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Mother Teresa’s successor reflects on suffering

Catholic World News - August 24, 2010

In an interview with Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Sister Mary Prema, superior general of the Missionaries of Charity, reflects on suffering and on the example of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. She says:

We can take advantage of suffering to approach [God] and ask him for the grace to endure it and thus be able to live this suffering well. Suffering often comes as the consequence of our decisions. However, it is also a consequence of a passing world/nature that is fragile. Of course, suffering can also be caused by things that are beyond our reach. Natural disasters, such as the earthquake in Haiti or floods in Pakistan, are an example. But, I am convinced that God allows suffering because it can transform us into better and more profound people. Thus, we are able to understand that this world and this life are not the ultimate goal, but that there is something more: the life of the soul which - if one really accepts suffering - is purified.

The greatest suffering is spiritual suffering, the suffering of the soul. Here in Calcutta, we see that it is much easier for us to care for physical needs, to carry out corporal works of mercy: wash dying people, provide medical care to the sick, and help the homeless in our homes. The services of spiritual charity require a much larger commitment. We can respond to the suffering of the soul above all with our prayers. It is important that God's grace touches people with such suffering. Likewise, it is also important that we pray for this same reason. Every day we stop for an hour of prayer before the Eucharist. It is crucial for our work. In fact, our work is not a social commitment, but a missionary commitment.

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  • Posted by: lauriem5377 - Aug. 24, 2010 8:50 PM ET USA

    May our Lord continue to bless the work of these sisters who each day carry out His will.

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