Six minutes. That's the amount of time I can sit in silence without looking at my watch. I know this because I timed myself at the Adoration Chapel today.
Of course, my ears heard silence while my mind carried on its own inner conversations. Sadly enough not all of my thoughts were directed at Jesus—the Person I was visiting.
Silence is a rarity these days. Between the noise of cell phone, internet, radio and television, I might manage to get six minutes of silence a day. Sitting in the chapel, making a mental list of the errands I needed to run, I wondered: Why bother? Why not just go with the noise? Then I remembered that Jesus Himself cultivated silence. Before His temptation, He spent 40 days alone in prayer. After the death of his cousin John the Baptist, He mourned in solitary silence. He prayed all night before appointing the twelve apostles. Perhaps I can sit in silence for a little longer than six minutes after all.
It Starts with Silence: Saint Teresa of Calcutta
Mother Teresa of Calcutta, now Saint Teresa, had a business card. It read:
The fruit of silence is prayer. The fruit of prayer is faith. The fruit of faith is love. The fruit of love is service. The fruit of service is peace.
The fruit of silence is prayer. Have you ever tried to carry on a conversation in a crowded bar? With a band playing? That's what it's like trying to have a conversation with God in the midst of noise. Not much gets through.
Saint Teresa knew the value of silence. She began her day with the Mass, Holy Communion and meditation. She observed an hour of Adoration daily. She instituted a once weekly day of reflection, kind of a mini retreat. By cultivating silence, she could hear Jesus' voice. http://www.geocities.ws/lauho08/mother_teresa_on_their_daily_schedule.html
The fruit of prayer is faith. This was a revelation to me. I had always thought that I needed faith in order to pray. It was a great excuse to stop trying. Actually the opposite is true. Faith is a gift God gives us when we pray. Prayer leads us to personal relationship with Jesus.
Saint Teresa knew Jesus was present in the Blessed Sacrament. She wrote to her sisters: “Do you really know the living Jesus - not from books, but from being with Him in your heart? Have you heard the loving words He speaks to you? Ask for this grace, He is longing to give it. Never give up this daily intimate contact with Jesus as a real living Person - not just an idea.” http://www.christianforums.com/threads/please-read-this-beautiful-letter-by-mother-teresa.7464466/
The fruit of faith is love. Faith leads me to love, which is a choice and not a feeling. Saint Teresa had great love, but her feelings weren't so great. During 40 years of phenomenal service and leadership, she felt abandoned and alone. No one knew about these feelings, and the smile on her face certainly didn't match with her interior emotions.
The fruit of love is service. Service is acting love. Saint Teresa certainly has a legacy of service. Listed below are some of the organizations she founded in order to serve Jesus in the poor.
Order of the Missionaries of Charity,
Shanti Nagar, the first home for the dying,
Nirmala Shishu, a home for people suffering from leprosy,
A home for orphans and homeless youth,
The Missionaries of Charity Brothers,
The Corpus Christi Movement for Priests,
Missionaries of Charity Fathers,
Co-Workers of Mother Teresa,
The Sick and Suffering Co-Workers,
The Lay Missionaries of Charity
In 1979, Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She refused the accompanying banquet and ceremony. Instead she requested that the $192,000 prize be distributed to the poor and sick in India.
God doesn't always use words
The story of Mother Teresa's business card
Tips for students
One good way to find silence is to practice being silent by shutting off your mouth, not your ears. This can keep you out of a lot of trouble. When Saint Teresa was a child, her mother told her to keep her tongue clean. “Let us make a resolution to control our tongues. If we are to love Jesus with undivided love in our brothers and sisters and in the poor, then our tongues must be clean. Each day, Jesus comes on our tongues in the Eucharist. When I was a child, my mother told me in preparation for first Holy Communion that if I told a lie my tongue would turn black. One day, I told a lie and ran to the looking glass to see! It might have been my imagination, but I am sure I saw that my tongue was black. And I went and told my mother about the lie. I must take care that my tongue does not get dirty because Jesus will rest there as he rested in the womb of his mother, Mary.” http://blog.americancatholic.org/mother-teresa-on-the-power-of-silence