Friday, July 3

LESSON ON BASIC THEOLOGY: From the Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta


It was my first visit to a Home for the Sick and Dying Destitutes run by the Missionaries of Charity (MC), a relatively new congregation of religious nuns founded by Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta a little more than half a century ago.

I was invited last Wednesday for that visit by a friend Runy Sarda together with a group of his Fildravo Engineering employees, headed by his HR Manager Nelia Ganzon. Fildravo had been helping out every Wednesday in preparing and serving lunch to dying or soon-to-die destitutes there at the MC community Formation House compound in Tayuman, Tondo.

I saw Mother Teresa’s nuns unhurriedly yet lovingly taking care of their poorest of the poor soon-to-die wards, AS IF these destitutes were their closest of kith and kin or most intimate friends. This seemingly unbelievable behavior was soon clearly explained to me as to what their motives were and as to why the MC congregation had been fantastically flourishing worldwide. For why would they and even their millions of admirers like those Fildravo executives, so spontaneously take care of these destitutes to the extent of feeding them like their own babies, especially those who could not use their own hands and had to chew their food so very slowly?

The full explanation was just a few steps away from the working nuns. For another group of their confreres on their knees upon a cement floor, was reciting the Holy Rosary very slowly with obvious fervor. They were praying before the Blessed Sacrament exposed in a monstrance! Now and then, one of them would bow down to the floor at least TWICE before leaving the Chapel and the Rosary-praying group, in order to go back to work, and be promptly replaced by another nun who just came back from work!

Ora et labora cum amore! From Jesus Christ Himself who spent forty days in the desert praying and fasting, wondrously emulated by those solitary contemplative monks in the deserts of Palestine and Syria such as St. Anthony, and by the monastic example of St. Benedict at Monte Cassino, thereafter by St. Francis of Assisi, and some 2,000 years later by Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta and her disciples – they all have been reminding us throughout the ages that with God’s love in Jesus Christ as our motive for apostolic work, nothing is impossible!.

But without such Christian faith and love, everything and every poor helpless person would be looked upon as merely economic utilitarian objects. That is why without some level of spiritual conversion, the anti-life Reproductive Health Bill’s supporters in Congress or even those so-called ‘Catholic School’ theology professors, will remain obstinately blind. Blind they will be, to the supernatural reality of the transcendent preciousness of unborn human lives, who like our dying destitutes are all gifted by God with priceless immortal souls in His own image and likeness, and for all of whom His Son Jesus Christ suffered and died on the Cross.

And so these nuns of the Missionaries of Charity do not actively much less publicly solicit donations to fund their works of charity. Neither do they advertise what they are doing. In fact it is prohibited to take live pictures of themselves and their beneficiaries. They depend mostly on spontaneously inspired volunteers, donated goods and dribbles of money from thousands of admirers such as Runy Sarda. So they pray and work and thus flourish like the original and still faithful Carmelite contemplatives of St. Teresa of Avila and similar prayerful congregations today, whether as contemplatives in strict privacy or not.

And yet the entire compound was spotlessly clean! Runy et al washed and scrubbed the dining tables together with the floor, with generous amounts of soap and water immediately after lunch was over. I was told that this was being done THREE times a day. And the beds for the sick in the wardrooms with their immaculate bedsheets were even more of a marvel to me when I peeked in, afraid to dirty the super-hygienic floor with my shoes.

Talking to Runy’s brother Moti, who had recently been initiated to such tables-and-floor scrubbing routine after many years of a very comfortable life-style in Florida near Tiger Wood’s estate, he whispered to me with a moist eye: “After only 3 Wednesdays like these, it has become a reality check for me. My own problems now seem miniscule…”

It is also well known that the number of their new postulants and novices from far and wide are growing by leaps and bonds, such that they already have some 20 still growing MC communities just in the Philippines alone. Plus about a hundred professed Filipino sisters assigned abroad!

Yes indeed, it must be true that “In everything, God works for the good of those who love Him, whom He has called according to His plan.” (Romans 8: 28)

And so I give many thanks to Sr. Mary John Vianney, MC, of the Immaculate Heart of Mary community in Tayuman, Tondo for that most edifying sojourn at their oasis of love and generosity.

Catholic Xybrspace Apostolate of the Philippines
E-mail: <>

Attached is a reproduction of the providentially appropriate monthly message received from the Lay Apostles of Jesus Christ the Returning King, sent by the office of former Ambassador Howard Dee c/o the Assisi Development Foundation, Unit 503-506, Prestige Tower, Ortigas Center. <>

Monthly message as given to Anne, a lay apostle.
Lay Apostolate
ViewThursday, July 2, 2009 9:43:42 AM
To:The Secretariat

On the first of every month, Our Lord gives Anne a new message about His call to service.July 1. 2009JesusMy dear apostles, how grateful you will be that I have given you these opportunities to serve. You will look back at your time on earth and you will see that the opportunities I gave to you to serve others as apostles, were truly My greatest acts of mercy to you. You see that My service requires sacrifice. You see that often My service causes you suffering and perhaps you think that it would be easier to live your life without such a call to serve. It is true that often by rejecting My call to service in a day, you can diminish your immediate suffering. I acknowledge this truth. It is evident to all that service to Jesus Christ comes with an enhanced call to sacrifice. While I acknowledge this, I ask that you, too, acknowledge this. You are giving Me your day and I am then taking you from things that would give you instant gratification and asking you to delay gratification for the sake of others. It can appear in these moments of your life, that you are giving something up. What you do not see is that the more you serve Me and the more you abandon yourself to My call, the more grace you receive. You are giving up earthly pleasures and receiving a constant stream of heavenly pleasures. Compare the two. Earthly pleasures last for moments. Heavenly pleasures last for eternity. Perhaps you do not understand the difference. Only in heaven will you have complete understanding but let it be noted that heavenly pleasures come through you, blessing you, and then spread out, blessing all those around you. Your soul is open to receiving heavenly graces, not just for you but for the whole world. Imagine how beautiful a soul looks to heaven when that soul is an open recipient of heavenly graces. Thank you for helping heaven. Thank you for helping those around you. And thank you for helping Me. Regardless of your suffering and regardless of your sacrifices, there will be a moment when you will thank Me for allowing you to participate in this, My renewal.
-- Lay Apostles of Jesus Christ the Returning KingDirection for Our Times - Manila SecretariatAssisi Development FoundationUnit 503-506, Prestige Tower,F. Ortigas Jr. Road, Ortigas CenterPasig City 1605Tel. No. (02) 632-1001 to 03Fax No. (02)

1 comment:

Manny said...

I'm both inspired and convicted by this article. Too often we forget to pray, to nourish our souls, even as we try to work for the Lord. But human effort can only go so far. We need Jesus, Our Lord, to make us whole and give us the love we can share with others.

These sisters have so much love to share. I have shared so little. They are far richer than we. And the world is blessed through them.