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Mother Teresa on daily schedule of Missionaries of Charity
The passages below are quotations of Mother Teresa from the book “Loving Jesus,” edited by Jose Luis Gonzalez-Balado
1. OUR DAILY SCHEDULE (34-36)
To be able to give life like that, our lives are centred on the Eucharist and prayer. We begin our day with Mass, Holy Communion, and meditation.
Our community life is very closely-woven together. We do everything together: we pray together, we eat together, we work together.
Since we have only two saris, we wash one every day.
After Mass and breakfast, some Sisters go to the Home for Dying Destitutes, some to the leper colonies, some to the little schools we have in the slums, some take care of the preparation and distribution of food, some go to visit needy families, some go to teach catechism, and so on.
They go all over the city (in Calcutta alone we have fifty-nine centres, the Home for Dying Destitutes is only one of them). The Sisters travel everywhere with a rosary in their hands. That is the way we pray in the streets. We do not go to the people without praying. The rosary has been our strength and our protection.
We always go in twos, and we come back around 12:30 p.m. At that time we have our lunch. After lunch, very often we have to do housework.
Then, for half an hour, every Sister has to rest, because all the time they are on their feet. After that, we have an examination of conscience, pray the Liturgy of the Hours, and the Via Crucis, “The Way of the Cross”.
At 2 p.m., we have spiritual reading for half an hour, and then a cup of tea.
At 3 o’clock, the professed Sisters again go out. (Novices and postulants remain in the house. They have classes in theology, Scripture and other subjects, such as the rules of monastic orders.)
Between 6:15 and 6:30 p.m., everybody comes back home.
From 6:30 to 7:30 we have adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. To be able to have this hour of adoration, we have not had to cut back on our work. We can work as many as ten or even twelve hours a day in service to the poor, following this schedule.
At 7:30 p.m., we have dinner.
After dinner, for about twenty minutes, we have to prepare the work for the next morning.
From 8:30 until 9, we have recreation. Everybody talks at the top of her lungs, after having worked all day long.
At 9 p.m., we go to the chapel for night prayers and to prepare the meditations for the next morning.
Once a week, every week, we have a day of recollection. That day, the first-year novices go out, because they are they ones who don’t go out every day. Then all the professed Sisters stay in for the day of recollection. That day we also go to confession and spend more time in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
This is a time when we can regain our strength and fill up our emptiness again with Jesus. That’s why it is a very beautiful day.
2. The Family and the Poor (7-8)
We read in Scripture that God speaks of his love for us, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” (Jeremiah 31:3). And he also says, “I have called you by your name. You are mine. The waters will not drown you. Fire will not bum you. I will give up nations for you. You are precious to me. I love you. Even if a mother could forget her child, I will not forget you. I have carved you on the palm of my hand. You are precious to me. I love you.” (Isaiah 43:1—4; 49:15—16).
These are the words of God himself for you, for me, for everyone, even for the poorest of the poor. For he has created us for greater things: to love and to be loved. He wants us to love one another as he loves us.
Let us stop for a moment to think about the tenderness of God’s love for us. There are thousands of people who would love to have what you have. And yet God has chosen you to be where you are today to share the joy of loving others.
To make this love more real, more loving, more living, he gives himself as the Bread of Life. He gives us his own life. He wants us to love one another, to give ourselves to each other until it hurts. It does not matter how much we give, but how much love we put into our giving.
In the Constitution of the Missionaries of Charity, we have a beautiful part which speaks of the tenderness of Christ, and also of his faithful friendship and love.
To make that love more living, more sure, more tender, Jesus gives us the Eucharist. This is why it is necessary for every Missionary of Charity to feed upon the Eucharist in order to be a true carrier of God’s love. She must live on the Eucharist and have her heart and life woven with the Eucharist. No Missionary of Charity can give Jesus if she does not have Jesus in her heart.
3. REASON TO BE HAPPY (54)
Why are the Sisters always smiling?
Because we are not social workers.
We are trying to be contemplatives in the heart the world. We have chosen to be Missionaries of Charity, to be carriers of God’s love.
We have no reason to be unhappy.
How can that be?
If the words of Jesus are true, “I was hungry, I was sick, I was naked, I was homeless, and you it to me” (Matthew 25:40), then we are touching him twenty-four hours a day.
So you, in your lives, in your own homes, can be in his presence twenty-four hours a day, if your lives are woven with prayer and sacrifice.
4. SHARE THE JOY OF LOVING (68-69)
What does it mean to be a co-worker with the Missionaries of Charity? A co-worker is a person or a family where there is love, peace and joy. If you have no peace and love in your own family or your own heart, how can you give it to others?
Love, to be true, has to hurt. I hope you will learn that in your lives and share the joy of loving, because a co-worker is someone who loves God. If you love God, then you will love those around you. Then there will be joy, love and peace in your families. Then you will become carriers of God’s love.
We will be very blessed to have the joy this love brings of working together and making our work a prayer.
With Jesus, for Jesus, to Jesus.
With God, for God, to God.
That way we are praying to God, not just doing our work.
When you are cooking, washing clothes, working hard in the office, do it all with joy. That will be your love for God in action!
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