A Song of Mother Teresa, by Brother Isaiah
Brother Isaiah made headlines earlier this year with Jacob’s Song, an introspective acoustic track inspired by an encounter with a homeless man in New York City. The young member of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (CFR) – a slender, goateed everyman who “grew up surfing, free-style skiing (yes, he has done a backflip on snow skis), playing in garage bands with his friends and playing lacrosse” – shot an accompanying music video with Spirit Juice Studios in dark, dusty corners of the city, armed with little more than a guitar, a drum, and a microphone.
That team is back with a new single – but now, the inspiration comes from one of latest saints to be canonized by the Church.
“Mother Teresa once said: ‘Prayer is not asking,’” Renewal in Motion, the creative arm of CFR, said in a post. “‘Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.’ These words inspired Br. Isaiah’s newest single, “Receive Me (i’m yours).”
Like “Jacob’s Song,” “Receive Me” is refreshing in its simplicity, opening with the mellow guitar of a Jack Johnson and an “oh, ah” chant that’s right out the Fugees. Both the song and video are at once more relaxed and more personal, forgoing the city streets for a stripped-down, minimalist set in which the barefoot friar contemplates his relationship with God:
You loosen my grip on life
You lighten my heart with your love
You relax my soul in your tender arms
And you quiet my heart
In this love-filled silence
Yes you quiet my heart
To your hands, my life
To your path, my feet
To you oh Lord, I abandon everything
Most songs inspired by Saint Teresa – and there are many – focus on her years of service to the poor and the sick of Calcutta. It’s easy to see why:Saint Teresa reminded the world that “the fruit of faith is love,” and “the fruit of love is service” – not just by her words, but by her actions. She astounded the world with the limitlessness of that service, earning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1985, and countless other formal accolades.
But Mother Teresa testified to another truth: that faith stems from prayer – that fundamental attitude of openness to God – and that prayer, through an outgrowth of faith, love, and service, flowers into peace. As her life and the lives of so many other saints makes clear, this is a peace that goes deeper than mere happiness, and is not incompatible with suffering and spiritual darkness.
What draws us to the sound of “Receive Me” is what continues to draw us to the life of Mother Teresa. It’s what faith and prayer are ultimately all about: entering into a peace which passes understanding.