Much Confusion

Those who have met them at some point in their life or have been lucky enough to work with them, know them as MCs; others refer to them by their official name – the Missionaries of Charity; however, they are more commonly known as the Sisters of Mother Teresa.

One expects from such a huge organisation, which caters for thousands if not millions of poor people around the world, that it would be at least somewhat efficient. This is far from the truth. In fact, Mother Teresa herself used to say that the abbreviation ‘MC’ stands for ‘Much Confusion’ since whoever spends some time with them knows that plans tend to change instantly a couple of times or more. This may be frustrating, especially for first-time volunteers.

To understand this behaviour one needs to become aware why Mother Teresa started her congregation in the first place and how she managed to ‘organise’ such a big organisation in such a short time. If I could summarise it in just a few words I could say that she had nothing to do with it, since she left all the planning and logistics in the hands of Jesus and allowed herself to use all the gained time to love the poor.

In her ‘call within a call’ Mother recounts that she saw Mother Mary, the poor and Jesus, all asking her to take them to Him. She believed that she could love by “being with” rather than by doing something. She didn’t go about starting her congregation by investing in efficiency but by maintaining the simplicity in everything she or her nuns did. This means that anything they do tends to be more time consuming but that is not a priority for them. If loving someone meant taking the longer route, it didn’t matter that it took more time; the important thing was that she was bringing that person closer to Jesus.

The congregation runs on three important pillars and it is important to be aware of them since they give simple explanations why the nuns do things in the simplest and yet most inefficient way possible:

  • loving trust
    Trusting lovingly all their being to God gives them the courage to live the way they do. The sisters are known to live in the worst areas of the country they’re in, places with the highest crime rate, poverty, social problems and most especially unwanted individuals. No woman in her right mind would choose freely to live there with no protection or plan. And yet they do so willingly for they know that God will always provide for all their needs and accompany them through their suffering.
  • complete surrender
    This is related to the first pillar. All their thoughts and actions are “all for Jesus”. As nuns, they learn to let go of their humanity and allow Jesus to work. And all this is done with the intention of hoping to bring more souls to recognise Jesus and come to love Him.
  • cheerfulness
    And finally, the one distinct feature that anyone can recognise an MC from: The eternal smile, which they give readily and freely. They do so in all seasons no matter what they are going through. This does not mean that they deny their feelings but their smile is actually a reflection of their soul.

The fact that after such a direct and enormous demand from Jesus Mother simply put it into practice by loving the first person she encountered, she teaches us that she left all the planning phase in the hands of Jesus. She allowed Him to be creative and for the whole project to be entirely His work. By not planning it, there was no way that she could take the credit for her work, for she had done nothing but obeyed orders and loved her neighbour.

How ready are we to let go completely of our plans? How ready are we to let go of our security and trust that there is a higher being taking care of us?

Image: Martina Laferla

Maria graduated in BEd in 2011 and completed an MA in Social Justice and Education in 2012. She took part in a number of voluntary work experiences with the Missionaries of Charity both locally and abroad, and she currently teaches Chemistry at a boys' secondary school.

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