Mother Fr Sebastian
Mother Teresa Our Beloved Founder of the LMC's, Fr. Sebastian and Blessed Mother Teresa
Quotes of Mother Teresa

 
 

L S F (Laudetur Sacra Familia)

LAY MISSIONARIES OF CHARITY

AN INTRODUCTION

ASK MOTHER TERESA

"HOW CAN I BECOME A TRUE DISCIPLE OF CHRIST?"

This is a question that every Christian should be asking in the depths of the heart.

We may have been "good Catholics", all our lives and never have pondered the deep meaning of the Holy Scriptures like "Be still and know that I am God" (Ps 46: 10), or "Be holy for I am holy" (Lv 19: 2), or "You must be made perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Mt 5: 48).

Over the ages there have been many movements in the Church which were designed to help rank-and-file Church members to grow in holiness, and one of the more modern of those movements is the one which follows the way of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. It is called "THE LAY MISSIONARIES OF CHARITY", or "LMC" for short.

The point is simple enough: we are ALL called to be saints! (The English word "saint" is taken directly from the French word for "holy" which, in term, comes from the Latin word for "holy" – "Sanctus").

"Holy", linguistically speaking, simply means "different, transcendent, set apart, beyond the causes and estimation of this world" (cf. Fr. Benedict Groeschel "Healing the Original Wound"). Etymologically it means "whole" or "healthy", which is also a good way to think about being holy. But Fr. Benedict’s phrase says it very well: GOD is the One who is wholly "Other" and He calls all His children to be like Him, "…made in the image and likeness of God".

Jesus was "different" and He wants His disciples to be as Himself, "set apart" from the materialistic thinking of the society.

This thought, taken out of the context, could lead people to mere humanistic philanthropy, (or even snobbishness) but Jesus gives us the additional motivation of doing it for and to HIM when He says: "As often as you do it to one of the least of my brethren YOU DO IT TO ME" (Mt 25: 40).

Mother Teresa has lived out those words in her life, and, without her seeking it, has won the world’s admiration. Some people who admired her work and who saw her as a role model sought spiritual direction from Fr. Sebastian, a Missionary of Charity priest stationed in Rome. From their prayer and contemplation came the formation of the group now known as the Lay Missionaries of Charity.

BUT WHO ARE WE? AND WHAT DO WE DO?

(The Identity, Mission and Vocation of the LMC)

WE ARE LAY ROMAN CATHOLICSa MOVEMENT OF CONSECRATED PERSONS WITH A SPECIFIC VOCATION AND MISSION: Missionaries of Charity following the charism of Mother Teresa; missionaries of love, doing small things with a great Love – with Jesus’ love.

WE WISH TO BE A GIFTBy the gift of ourselves we want, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to quench the infinite thirst of Jesus on the Cross for love of souls, by the profession, renewed every day, of vows of Poverty, Chastity, Obedience and a fourth vow of Whole-hearted and Free Service to the Poorest of the Poor, according to the Statutes and the spirituality of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

OUR SPECIAL MISSIONTo work for the salvation and the sanctification of the members of our own families, for that of our Movement and of the Poorest of the Poor of the whole world

OUR SPIRITis one of total abandonment to God’s will, with child-like trust in His fatherly care, and readiness for service in profound humility after the example of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. As consecrated persons we are called to become adorers of the Father in spirit and in truth.

THE MODEL OF OUR LIFE – and source of our inspiration is the Holy Family of Nazareth, our Patron, with the purpose of transforming our own families into "true sanctuaries of Love".

OUR VOWS (by which we are consecrated) – We choose Poverty, to become rich in Christ; Chastity, to express and live through marriage (or celibacy) the one mystery of the covenant of God with His People; Obedience, to say "yes" to the sacred order of existence established by God in this world, and for the love of doing the will of God; and Whole-hearted and Free Service to the Poorest of the Poor, to serve Jesus in what Mother calls "the distressing disguise of the poorest of the poor", remembering His words: "You did it to me".

OUR VOCATIONis simply to communicate to others the influence of God’s love, the peace and joy we experience in our way of remembering and practising the words of Mother Teresa: "Love begins at home, in our movement, in our family" and "works of love are works of peace".

THROUGH PRAYER – we want to maintain our intimate union with Christ, with Mary, the "Cause of our joy", and with the Church, being aware that it is not possible to engage in the direct apostolate without being a soul of prayer.

THE STRUCTURE of our Movement is the Cross. Since it bore Our Saviour, it leads to salvation; and so it must also be for us in all our works.

OUR PENANCE – must be characterised by renunciation and joy, sacrifice and magnanimity, discipline and spiritual freedom, since it is deeply rooted in the mystery of the Cross and Resurrection. In our apostolate the ‘money’ to buy souls is suffering, accepted with love.

WORDS FOR OUR LIFEWe make our own the words of Mother Teresa: "Be only all for Jesus through Mary. Let us be pure and humble like Mary, and we are sure to be holy like Jesus". She prays: "Jesus in my heart, I believe in your tender love for me; I love you". "Mary, Mother of Jesus, be my Mother now". Mother also says: "Let us be ‘One Heart’ in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, thus making the Church more fully present in the world of today".

SUPPLEMENT

To make vows is an act of consecration and promise to God. You should be well prepared and mentally ready. Reconciliation is necessary prior to making the commitment. It should not cause concern to make vows, for instead you will grow and become a more devout person to God. A formation period of a minimum of one year is required, after being invited to become an aspirant. This year of discernment is not only for the aspirant-candidate alone, but also for the Spiritual Director, Missionaries of Charity (if in your area), and LMCs in vows, for they will also be involved in the decision of acceptance. In many occasions, the aspirant will need more than one year of preparation, and in some circumstances, it might be decided that the aspirant is not a candidate. The vows are private (not recited in a Church before a congregation). A special formula is read during a Mass and before a Priest in a Chapel or Church, with special guests and families. Two months ahead, you must submit your intentions in writing to the LMC group’s Spiritual Director. You must state who you are, what your involvements are at present, and also explain why you want to make vows. A similar letter is also written annually at the time of renewal of vows.

The group gets together as decided by its members, if possible weekly or a minimum of once a month, for Holy Hour, Liturgy of the Hours, Rosary, Reflection and Instruction.

If possible, the first Saturday of the month should also be observed as a day of prayer and include Mass (half a day if instruction is not included).

We celebrate the feast of our Patron Saint, the Holy family of Nazareth, on the Sunday before the feast of Christ the King, in November. A Mass is celebrated, where we repeat our vows as a group (R 10), and after praying the Holy Family novena on the previous nine days. Our family should be included in the novena and in the Mass.

By Mother Teresa’s special request, our homes should be enthroned to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Father Sebastian has reaffirmed that the Statutes represent the ideal. They contain recommended prayers and practices. They point the direction in which LMC members should go even if no one can really expect to live all the Statutes at once or perhaps ever. They are voluntary. However sincere one is, one should not be "scrupulous" in the pursuit of the Ideal. On the other hand, perseverance brings great rewards. The more we persist in prayer, the more graces we receive, so that growth in prayer-life tends to have a naturally expand-in effect, coming to suffuse one’s whole life and provide the ambience in which all our daily work, duties and joys take place, whatever they may be.

It is a good idea to start small, for example: twenty minutes of prayer in the morning and twenty minutes in the evening. Together this would include the Morning and Evening Prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours (the beautiful prayer of the Church framing one’s day), the LMC’s morning prayer, and examination of conscience.

Daily Mass and Holy Communion, if possible, is very important to spiritual growth, as is Confession (to a regular confessor) at least monthly, and the Angelus, at least at noon, plus a few prayers. In short, as is dear to the Statutes, the Movement is deeply prayerful, imbued with the spirituality of Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity.

Within the framework of the Statutes, everyone will have to work out, in conjunction with a spiritual advisor, what is possible for him or her to expand the programme as circumstances allow. Aim for the ideal!

Please note that the Statutes concerning marriage are the traditional teaching of the Church (confirmed therein by post-Vatican II documents) and these are the norm. But even here, the proposed periods of abstinence, such as in Lent and Advent, although an ancient tradition in the Church, are completely voluntary.

For further information call or write to

MISSIONARIES OF CHARITY-CONTEMPLATIVE

Via S. Agapito, 8 – 00177 Rome (Italy)

Tel. 06/ 21.70.77.02 – Fax 06/ 21.70.77.03


 
 
 
 
     
 
   
 
 
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