Missional meditation for 11/3/2011: Prayer is the source of mission

A lot of us know Mother Teresa as a social activist. She lived most of her life in the slums of Calcutta, India, forming a religious and charitable ministry to the poorest of the poor. What we might not appreciate is the depth of her prayer life and relationship with God. Here are some comments about her as she was preparing to take her final vows in 1937. She was not yet "Mother Teresa," and she was not yet in Calcutta. At this time she was "Sister Teresa," and she was teaching at a school for girls elsewhere in India. This quote is to give a window into her spiritual life that had already developed:
After nine years in Loreto, Sister Teresa was approaching a very important moment in her life -- she was about to make her profession of perpetual vows. Her superiors and her companions had by now become acquainted with her prayerfulness, compassion, charity, and zeal; they also appreciated her great sense of humor and natural talents for organization and leadership. In all her endeavors she consistently showed unusual presence of mind, common sense, and courage, such as when she chased a bull on the road in order to protect her girls and when she scared off thieves who broke into the convent one night. 
Yet neither her sisters nor her pupils fully realized the remarkable spiritual depths that this hardworking and cheerful nun had reached in the midst of her daily activities. (Brian Kolodiejchuk, Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light, p. 19) 
She was very private about it, but she enjoyed what is reported to be an extraordinarily deep prayer life. This was the source of all her missional activity in the years to follow.

This is what really endeared Mother Teresa to me. It's one thing to be an activist of social compassion and justice. That makes her someone I admire. But it's another to do those things because she was especially close to Jesus. That makes her seem like a friend.

Plus do you know how small Mother Teresa was? I love the stories of her chasing bulls and scaring off thieves! :-)


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