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The worldwide morning prayer of the Missionaries of Charity:

Dear Lord, the Great Healer, I kneel before you, since every perfect gift must come from you. I pray, give skill to my hands, clear vision to my mind, kindness and meakness to my heart. Give me singleness of purpose, strength to lift up a part of the burden of my suffering fellowmen, and a realization of the privelege that is mine. Take from my heart all guile and worldliness, that with the simple faith of a child, I may rely on you. Amen.

No modern day person has exemplified the response of joy to suffering more than Mother Teresa. In 1950, she founded the Missionaries of Charities in Calcutta, India with a goal to serve the poorest of the poor. By 1965, they were an international organization. Their overall goal is to provide wholehearted, free service - JOYFULLY, eagerly, freely and openly. Freely giving what has been freely received from God - without accepting any return in cash or kind, without seeking any reward or gratitude. With hearts burning with zeal and love for the souls of the poorest of the poor. Specifically, the focus of the Missionaries of Charities, as outlined in the book "Suffering into Joy - What Mother Teresa Teaches about True Joy" is:

-feeding the hungry, not only with food, but with the Word of God

-giving drink to the thirsty; not only for water but for knowledge, peace, truth, justice and love

-clothing the naked; not only with clothes but with human dignity

- giving shelter to the homeless; not only a shelter made of bricks but a heart that understands, that covers that loves.

- nursing the sick and dying; not only for the body but also for the mind and spirit.

Mother Teresa said, "My true community is the poor - their security is my security, their health is my health. My home is among the poor, and not only the poor, but the poorest of them: the people no one will go near because they are filthy and suffering from contagious diseases, full of germs and vermin infested; the people who can't go to church because they can't go out naked; the people who can no longer eat because they have'nt the strength; the people who lie down in the street, knowing they are going to die, while others look away and pass them by; the people who no longer cry because their tears have run dry! The Lord wants me exactly where I am - he will provide the answers."


Mother Teresa based her whole ministry on the following gospel message:

"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me." Then the righteous will answer him and say, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or see you thisty and give you drink?".. The king will say to them in reply, "Amen, I say to you, whatever you did to one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me."Matthew 25: 35-40

When Mother Teresa looked into the eyes of those she literally pulled out of the gutter, she saw Jesus Christ. She said, "They are Jesus. Everyone is Jesus in a distressing disguise." She dared not defy Matthew 25:35-40, for she knew when she was holding a starved, dying, and sick child - she was actually holding Jesus Christ in her arms.

Mother Teresa also used Galatians 2:20, written by the greatest theologian of all time, Paul, to show that Jesus Christ also lived inside her.

"I live no longer, I, but Christ lives in me."Galatians 2:20

Mother Teresa said "Christ prays in me, Christ speaks in me... Christ looks through my eyes, Christ speaks through my words, Christ works with my hands. Christ walks with my feet, Christ loves with my heart."

Because Mother Teresa saw Jesus Christ in those she served, as well as in her own actions and words, despite filthy, horrible conditions surronded by death, she was able to respond with JOY ALWAYS !!!!


Some words of Mother Teresa as detailed in the book ""Suffering into Joy - What Mother Teresa Teaches about True Joy":

Regarding the poorest of the poor -
"They are Jesus. Everyone is Jesus in a distressing disguise."

"The poor are wonderful people. One evening we went and picked up four people from the street. One of the was in a most terrible condition. I told the Sisters: "You take care of the other three. I will take care of this one that looks worse." So I did for her all that my love can do. I put her in bed and there was such a beautiful smile on her face. She took hold of my hand, as she said one word only, "Thank you,", and she died.
I could not help but examine my conscience before her, and I asked, "What would I say if I was in her place?" And my answer was very simple. I would have tried to draw a little attention to myself. I would have said, "I'm hungry; I'm dying, I'm cold, I'm in pain," or something. She gave me much more - she gave me her grateful love. And she died with a smile on her face.
Like the man whom we picked up from the drain. half eaten with worms; we brought him to the home. "I have lived like an animal in the street, but I am going to die like an angel, loved and cared for." And it was so wonderful to see the greatness of a man who could speak like that, who could die like that, without blaming anybody, without cursing anybody, without comparing anything. Like an angel - that is the greatness of our people.
And that is why we believe what Jesus has said, "I was hungry, I was naked, I was homeless, I was unwanted, unloved, uncared for, and you did it to me."

Joy in Service -
"In the slums we are the light of God's kindness to the poor. To the children, to all who suffer and are lonely, give always a happy smile. Give them not only your care but your hear."

"Keep giving Jesus to your people not by words, but by your example, by your being in love with Jesus, by radiating his holiness and spreading his fragrance of love everywhere you go. Just keep the joy of Jesus as your strength. Be happy and at peace. Accept whatever he gives- and give whatever he takes with a big smile. You belong to him."

From Mother Teresa's mentor - St. Francis of Assisi:

"This is perfect joy - to share in the sufferings of the world as Christ did."

"Speak the gospel always, and whenever necessary, use words."

"Joy is indeed the fruit of the Holy Spirit and a characteristic mark of the Kingdom of God, for God is joy. Christ wanted to share his joy with His apostles "...that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full." (Jn 15:11). Joy is prayer, the sign of our generosity, selflessness, and close and continual union with God. Joy is love- a joyful heart is the normal result of a heart burning with love."

When one of the Sisters, wearing a mournful expression on her face, was getting ready to visit the poor, Mother Teresa said, "Dont go. Go back to bed. We cannot meet the poor with sad faces."

"Never let anything so fill with you pain or sorrow, so as to make you forget the joy of Christ risen."

Role of Suffering -
"Without our suffering, our work would be just social work - it would not be the work of Jesus Christ, not part of the redemption."
"Today the passion of Christ is being relived in the lives of those who suffer. Suffering is not a punishment. God does not punish."

The Innocent Suffering -
"All that suffering-where would the world be without it? Innocent suffering is the same as the suffering of Jesus. He suffered for us and all the innocent suffering is joined to his in the redemption. It is co-redemption. That is helping to save the world from worse things."

Suffering is a gift -
"I was talking to our lepers and telling them that leprosy is a gift from God, that God can trust them so much that he gives them this terrible suffering. And one man, who was completely disfigured, started pulling at my sari. "Repeat that", he said "repeat that this is God's love. Those who are suffering understand you when you talk like this, Mother Teresa".

"Like all gifts, it depends on how we receive it. And that is why we need a pure heart to see the hand of God, to feel the hand of God, to recognize the gift of God in our suffering. He allows us to share in his suffering and to make up for the sins of the world."

To Die daily to self...... -
"Lord, help us to see , in your crucifixion and resurrection, an example of how to endure and seemingly to die, in the agony and conflict of daily life, so that we might live more fully and more creatively.... Enable us to go through trials patiently and bravely, trusting that you will support us; for it is only by dying with you that we can raise with you. Amen."

Success -
"God has not called us to be successful. He has called us to be faithful."

On the death of a child -
"God has given you this great gift of life. God wants you to give the gift back to him, give willingly, with love."

On her death -
{speaking of her mother, sister and brother who died in Albania-Mother Teresa was not allowed to visit them - until 10 yrs afer their deaths in 1990 in the cemetary} "We will meet in heaven. When I go home to God, for death is nothing else than going home to God, the bond of love will be unbroken for all eternity. "

The worst disease today -
"Once they came to a door and no one answered. The woman had been dead for 5 days and no one knew - except the odor in the hallway. So many people are known for the number on their door. The worst disease today is not leprosy; it is being unwanted, being left out, being forgotten. The greatest scourge is to forget the next person, to be so sufficated with the that we have no time for the lonely Jesus - even a person in our own family that needs us. Maybe if I had not picked up that one dying person on the street, I would not have picked up the thousands. We must think ONE, ONE. That is the way to begin. "

"Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty."

Our response to the poor -
"Today our poor of the world are looking up at you. Do you look back at them with compassion? Do you have compassion for the people who are hungry? They are hungry not only for bread and rice, they are hungry to be recognized as human beings. They are hungry for you to know thta they have their dignity, that they want to be treated as you are treated. They are hungry for love."

We are all handicapped... -
"We are all handicapped in one way or another. Sometimes it can be seen on the outside; sometimes it is on the inside. You and I come together not to plan any big thing, but to give until it hurts. The poor and needy enrich us."

A note to the disabled... -
"You can do the most. You are the ones who lives with Jesus on the cross every day. You pray for the work, and help and give us the strength to do the work."

God's provision -
"We do not accept any government grants, we do not accept church maintenace. We have no salaries, receive nothing for the work that we do. So we fully depend on Divine providence. We deal with thousands and thousands of people, and there never has been a day when we have to say to somebody, "sorry, we dont have anything to give you." We cook for about 9,000 people everyday in Calcutta. One day a Sister came to me and said, "Mother, there's absolutely nothing. We don't have anything at all." I could not answer her. About 9:00 in the morning, a large truck full of bread came to the door. The schools were closed that day. They dropped thousands of loaves inside our walls, and the people had nice bread for 2 days. How he gives, how he brings things. That is how we are able to care for thousands and thousands of lepers."

Helping "today"... -
"For it is not a waste of time or life to spend that time just feeding the person today. The work of tomorrow? There are many people who can do that, who can remove the works of injustice and so on. But for us, that person needs a shelter now. I think our part is fulfilled there. And by doing our part many people are getting concerned to do the second part - to improve and to help the people, to remove that poverty and that hunger and that nakedness."

"What you do, I cannot do. What I do, you cannot do. But together, we can do something beautiful for God."

A visit to Dachau concentration camp -
"Colosseum. This stands for the Colosseum of our day. Then it was the pagans who threw innocent people to their death. It was not idolaters of those pagan gods who threw these lives away - and how many millions of them. We are getting wose, not better."

All God's children....and Religion-
"My Brothers and Sisters in India and all over the world, We are all God's children and we have bben created for greater things; to love and to be loved. God loves each one of us with an everlasting love - we are precious to him. Therefore, nothing should separate us. Religion is a gift of God and is meant to help us be one heart full of love. God is our father, and we are all his children - we are all brothers and sisters. Let there be no distinctions of race color or creed. Let us not use religion to divide us. In all the Holy Books, we see how God calls us to love. Whatever we do to each other we do to him because he said, "Whatever you do to the least of my brothers you do it for me." Works of love are works of peace - to love we must know one another. Today, if we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten we are all God's children. That man, that woman, that child is my brother, my sister. If everyone could see the image of God in his neighbor, do you think we would still have such destruction and suffering?
Religion is meant to be a work of love. Therefore, it should not divide us. It should not destroy peace and unity. Let us use religion to become one heart full of love in the heart of God. For this we need to pray that we may fulfill God's purpose for us - To love and to be loved.
My brothers and sisters, let us ask God to fill us with the peace that only he can give. Peace to men of good will - who want peace, and are ready to sacrifice themselves to do good, to perform works of peace and love.
So please, please, I beg you in the name of God, stop bringing violence, destruction and death to each other, and especially in the poor who are always the first victims.
Let us remember that the fruit of religion is to bring the joy of loving through the joy of sharing."

A letter to President George Bush (USA)and Saddam Hussein(Iraq)before the Gulf War-
"I come to yo with tears in my eyes and God's love in my heart to plead to you for the poor - and to those who will become poor if the war that we all dread and fear happens. I beg you with my whole heart to work for, to labor for, God's peace, and to be reconciled with one another..."
You have the power and the strength to destroy God's presence and image, his men, his women, and his children. Please listen to the will of God. God has created us to be loved by his love and not to be destroyed by our hatred.
In the short term there may be winners and losers in this war that we all dread, but that never can, never will, justify the suffering, pain and loss of life which your weapons will cause.
I come to you in the name of God that we all love and share, to beg for the innocent ones, our poor of the world, and those who will become poor because of war. They are the ones who will suffer most because they have no means of escape. I plead on bended knee for them. They will suffer and when they do, we will be the ones who are guilty for not having done all in our power to protect and love them.
I plead to you for those who will be left orphaned, widowed and left alone, because heir parents, husbands, brothers and children have been killed. I beg you please to save them.
I plead for those who will be left with disability and disfigurement. They are God's children. I plead for those who will be left with no home, no food and no love. Please think of them as being your own children.
Finally, I plead for those who will have the most precious thing that God can give us, life, taken away from them. I beg you to save our brothers and sisters, yours and ours, because they are given to us by God to love and to cherish. It is not for us to destroy what God has given us. Please, please let your mind and your will become the mind and will of God.
You have the power to bring war into the world, or to build peace. Please choose the way of peace.
I appeal to you - to your love, your love of God and your fellow man. In the name of God and in the name of those you will make poor, do not destroy life and peace. Let the love and peace triumph, and let your names be remembered for the good you have done, the joy you have spread, and the love you have shared."

Wasting suffering... -
"The important thing, is not to waste suffering. Join it to the suffering of Christ; offer it up with his suffering. Don't waste suffering ."

The little things... -
"Do the small things with great love."


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