Trust Sermon Illustration

Brennan Manning tells a story of John Kavanaugh and Mother Teresa. Kavanaugh was a Jesuit who in 1975 served in Calcutta for about a month. Kavanaugh wasn’t sure if he should return to America to become a university professor or if he should stay abroad and work with the poor. During his stay, he asked Mother Teresa to pray for him. Mother Teresa said, “For what?” John pleaded, “For clarity.” Her immediate response was a no; she would not pray for that. Kavanaugh was completely shocked. He responded to Mother Teresa by saying that he assumed she had always had clarity and had known what she was supposed to do. Mother Teresa said, “I have never had clarity and certitude. … I only have trust. I’ll pray that you trust” (John Kavanaugh, “Godforsakenness: Finding One’s Heart’s Desire,” America: The Jesuit Review, October 1, 2007,