Prayer Requests and Learning How to Pray

What You Can Learn from Mother Teresa

  • Brian Kolodiejchuk, MC Editor of A Call to Mercy
  • Published Sep 06, 2016
What You Can Learn from Mother Teresa

All My Clothes Are Wet

One day it was raining and all my clothes were wet, and I went to tell Mother, “Mother, I have nothing to put on, all my clothes are wet.” And Mother told me to go and take Mother’s nightgown from under her pillow and wear that. I did that.

“I was naked and you clothed Me.” (Mt 25:36)

“Naked for loyalty He hopes of you. . . . Will you be that ‘one’ to Him?”

“The poor are naked—for clothes, for human dignity and compassion.”

Do I look down on people whose clothes are shabby or dirty? Do I realize that they might be dressed like that be­cause they have no change of clothes? Do I realize that be­cause of their poor clothing they may seek isolation? And do I contribute to their wretchedness by my condescending look or by pretending I do not see them? Do I realize that they may be suffering because of want and because they are despised by others on account of it? What can I do so that they need not be shunned by others because of the rags they wear?

Do I have eyes to see that the people I encounter on the street need clothes? Do I have a heart ready to share some of my clothing with them? Would a piece of clothing that I do not need help someone? Approaching a needy person might be difficult and challenging, but it may also be rewarding. Try to find a person in need and give something with your own hands, in a way that restores that person’s dignity, that makes him or her feel honored and respected. Can I offer someone a warm and friendly greeting, acknowledging that person’s innate dignity by the way I interact with him or her?

Dear Jesus, 
help me to spread Your fragrance wherever I go.
Flood my soul with Your Spirit and life.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly,
that my life may only be a radiance of Yours.
Shine through me, and be so in me
that every soul I come in contact with
may feel Your presence in my soul.
Let them look up, and see no longer me, but only Jesus!
Stay with me and then I will begin to shine as You shine,
so to shine as to be a light to others.
The light, O Jesus, will be all from You; none of it will be mine.
It will be You, shining on others through me.
Let me thus praise You in the way which You love best,
by shining on those around me.
Let me preach You without preaching, not by words but by my example,
by the catching force, the sympathetic influence of what I do,
the evident fullness of the love my heart bears to You.

—Inspired by John Henry Cardinal Newman’s own prayer, prayed by Mother Teresa daily after holy communion

Reprinted from A CALL TO MERCY: HEARTS TO LOVE, HANDS TO SERVE Copyright © 2016 by The Mother Teresa Center. Published by Image, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Mother Teresa was born in Skopje (present-day Macedonia) in 1910 and joined the Sisters of Loreto in Dublin in 1928. She left the Loreto order in 1948 to begin the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta. Her service to the poorest of the poor became her life’s work. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. She died in 1997, was beatified in 2003, and will be canonized in September 2016. 

Edited by Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, MC, the editor of the New York Times bestseller Come Be My Light, met Mother Teresa in 1977 and was associated with her until her death in 1997. He subsequently became a member of the Missionaries of Charity Fathers and is postulator of the cause of canonization of Mother Teresa of Calcutta and director of the Mother Teresa Center. 

Publication date: September 6, 2016