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Mother Teresa on Way of Love
The passages below are quotations of Mother Teresa from the book “Something Beautiful for God” complied by Malcolm Muggeridge and published in 1971.
1. On Love of God
‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, with thy whole soul and with thy whole mind.’ This is the commandment of the great God, and he cannot command the impossible. Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand. Anyone may gather it and no limit is set. Everyone can reach this love through meditation, spirit of prayer and sacrifice, by an intense inner life.
2. On Prayer
It is not possible to engage in the direct apostolate without being a soul of prayer. We must be aware of oneness with Christ, as he was aware of oneness with his Father. Our activity is truly apostolic only in so far as we permit him to work in us and through us, with his power, with his desire, with his love. We must become holy, not because we want to feel holy, but because Christ must be able to live his life fully in us. We are to be all love, all faith, all purity, for the sake of the poor we serve. And once we have learned to seek God and his will, our contacts with the poor will become the means of great sanctity to ourselves and to others.
Love to pray---feel often during the day the need for prayer, and take trouble to pray. Prayer enlarges the heart until it is capable of containing God’s gift of himself. Ask and seek, and your heart will grow big enough to receive him and keep him as your own.
3. On Silence
We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature---trees, flowers, grass grow in silence; see the stars, the moon and sun, how they move in silence. Is not our mission to give God to the poor in the slums? Not a dead God, but a living, loving God. The more we receive in silent prayer, the more we can give in our active life. We need silence to be able to touch souls. The essential thing is not what we say, but what God says to us and through us. All our words will be useless unless they come from within---words which do not give the light of Christ increase the darkness.
4. On Holiness
Our progress in holiness depends on God and ourselves---on
God’s grace and on our will to be holy. We must have a real living determination to reach holiness. ‘I will be a saint’ means
I will despoil myself of all that is not God; I will strip my heart of all created things; I will live in poverty and detachment; I will renounce my will, my inclinations, my whims and fancies, and make myself a willing slave to the will of God.
5. On Humility
Let there he no pride or vanity in the work. The work is God’s work, the poor are God’s poor. Put yourself completely under the influence of Jesus, so that he may think his thoughts in your mind, do his work through your hands, for you will be all-powerful with him who strengthens you.
6. On Submission
Make sure that you let God’s grace work in your souls by accepting whatever he gives you, and giving him whatever he takes from you.
True holiness consists in doing God’s will with a smile.
7. On Suffering
Without our suffering, our work would just be social work, very good and helpful, but it would not be the work of Jesus Christ, not part of the Redemption. Jesus wanted to help by sharing our life, our loneliness, our agony, our death. Only by being one with us has he redeemed us. We are allowed to do the same; all the desolation of the poor people, not only their material poverty, but their spiritual destitution, must be redeemed, and we must share it, for only by being one with them can we redeem them, that is, by bringing God into their lives and bringing them to God.
8. On Joy
Joy is prayer---Joy is strength---Joy is love---Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. God loves a cheerful giver. She gives most who gives with joy. The best way to show our gratitude to God and the people is to accept every thing with joy. A joyful heart is the normal result of a heart burning with love. Never let anything so fill you with sorrow as to make you forget the joy of Christ Risen.
We all long for heaven where God is, but we have it in our power to be in heaven with him right now---to be happy with him at this very moment. But being happy with him now means:
loving as he loves,
helping as he helps,
giving as he gives,
serving as he serves,
rescuing as he rescues,
being with him twenty-four hours,
touching him in his distressing disguise.
9. On Kindness
Be kind and merciful. Let no one ever come to you without coming away better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness:
kindness in your face,
kindness in your eyes,
kindness in your smile,
kindness in your warm greeting.
In the slums we are the light of God’s kindness to the poor. To children, to the poor, to all who suffer and are lonely, give always a happy smile---Give them not only your care, but also your heart.
10. On Our Lady
Let us ask our Lady to make our hearts ‘meek and humble’ as her Son’s was. It is so very easy to be proud and harsh and selfish, so easy; but we have been created for greater things. How much we can learn from our Lady! She was so humble because she was all for God. She was full of grace. Tell our Lady to tell Jesus, ‘They have no wine,’ the wine of humility and meekness, of kindness and sweetness. She is sure to tell us, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ Accept cheerfully all the chances he sends you. We learn humility through accepting humiliations cheerfully.
11. On Thoughtfulness
Thoughtfulness is the beginning of great sanctity. If you learn this art of being thoughtful, you will become more and more Christ—like, for his heart was meek and he always thought of others. Our vocation, to be beautiful, must be full of thought for others. Jesus went about doing good. Our Lady did nothing else in Cana but thought of the needs of others and made their needs known to Jesus.
12. On Leaving Loreto
Our Lord wants me to be a free nun, covered with the poverty of the Cross. But today I learned a great lesson. The poverty of the poor must be so hard for them. When looking for a home (for a centre) I walked and walked until my legs and arms ached. I thought how much they must ache in soul and body looking for a home, food and health. Then the comfort of Loreto came to tempt me, but of my own free choice, my God, and out of love for you, I desire to remain and do whatever be your holy will in my regard. Give me courage now, this moment.
We shall make this year a year of Peace in a particular way---to be able to do this we shall try to talk more to God and with God and less with men and to men. Let us preach the peace of Christ like he did. He went about doing good; he did not stop his works of charity because the Pharisees and others hated him or tried to spoil his Father’s work. He just went about doing good. Cardinal Newman wrote: ‘Help me to spread thy fragrance everywhere I go---let me preach thee without preaching, not by words but by my example---by the catching force; the sympathetic influence of what I do, the evident fullness of the love my heart bears to thee.’ Our works of love are nothing but works of peace. Let us do them with greater love and efficiency---each in her own or his own work in daily life; in your home---in your neighbour. It is always the same Christ who says:
I was hungry---not only for food, but for peace that comes from a pure heart.
I was thirsty---not for water, but for peace that satiates the passionate thirst of passion for war.
I was naked---not for clothes, but for that beautiful dignity of men and women for their bodies.
I was homeless---not for a shelter made of bricks, but for a heart that understands, that covers, that loves.
This year let us be this to Christ in our neighbour wherever the Missionaries of Charity and their Co—Workers be. Let us radiate the peace of God and so light his light and extinguish in the world and in the hearts of all men all hatred, and love for power. Let the Missionaries of Charity and the Co Workers, in every country wherever they are, meet God with a smile---everywhere they go in everyone.
14. Apostle of the Unwanted
The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted, uncared for and deserted by everybody. The greatest evil is the lack of love and charity, the terrible indifference towards one’s neighbour who lives at the roadside assaulted by exploitation, corruption, poverty and disease.
As each one of this Society is to become a Co-Worker of Christ in the slums, each ought to understand what God and the Society expect from her. Let Christ radiate and live his life in her and through her in the slums. Let the poor seeing her be drawn to Christ and invite him to enter their homes and their lives. Let the sick and suffering find in her a real angel of comfort and consolation, let the little ones of the streets cling to her because she reminds them of him, the friend of the little ones.
Our life of poverty is as necessary as the work itself.
Only in heaven we will see how much we owe to the poor for helping us to love God better because of them.
15. Holy Communion
In Holy Communion we have Christ under the appearance of bread. In our work we find him under the appearance of flesh and blood. It is the same Christ. ‘I was hungry, I was naked, I was sick, I was homeless.’
16. Daily Prayer
JESUS MY PATIENT
Dearest Lord, may I see you today and every day in the person of your sick, and, whilst nursing them, minister unto you.
Though you hide yourself behind the unattractive disguise of the irritable, the exacting, the unreasonable, may I still recognize you, and say:
‘Jesus, my patient, how sweet it is to serve you.’
Lord, give me this seeing faith, then my work will never be monotonous. I will ever find joy in humouring the fancies and gratifying the wishes of all poor sufferers.
O beloved sick, how doubly dear you are to me, when you personify Christ; and what a privilege is mine to be allowed to tend you.
Sweetest Lord, make me appreciative of the dignity of my high vocation, and its many responsibilities. Never permit me to disgrace it by giving way to coldness, unkindness, or impatience.
And 0 God, while you are Jesus, my patient, deign also to be to me a patient Jesus, bearing with my faults, looking only to my intention, which is to love and serve you in the person of each of your sick.
Lord, increase my faith, bless my efforts and work, now and for evermore. Amen.
17. Go Tell Everyone
God’s Spirit is in my heart,
He has called me and set me apart,
This is what I have to do,
What I have to do.
He’s sent me to give the good news to the poor,
Tell prisoners that they are prisoners no more,
Tell blind people that they can see,
And set the down—trodden free,
And go tell everyone the news that the kingdom of God has come,
And go tell everyone the news that God’s kingdom has come.
Just as the Father sent me,
So I’m sending you out to be
My witnesses throughout the world,
The whole of the world.
Don’t carry a load in your pack,
You don’t need two shirts on your back,
The workman can earn his own keep,
Can earn his own keep.
Don’t worry what you have to say,
Don’t worry because on that day,
God’s Spirit will speak in your heart,
Will speak in your heart.
18. Whatsoever You Do
When I was hungry, you gave me to eat,
When I was thirsty, you gave me to drink,
Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers,
that you do unto me.
Now enter the house of my Father.
When I was homeless, you opened your doors,
When I was naked, you gave me your coat,
When I was weary, you helped me find rest,
When I was anxious, you calmed all my fears,
When I was little, you taught me to read,
When I was lonely, you gave me your love,
When in a prison, you came to my cell,
When on a sick bed, you cared for my needs,
In a strange country, you made me at home,
Seeking employment, you found me a job,
Hurt in a battle, you bound up my wounds,
Searching for kindness, you held out your hand,
When I was Negro, or Chinese, or White,
Mocked and insulted you carried my cross,
When I was aged, you bothered to smile,
When I was restless, you listened and cared,
You saw me covered with spittle and blood,
You knew my features, though grimy with sweat,
When I was laughed at, you stood by my side,
When I was happy, you shared in my joy.
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