Praying in the Presence of Our Lord with Mother Teresa
Praying in the Presence of Our Lord with Mother Teresa presents an outstanding, one-of-a-kind collection of the prayers, insights, and wisdom of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. Each has been carefully, and prayerfully, selected for use in Eucharistic adoration. Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R., is the series editor.
This book is out-of-print.
Foreword by Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R....7
PART I: Lessons from Mother Teresa...15
Our Lord Jesus...74
Holy Eucharist and Adoration...81
PART II: Prayers...95
Act of Faith...96
Act of Hope...96
Act of Love...97
Act of Desire...97
Prayers after Communion — Radiating Christ;
Prayer for Peace; Anima Christi...99
Prayer of Pope Paul...101
Prayers for Our Sovereign Pontiff...102
Prayer to Saint Michael...102
Prayer to Jesus Crucified...110
The Great Healer...110
Prayer to be Recited with the Crucifix...111
Prayer to the Holy Spirit...112
Daily Prayer for Enlightenment...112
PART III: Dark Night of the Soul 113
Prayer for the Canonization of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta...119
Prayer to Blessed Teresa of Calcutta...121
Everyone who has been following our series of Praying in the Presence of Our Lord books, especially those who use them for Eucharistic adoration, has been waiting for this book. We have all come to know of Mother Teresa’s great devotion to Christ in the Eucharist. Those of us who were privileged to know her personally have witnessed her profound devotion and prayerfulness in the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Now Susan Conroy has given us an insight which will be useful to all Christians in their life of prayer.
Having known Mother Teresa half my life, I can say that it is her devotion to Christ, especially in the Eucharistic presence, that comes back to memory now. I have seen her with the poor and with the saints, with the hierarchy, clergy, and religious, and I have watched her working with the poorest of the poor, some of whom had no idea who she was. I remember her most clearly, however, in the humble chapels of the Missionaries of Charity houses. These memories are graven deeply in my mind and call me to prayer myself, although I could never pray with the intensity and devotion I saw so often in Mother Teresa.
My very last memory of her is beside the Blessed Sacrament in the chapel of the contemplative Missionaries of Charity in the Bronx. She was going the next day to India, and we all knew that she was not well enough to return. Father Andrew Apostoli, C.F.R., and I were privileged to offer Mass for her that day, and I said to Father Andrew as we were leaving, “I’m sure we will never see her again. She is passing through the doors of heaven already.” It was, in fact, eight weeks before her death.
The reason I was convinced I would never see her again was that her whole personality was transformed that day in the presence of the Eucharist. There had always been a seriousness about Mother Teresa — a somberness, an engagement in the present situation but always a certain note that in some way she was not enjoying what was going on. It was only later, when her letters to her spiritual directors were published, that I realized what it was. It was her immense thirst for Christ and the feeling of having been rejected and abandoned by Him, which she did not believe but which she did experience. Those unfamiliar with the spiritual life will not understand this. It is, in fact, a very profound example of what we call the dark night of the soul. Our dear mother lived in that dark night for all the years I knew her. On that day of our last meeting, however, when she was just a few feet from the tabernacle, she was like a person transformed. She was joyous, witty, laughing — in fact, she was filled with joy. As odd as the analogy may seem, I told others that she was like a freshly opened ice-cold bottle of champagne. It doesn’t fit Mother Teresa, does it? Yet that is what she was like. I realized somehow that she was already entering the doors of paradise. Some of the mystics mention that this can be true of very saintly people as they approach death.
Read, study, and pray with this book. You will learn a great deal about how close Christ can be to someone in this life and lead them to great holiness. To me, Mother Teresa is not only a great saint of our time but also a prophetess of the Christian era. Like Saints Catherine of Siena and Teresa of Ávila, she can be compared with the Old Testament prophetesses. Let us pay her a great compliment by learning from her life, writings, and prayers.
Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R.
Mother Teresa “longed” for God. Like many of the saints, she longed to belong entirely to God and to love Him “as He has never been loved before.” She also wanted Him to be loved by many other souls as well — personally, tenderly, and faithfully.
While we were together at the Motherhouse in Calcutta in 1986, Mother Teresa gave me an old, tattered copy of the Missionaries of Charity Prayer Book. Inside the front cover, she added a personal touch, a hand-written note: “Be only all for Jesus through Mary. God bless you. M. Teresa, M.C.”
Ten years later, Mother Teresa gave me permission to share her words and teachings in the form of a book — “for the glory of God and for the good of souls.” She encouraged me to “do it with Jesus and for Jesus.” More recently, while receiving the blessing of her successor, Sister Nirmala, and gathering material for this new book, I sensed that Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta has been “smiling” on this endeavor to help us pray in the presence of Our Lord. Every time I see a sign of Mother’s own nod of approval from heaven, my heart is filled with a renewed sense of joy and thanksgiving.
I am so happy to share Mother Teresa and her spirituality with the world. I consider Mother to be one of the greatest saints of all times — a gift from God to us all — in the same way that the life of Saint Francis of Assisi is a timeless gift. I hope that sharing the prayers and inspirations which nourished Mother Teresa’s interior life can help us to advance on our own spiritual journey to perfect union with God.
The first part of this book contains some of Mother Teresa’s favorite inspirational sayings, sprinkled with quotations by other saints. The second part of this book is filled with beautiful prayers and meditations which Mother Teresa herself used to pray. As one friend exclaimed: “If they were good enough for Mother Teresa, they are a hundred times better and more necessary for me!” I want to thank the Missionaries of Charity — especially Sister Nirmala, Sister Priscilla, Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, and Mother Teresa herself — for graciously allowing me to share these precious treasures. May Mother’s prayers and words help us grow in grace and holiness alongside the Missionaries of Charity each day, and fulfill Mother Teresa’s desire that God be loved more ardently by all of our hearts.
Mother Teresa wanted to give saints to the Church — to draw people closer to God and to draw God closer to us. May these pages help to do that in a beautiful way.
You will see that one or two of the prayers speak about the “evangelical counsels” of Poverty, Chastity, Obedience, and Charity. I have left these holy virtues in the prayers, rather than editing them out, because I believe that even we who are living “in the world” are called to practice these virtues which Our Lord Jesus chose to exemplify during His life on earth. These Gospel values are not just for those living in religious communities, but for all who wish to live in imitation of Christ. Poverty, Chastity, Obedience, and Charity are indeed counter-cultural practices in our times, but they absolutely help us to give ourselves “to all those paths and ways the gentle Jesus kept to, as well as all the saints who follow Him” (St. Catherine of Siena).
Let us pray.