Category Archives: Mother Teresa

Work and Prayer

When the holy ABBA Anthony lived in the desert he was beset by spiritual apathy and attacked by many sinful thoughts. He said to God, “Lord, I want to be saved but these thoughts do not leave me alone; What shall I do differently? How can I be saved?” a short while afterwards, when he got up to go out, Anthony saw a man like himself sitting at his work, getting up from his work to pray, then sitting down and platting a rope, then getting up again to pray. It was an Angel of the Lord sent to correct and reassure him. He heard the Angel saying to him “do this and you will be saved.” At these words, Anthony was filled with joy and courage. He did this, and he was saved.

~~~ Sayings of the Desert


In a recent google search I received 776,000,000 hits to my search “Prayer Book”.  Our world is searching for and hungering for a way to pray. The disciples of Jesus said, “Lord teach us to pray,” and he gave them what we called the Lord’s Prayer or the Our Father. People who seek God want to pray, but prayer is sometimes, many times, difficult to manage in the lives that we live. Most of us were taught to prioritize our lives so that we can be successful in all that we do. We are busy, anxious, stressed, depressed, tired and in the amid hustle and bustle, prayer gets shoved to the back. It is overlooked and neglected while we go about the important tasks that each day brings us.

This model was later refined by Benedict of Nursia the founder of modern Monasticism. He wrote a rule to guide those who felt the calling of God to enter a religious community. The Rule was a guidebook on how to live in a communal setting and get closer to God. Benedict used a Latin phrase- ORA LABORA –or work and prayer. The purpose of any monastic community is prayer and closer union with God. Prayer can be words, listening to scripture or simple silence in the presence of God. The Monks of his time and those of today have a daily prayer schedule called the Office of Hours. There are seven times of prayer a day for the Monk of strict observance.

Benedict and Anthony both realized that a man had to do more than pray 24 hours a day. In his Rule Benedict states – “Idleness is the enemy of the soul” and he set a path for work at every community that allowed it to thrive spiritually and physically. The Monks were given various tasks and commitments that go to support the Monastery and help the outside community. These tasks are as widespread as greeting guests, making bread, candles, and as diverse as making   coffins.  The Bible is very clear and speaks of idleness many times. One of my favorites comes from Proverbs – “One who is slack in work is close kin to a vandal.” (Proverbs 18:9) Work is essential part of our spiritual life.

Obviously very few of us are ever going to join a monastic community, but we all want to pray and get closer to God. If we are to be truly closer to God, we must develop a rhythm of work and prayer that allows us to praise God for all he has given us. We must offer our work up to God and feel that he is using us to help his creation. To do so we are compelled to find our rhythm of work and prayer. I hope that you can find a rhythm that will free you to be the person that God created.


PRAYER

LORD, I offer myself to you today. Let all that I do with my hands be credited to you. Lead me to a place where prayer and work are both natural and are a part of my service to you. Grant the peace to be able to develop a life that is pleasing to you.

Amen

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Filed under Abba Anthony, Anthony of the Desert, Christian Living, Desert Fathers, Mother Teresa, Prayer

Compassion and Christianity

Malcolm Muggeridge was a great English writer who became a committedMalcolm Muggeridge Christian later in life. He tells the story that he became Christian because of the life, the presence, and the ministry of Mother Teresa. He wrote a book about Mother Teresa entitled Something Beautiful for God. In that book he tells about the time when he first met her and visited Calcutta in the late 1930’s. This is what he said. “I walked through the streets of the poverty of that city, poverty beyond belief. I kept walking, experiencing that until I became physically ill. I ran away, I went back to my comfortable hotel room and took a stiff shot of whiskey to expiate the wretchedness of my experience.”

Later he discovered Mother Teresa walked the same streets and went into the same placesMuggeridge quote he visited some years before. He said, “The difference — I ran away, but Mother Teresa crossed the line. She stayed, and healing took place.” He saw that her compassion for others came from a source that eluded him. To his surprise that source was her faith in Christ and His ability to change the heart of any man. With that realization he came to a transformative experience with Christ.

Many of us are professing Christians who are missing something. The missing link in the walk of many who profess Christ is a true compassion for the unlovable. Our western society is not compassionate by nature, but Jesus is. He sets the bar of compassion by eating with sinners, touching the untouchable, healing the outcast, and most importantly, giving Himself for the sins of all humankind. We can all learn from Muggeridge’ s experience and see life through that lens of compassion. When we do, things become so much more beautiful.

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Paradoxical Commandments

English: This is the portrait of Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa of Calcutta has these words on the wall of her orphanage. They are derived from the paradoxical commandments of Kent Keith. They were a new discovery to me. I hope you enjoy them.

 

 

ANYWAY

People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered,

LOVE THEM ANYWAY

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives,

DO GOOD ANYWAY

If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies,

SUCCEED ANYWAY

The good you do will be forgotten tomorrow,

DO GOOD ANYWAY

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable,

BE HONEST AND FRANK ANYWAY

What you spent years building may be destroyed overnight,

BUILD ANYWAY

People really need help but may attack you if you help them,

HELP PEOPLE ANYWAY

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth,

GIVE THE WORLD THE BEST YOU’VE GOT ANYWAY.

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Cure for Loneliness

Mother Teresa 1985 cropped

Mother Teresa

“The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty — it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There’s a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.”

–― Mother Teresa

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Filed under Advent, Christian Living, Love, Mother Teresa