A Missionary of Charity Brother
As Missionaries of Charity Brothers following the charism of Mother Teresa, our daily life reflects the values which are important in our vocation “to belong to Jesus.”
Called to be “contemplatives in action,” we give strong emphasis to our life of prayer. Rising at 5:30, we have Morning Prayer together followed by a half hour of meditation in our chapel. After breakfast and chores there is a further half hour of spiritual reading followed by the rosary (when there is time), before we go out for daily Mass at one of the nearby parishes. Toward the end of the day, between 6 – 7:00 pm we have an hour of Eucharistic Adoration including Evening Prayer and an extended time of silence. Then, after a brief examination of conscience and Night Prayer at 9 pm, we maintain silence until breakfast the following morning. All these community observances helps us deepen our personal relationship with Jesus, to whom we are committed by our four vows—poverty, chastity, obedience, and whole-hearted, free service to the poorest of the poor.
With so much prayer in common, it is clear that community life is also very important to us. We have meals and recreation in common, we have opportunities to meet and share about our work and spirituality, and we often go out two by two, or with volunteers, for our work with the poor. Most of our communities are small, with four or five professed brothers. Although this intense community life means that we have little actual privacy, we try to keep an atmosphere of quiet and to be respectful of each other’s needs for time and space for rest, reading, study, recreation, and personal prayer. The weekly rest day, monthly day of prayer, and annual 8-day retreat help to keep the balance between community demands and our need for silence and solitude, both important in our spirituality.
Our work with the poor is also one of our four essentials. We try to keep our ministries simple but effective, showing respect and friendship to the homeless people, addicts, prisoners, the house-bound, and families that we visit or the lonely people whom we welcome for a meal and fellowship on weekends. Brothers also help out in day centres and visit prisons and other institutions. We try to preach God’s love by our actions and presence more than by words. The type of work and other details of our life vary a bit from one country to another according to local needs and our capabilities. Our approach is very person-oriented. We pray that we ourselves may be instruments of God’s peace, and try to reverence Christ’s presence in each person we meet, since in doing anything for the least of his brothers, we know that we are doing it for Christ himself.
Finally, we try to cultivate a real simplicity of life in all areas, having few personal possessions, no personal money, no pc’s or mobile phones; using public transport; and benefiting from the providential generosity of those who help us with food, supplies, and volunteer labour, as well as with money. This simplicity is a way of being in solidarity with the world’s poor, but it also helps us to trust God’s providence not only for our material wellbeing but also for our spiritual growth. The great masters of the spiritual life through the ages have insisted on the importance of self-discipline and moderation. Even more important, this simplicity of life helps us to keep our minds and hearts focused on the essentials—Our Lord, his closeness to us each day, his plan for our lives, and his mission to bring good news to the poor.
In all of these aspects of our life we try to keep our focus on Jesus present in the Church, in each other, in the poor, and in creation, seeking to be open to his guidance and his grace as he leads us on the daily journey of our vocation to follow him in our particular way of religious life.