If Little is Asked, Little is Gained

Their life is tough and austere by worldly standards, certainly; yet I never met such delightful, happy women, or such an atmosphere of joy as they create. Mother Teresa, as she is fond of explaining, attaches the utmost importance to this joyousness. The poor, she says, deserve not just service and dedication, but also the joy that belongs to human love. This is what the Sisters give them abundantly. Today, notoriously, the religious orders are short of vocations. Nor is the shortage being rectified by permitting nuns to use lipstick, wear mini-habits, and otherwise participate in the ways and amenities of contemporary affluence. The Missionaries of Charity, on the other hand, are multiplying at a fantastic rate. Their Calcutta house is bursting at the seams, and as each new house is opened there are volunteers clamouring to go there. As whole story of Christendom shows, if everything is asked for, everything–and more–will be accorded; if little, then nothing. It is curious, when this is so obvious, that nowadays the contrary proposition should seem the more acceptable, and endeavour be directed towards softening the austerities of the service of Christ and reducing its hazards with a view to attracting people into it. After all, it was in kissing a leper’s hideous sores that St. Francis found the gaiety to captivate the world and gather round him some of the most audacious spirits of the age, to whom he offered only the glory of being naked on the naked earth for Christ’s sake.

–Malcolm Muggeridge, Something Beautiful for God

Spend some time musing on what Muggeridge says here. There is great truth to it.