gave it to her she could let
go; it would be all right. Then I put the rosary in her hand.
Right away, we saw her face relax. The lines smoothed out until
she looked so peaceful, so young." The woman's voice caught.
"A few minutes later she was gone." Fervently, she
gripped Ruth's hands. "Thank you." Is there special
power in those humble beads? Or is the power of the human spirit
simply renewed in each person who borrows the rosary?
Jim only knows that requests continue to come
often unexpectedly. He always responds though whenever he lends
the rosary. He says, "When you're through needing it, send
it back. Someone else may need it." Jim's own life has
changed, too, since his unexpected meeting on the airplane.
When he realized Mother Teresa carries everything
she owns in a small bag, he made an effort to simplify his own
life. "I try to remember what really counts - not money
or titles or possessions, but the way we love others,"
he says -
MAY GOD BLESS YOU ABUNDANTLY.
Please feel free to pass this email on to all
so that they might know that they are not alone in their hour
Do It Anyway - by Mother Teresa
People are often unreasonable, illogical, and
self-centered; forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish,
ultereior motives; be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false
friends and some true enemies; succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be
honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy
overnight; build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, others may be
jealous; be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget
tomorrow; do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be
enough; give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and
God; It was never between you and them anyway.
Added January 10, 2000
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