In celebration of the canonization of Saint Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa) on September 4, I would like to share with you eight lessons and prayers that I discovered from reading Mother Teresa’s writings. Feel free to share some of your favorites as well! The lessons so far are The Power of Loving the “Other,” Always Take Mary with You, God Works Miracles When We Make Ourselves Small, and God Enjoys the Simplest Prayers. I will write one lesson each day. Enjoy!
Lesson #5: Faithful Love Sweetens Life
Reading about the work of the Missionaries of Charity, it’s hard not to be impressed by the arduous nature of their work – how thankless, endless, and repugnant it often is. And yet, they persevere, out of love for God. The thing is . . . there is an unmistakable joy underneath it all, a sweetness that Mother Teresa spoke of as “fruit” in the small cards she passed to those she met. The cards read: “The fruit of silence is Prayer. The fruit of prayer is Faith. The fruit of faith is Love. The fruit of love is Service. The fruit of service is Peace.”
The sweetness of spirit that seems to be so characteristic of the Missionaries of Charity flows from the prayerful core of their daily lives. This prayer of Cardinal Newman’s, which the Sisters offer daily, uniquely captures this sweetness.
Help me to spread your fragrance wherever I go.
Flood my soul with your spirit and life.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of yours.
Shine through me, and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel your presence in my soul.
Let them look up and see no longer me, but only you, O Lord!
Every day we are given opportunities to love like this, to offer tiny baby steps of faithful love . . . steps that are only possible if we strengthen ourselves in virtue and daily prayer. We won’t always FEEL loving. But we can always choose faithfulness . . . if we are faithful to tend to our own physical and spiritual needs. Just for today, ask yourself: “What can I do to spread the sweet fragrance of Jesus in my world today?”
If you are enjoying this series, you might also enjoy my two new books on her life and writings: Advent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta (preorders ship 9/16) and Lent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta, (preorders ship 1/17), both available through Servant Books/Franciscan Media.