I love this selection from the book “Finding Calcutta”.
I commented one day to one of the sisters who was scurrying from one task to the next at how hard she worked. She looked at me a though she had not ever thought of it that way. Then she said, “Oh, but our first work is prayer.”
When most of us look at the Missionaries of Charity, we see their physical labour – cooking, scrubbing, feeding, cleaning, tending the poor, picking people up off the streets or visiting shut-ins. But few people know that Mother Teresa and the Missionaries see their first work as prayer and the work with the poor as a natural outcome of that prayer. They intentionally stop to pray six times a day in addition to praying as they go to and from their destinations and work. Mother wrote that these are times during the day “when we can regain our strength and fill up our emptiness with Jesus.”
Mother Teresa called the Missionaries “contemplatives at the heart of the world.” They are contemplative because prayer is their life. It binds them to God, reveals to them his will, and secures his blessing and protection all day long. Yet they also live and work in the heart of the world – in slums and in the midst of the most pressing needs.
Finding Calcutta: What Mother Teresa Taught Me about Meaningful Work and Service by Maria Poplin