At the recent Synod in Rome on New Evangelisation and the Transmission of the Christian Faith, the Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity made this Intervention, which illustrates how the work of love united to an exposure to the Christian faith is the first step of evangelization.
Your Holiness, Dear Synod Fathers, my dear fathers, brothers and sisters,
Our Mother Teresa is known for the work done for the poor. Not all are immediately aware of the aim of our work that is ‘to bring souls to God and God to souls’. When asked by the Minister of Social Work about the difference between his work and her work, she responded: ‘You do it for something, we do it for Someone’.
From the beginning of the Congregation, Mother knew that the work would need many deep fervent prayers and much penance. With a confident faith and in a spirit of loving trust, total surrender and cheerfulness, she had only one desire, to quench the thirst of Jesus for love and for souls.
Contemplating Jesus on the Cross she knew and taught us how to live our vows of poverty, obedience and charity. Our vocation is not the work, but to belong to Jesus, and, as Jesus told Mother, ‘Your vocation is to love, suffer and save souls’.
In many countries, the sisters take medicine to villages in the interior, where Jesus is not yet known. The very sick ones are admitted into our homes, where they receive treatment, mostly for tuberculosis. During their stay with us, the poor share in the prayers of the sisters. They hear the Word of God, are present for Holy Mass and Eucharistic Adoration. They learn about God’s merciful love for them and how to pray the Rosary. Their deepest questions about life receive an answer. At their return to their village they spread their experience of Jesus to their families and neighbours.
In Kolkata volunteers come from many countries to share in the service of the poor in their homes. They come from all walks of life with very different expectations. These young people are invited to participate in the Holy Mass at 6.00 o’clock in the morning. After their service where they had touched Jesus in the poor, they return to the Mother House to adore Jesus in the Eucharist at 6.00 p.m. Usually a priest is available for Confession. Lately we have had an increasing number of Chinese volunteers.
One day a young woman approached Mother beaming with joy: ‘I have found Jesus in the home for the dying.’ A young man shared his experience in these words: ‘I had come to change Kolkata; now I see that Kolkata has changed me’.
Our Mother spread the Kingdom of the Immaculate Heart by offering a Miraculous Medal to every person she met. We go two by two, rosary in hand, and Our Lady opens the doors and the hearts of the poor for Jesus to enter.
Please pray for us, that we may make the Church fully present by our love for Jesus and the poor wherever God sends us.
I thank your Holiness and you, dear Bishops, for caring lovingly for the spiritual needs of our sisters in your dioceses.
The sisters and our poor are praying for you and the fruitfulness of this Synod.
This article is originally found on page 18 of the printed edition.