Today I am going to include in prayers of the people some quotes from Mother Teresa. In 1999 I had the privilege of spending a short period of time volunteering with the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta. I am aware and understanding of the current critique of the Missionaries of Charity and some of their outdated and dangerous practices. At that time when I was there in Calcutta, it was such a moving experience to be there less than two years after Mother Teresa had passed away. We gathered every morning at Mother House. Sometimes my partner and I arrived early enough for Mass, but usually just in time for a breakfast of hot sweet tea, toast and bananas. Many of the quotes from Mother Teresa were painted on the walls there at the Mother House. I have a vague impression of whitewashed walls and shiny polished red concrete floors. Once we were fortified for the day the volunteers all went off to different facilities: orphanages, seniors care homes and the like. The scenes in these places were dismal. The smell primarily of disinfectant. Tasks usually consisted of some form of helping the residents to bathe and to eat. But for me, the most important work was in holding another human in my arms. Be it a twisted crippled child, or a wizened old grandmother. Holding hands, rocking, looking at one another deeply in the eye and crying or laughing. Crying because none of it is fair. Crying because the reality is that life for the “poorest of the poor” can be crushing to the body and to the spirit. And also crying tears of joy and laughter because love is the greatest gift of all and I found myself on the receiving end of so much love and trust. All these years later when I read the words of Mother Teresa, these memories and images come back to me as an important part of my own faith journey.
Mother Teresa said, “Start and end the day with prayer. Come to God as a child. If you find it hard to pray you can say, ‘Come Holy Spirit, guide me, protect me, clear out my mind so that I can pray.’”
God of heaven and all the world, we come to you with our joys and with our sorrows. When the problems of the world and in our lives seem too much to bear, we come to you with our laments.
Mother Teresa also said, “Prayer enlarges the heart until it is capable of containing God’s gift of himself. Ask and seek and your heart will grow big enough to receive him and keep him as your own.”
Creator God, we praise you. Help us to quieten our minds, slow down the chatter of our brains. Let go of the lists, tallies, totals and sums. Help us to let go of conflicts, to forgive ourselves and others. Help us to let go of our regrets. Help us to pray:
In our regional council prayer cycle, we pray for Aldergrove United Church. We are thankful for this small friendly congregation where everyone is welcome. We pray for this Church to remain resilient, strong and safe during this time of Covid 19.
In our world council of churches prayer cycle, we pray for the countries of Bolivia, Brazil, Chile and Peru. We are thankful for the distinctive rhythms, music, dance, food and natural medicine in this area. The beauty of the region: forests, mountains, rivers, lakes, and ocean coastlines, and especially indigenous peoples’ relationship with, and care for, the natural environment. We pray for Christians to have the courage, imagination and energy to build bridges of peace and understanding against conflict and division, and to pursue justice for the poor, marginalized and dispossessed.
We pray for our Bienestar partners involved in our outreach project in Guatemala
Our brothers & sisters at Nyanyadzi Methodist Church in Zimbabwe
Peacemakers and peacekeepers, health care workers, teachers, engineers and the many
who serve throughout the world through many organizations.
We pray for all affected by COVID-19, whether in body, mind or spirit.
We pray for LGBTQ2SIA+ people who are persecuted in many countries
We pray for the future of our environment; protecting and respecting this gift of creation.
We pray for our friends and loved ones named in our Prayer List… …And now each of us can say the names of those that we wish to pray for. We can do this silently or aloud…
Loving God, we are grateful for your healing power. The healing power of prayer, the healing power of love.
Let us end with some more words from Mother Teresa, “Prayer is a joy. Prayer is the sunshine of God’s love, prayer is the hope of eternal happiness, prayer is the burning flame of God’s love for you and for me. Let us pray for each other, for this is the best way to love one another.”