By Hal Green
St. Mother Teresa of Kolkata (1910-1997), was one of the true models of the love of Jesus Christ for all humanity. A tireless worker for the destitute in poverty-stricken Kolkata, India, she responded whole-heartedly to Jesus’ call for her to “Bring My love to the poorest of the poor.” Mother Teresa founded the Sisters of Charity and worked with the multitude of homeless, especially those left to die on the streets of Kolkata. She sought to get them off the streets, to comfort and restore their sense of dignity. She wanted them to know that they, too, were loved children of God.
One of Mother Teresa’s profound insights about prayer is worthy of meditation and application to our own lives. Pray it as well as read through it. “The fruit of silence is prayer, the fruit of prayer is faith, the fruit of faith is love, the fruit of love is service, and the fruit of service is peace.”
A few comments on this extraordinary prayer statement:
“The fruit of silence is prayer.” Prayer leads to and blossoms in silence. In God-assisted silence, what seeks expression within you, as well as what God seeks to say or show you may be sensed, if not heard, by the ear of your heart. Remember that God summons you to “Be still, and know that I am God!” (Psalm 46:10) Hence, if you ask God to help you attain silent stillness and are thereby enabled to become God-conscious rather than self-conscious, God-assisted silence will follow as a gift of grace.
“The fruit of prayer is faith.” Faith is both one of the gifts and one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Faith arises and increases as you open to God in prayer. The truth is, “Little prayer, little faith; much prayer, much faith.”
“The fruit of faith is love.” Without faith, who among us is willing to open our hearts and risk loving and being loved? Faith constitutes the very ground of love.
“The fruit of love is service.” Once love has risen like a spring flowing from a heart steeped in prayer and built up in faith, love seeks to be of service. As Kahlil Gibran said, “Work is love made visible.”
“The fruit of service is peace.” There is a kind of grateful peace that emerges when you have actively sought to make a difference in the lives of others. As Mother Teresa had it, rather than seeking to do great things with little love, you should seek to do little things with great love.
(Contact Hal Green, Ph.D., at email@example.com.)