Sister Nirmala Joshi speaks about the importance of the Eucharist in Mother Teresa's life
Kolkata (AsiaNews) With the memory of Mother Teresa's "sweet love" for the Jesus of the Eucharist and the prayer for the imminent start of the Synod of Bishops in the Vatican in the background and the Pope's words from last Sunday's Angelus in Castelgandolfo, Sister Nirmala Joshi, Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity (MC), spoke about the central place the adoration of the Eucharistic played in Mother Teresa's mission to the poor. On the eve of the Synod on the Eucharist, she sends her message: "May It lead the whole Church to an explosion of Charity".
Here is her interview with AsiaNews.
Sister Nirmala, in last Sunday's Angelus, the Pope said that the Eucharist was "the most precious legacy Jesus left us" and he then invited us to imitate Mother Teresa, an example of an "active and often heroic charity". How did the Blessed Mother inspire and encourage devotion to the Eucharist amongst the Missionaries of Charity?
Mother Teresa inspired and encouraged us through her tender and personal love for Jesus in the Eucharist. She always genuflected intensely before the Blessed Sacrament. She knew who was in there and loved Him with a passion.
The daily Eucharistic sacrifice and adoration were her very life. She participated in them together with us with great love, tender devotion and enthusiasm.
During Holy Communion, Mother was always deeply absorbed in prayer. Even when she came home from her travels in the wee hours of the night, she always rose at 4:40 am and came to the Chapel to pray and take part in the Holy Mass. During the adoration of Blessed Sacrament, she was always deeply absorbed in prayer with rosary in her hand.
Mother Teresa used to tell us: "We must imbibe the Spirit of the Holy Mass, which is one of total surrender and offering. Our life must be woven with the Eucharist."
Her love for the Eucharist called her to be on the cross with Christ, broken and given to others that they may have life in abundance. It also called her to stand at the foot of the cross of our suffering brothers and sisters in today's Calvaries. We saw how magnanimously Mother responded to these calls, and this inspired us also to do the same.
Our life as Missionaries of Charity and our works of love among the poorest of the poor are the continuation of the Eucharistic sacrifice we offered: the Jesus whom we adore in the Eucharist and whom we love and serve in each other and in the poorest of the poor.
She always reminded us that "tenderer is our love for Jesus in the Bread of Life in the Eucharist, tenderer will be our love for the Hungry Christ in the poorest of the poor."
She also used to say that "Jesus comes to us in the Eucharist to satiate our hunger and quench our thirst for God. He comes to us in the poorest of the poor as the hungry one, the thirsty one, the naked one, the homeless one, the sick and the dying one, the unloved and unwanted one to give us the opportunity to quench His thirst for our love."
Every morning Mother spent at least tow hours with us before the Blessed Sacrament in prayer and meditation, and one hour in the evening in the adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, which filled her with diving light, love and energy to recognise, love and serve Him in the poorest of the poor."
How were people inspired to imitate the example of Mother Teresa's love for the Eucharist?
Through her words and deeds, Mother Teresa encouraged children and adults to attend mass in their parish churches and take part in the Eucharistic adoration. Thus, the chapels in our convent remain open for those who want to join us for mass and adoration.
As far as possible, in each of our homes for the poorest of the poor, there is a chapel where those who wish are free to come to the Eucharistic presence of Jesus and receive His peace, healing love and joy.
In the houses of our contemplative branch, people are free to come for Eucharistic adoration that takes place all day long in both parish churches and the chapels of our convent.
Our volunteers, who come from all over the world, are free to join us for mass and adoration every day. And many of them do come. The Eucharist and the service to the poor have given new meaning in their lives.
On October 2, the Synod on the Eucharist opens. What message would you like to send to the participants?
We, Missionaries of Charity, entrust the Synod to the prayers and care of Mary and to all the Saints devoted to the Eucharist, especially the Holy Father John Paul II and our Mother, the Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.
We shall remain united with you, our dear Holy Father and all our Synod Fathers, praying for you and your intentions, participating with love at the Eucharistic sacrifice, contemplating and lovingly adoring Him in the Blessed Sacrament, and wholeheartedly and freely loving and serving Him in one another, especially amongst the poorest of the poor.
May this Synod lead the whole Church to a deeper understanding and love for the Eucharist and to an explosion of Charitya genuine love and concern for our suffering and needy brothers and sisters, especially those who are closes to us.