Memorial of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
Recently, interest in the person of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, formerly known as "the living Saint" whose official entry into the Canon of the Saints we pray to be soon, has been renewed due to an article published in Time Magazine which supposedly exposed her trials of faith beneath all the holiness she seemed to exude while she was still alive.
As we celebrate her memory this year, it is good to recall once more her own famous meditation on the Crucified Lord. She was contemplating the Crucified when the dying words of Jesus struck her deep in her heart: "I Thirst." All her life, how she wanted to alleviate this thirst! So she dedicated herself to helping the poor and the suffering, for Jesus himself said: "Whatsoever you do to the least of these my little ones, you did it unto me."
And yet her private letters, now published, reveal to us a new dimension of our beloved Mother Teresa. Not only did she seek to fill the thirst of Jesus, she also experienced the same agonizing thirst! For long years in her life, when people around her saw only the joy of Christ that she radiated in her presence, she suffered with her Bridegroom the dark night deep within. Nevertheless, she was able to shine with God's presence to others--despite the darkness in her own soul--for as she herself acknowledged, it was Jesus shining in her.
Therefore it is indeed consoling, rather than disheartening, to know that she (also!) experienced this thirst for Jesus, which many of us undergo sometime in our life. May the example of Mother Teresa also inspire us to thirst for Jesus, and while we could not see him clearly as yet here on earth, find him disguised in the poorest of the poor whom we are called to serve. Happy Feast!
Memorial of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
who called blessed Teresa, virgin
to respond to the love of your Son thirsting on the cross
with outstanding charity to the poorest of the poor,
we beseech you,
by her intercession,
to minister to Christ in his suffering brothers and sisters.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
PRAYERS OF THE FAITHFUL
Let us pray to our Father in heaven
as we remember Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
who spent her life in loving service to the needy,
seeking 'to satisfy the thirst of Jesus on the Cross'
crying out in the 'distressing disguise of the poor'.
Father, hear your children.
1. God of the homeless, we pray that your Church may be a home where all the peoples of the earth may find comfort and shelter.
2. God of the downtrodden, we pray that our leaders may work together to promote the dignity of every person, especially of the poor and marginalized.
3. God of the abandoned, we pray for the Missionaries of Charity and for all who work for the helpless and the destitute, that they may find joy and strength in your Son who came to relieve the sick and the suffering.
4. God of the lowly, we pray for all who undergo material and spiritual deprivation that they may learn to cling to you in their need and find consolation in the solidarity of their brothers and sisters.
5. God of the hungry and thirsty, we pray for one another that as we partake of the banquet of your Word and Sacrament we may become Good News for our neighbor, broken bread and wine outpoured for all the needy and lonely of the world.
God and Father of us all,
hear the prayers of your children.
Fill all the hungers of the world
with the love of Christ your Son
present in this bread that we break
and in the bread that we give to the hungry poor.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.
This page is dedicated to the Missionaries of Charity of the Tahanan ng Kalinis-linisang Puso ni Maria in Tayuman, Manila with whom I did apostolate work during my third and fourth year at San Jose Major Seminary College Department. Their simplicity, compassion and prayer is a true source of strength, courage and inspiration.