Spirituality of Caritas Malaysia

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“SERVING OUT OF LOVE – CARITAS IDENTITY AND MISSION”

THE CHARITY OF CHRIST URGES US
Caritas Christi Urget Nos (2 Cor 5.14)

Those who serve in Caritas mission must be first and foremost “true witnesses of Christ” – Pope Benedict

Jesus identified himself with the hungry, the thirsty, the strangers, the naked, the sick, the prisoners. We are called to recognise the face of Jesus in the faces of our brothers and sisters, in particular the poor and the marginalised.

Caritas work has been rooted in and inspired by Church tradition and history, since its foundation.

Spirituality is a mode of life in the Spirit, a docility to its life giving power, which mobilises all areas of our existence. The Word of God illuminates our minds and moulds our hearts for the exercise of fraternal charity and for justice, to serve communities, to live a solid spirituality of communion with Christ and to be docile to the actions of the Spirit. In this way we develop a spirituality of gratitude, mercy, and fraternal solidarity, proper attitudes of one who loves disinterestedly and seeks no recompense.

The starting point to trigger our spirituality is love of the Father, seen in the presence, face, human actions and words, and unconditional love bestowed upon Jesus, through never ending love in order to give life to every person and to all humanity. Therefore “being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction” (Deus Caritas Est 1).

In other words, the source of spirituality for Caritas is the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, his actions, his words, his very person, who went about doing good, healing the sick, returning sight to the blind and proclaiming the Good News of salvation, revealing to us the infinite love of his Father and our Father. This theological event forms the basis of the necessary relationship that exists between Caritas and evangelisation, as this is the duty of those with whom we collaborate and work in Caritas, continuously proclaiming and remembering the centrality of Christ in the solution to problems relating to justice and development. This is in fact the initial contribution: to apply to modern day problems the same attitude and words that Christ shared with his contemporaries, continuing the Church in this way, through the work of salvation as the one who gave His life to sanctify it.

It is true that in historical depictions of the crucifixion we find Christ suffering, but this contemplation of Christ cannot stop at the image of the Crucified One. He is the Risen One!” (Novo Millenio Ineunte n°28). We also see Christ in so many acts of love and solidarity from our people, every day we experience the paschal mystery of our Lord and this fills our work with spirituality, because he is the Risen One, who triumphs over sin, oppression, injustice, evil and death. Going beyond harsh reality, our faith knows how to find him alive, present and risen, in this way making sure that violence, pain, injustice and death do not have the last word.

This experience of resurrection comes through visiting our communities and witnessing the enormous effort people make to move forward with modest, almost non-existent means. Faced with the most adverse and desperate situations, in this way they evangelise us, bringing the exchange process of our involvement full circle. Given that anyone carrying out work in the name of Caritas, on experiencing this commitment from so many people, especially the impoverished, cannot help but fix their eyes once more on Christ who “has come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10)

In this paschal spirituality, we find spaces for happiness, freedom, affection, hope and the enthusiasm necessary to strengthen ourselves and improve our interiority, especially when we discover that we have not met the goals that we had set ourselves, that there is still much need and much poverty before us. We realise that we may have only contributed a small part to making this world more human, and to making sure that the hope for a better future is not lost, but in the certainty that it is the Spirit of the Lord Jesus which is guiding us and helping us to love and do everything with love (…) because “if I do not have love, I am worth nothing, I have nothing, I am nothing…” (1 Cor 13:1).

extracted from “Serving Out of Love: Caritas Identity & Mission” 

Click to view or download the HANDBOOK ON CARITAS SPIRITUALITY:
i) PDF File for view
ii) Digital Print Ready PDF File with cropmarks

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PATRON SAINT – MOTHER TERESA OF CALCUTTA

Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Skopje, now part of Macedonia, on 26 August, 1910. Her family was of Albanian descent. At the age of eighteen she left her parental home in Skopje and joined the Sisters of Loreto, an Irish community of nuns with missions in India. After a few months’ training in Dublin she was sent to India, where on 24 May, 1931, she took her initial vows as a nun and the perpetual ones in 1937.

From 1931 to 1948 Mother Teresa taught at St. Mary’s High School in Calcutta, but the suffering and poverty she glimpsed outside the convent walls made such a deep impression on her that in 1948 she received permission from her superiors to leave the convent school and devote herself to working among the poorest of the poor in the slums of Calcutta. Although she had no funds, she depended on divine providence, and started an open-air school for slum children. Soon she was joined by voluntary helpers, and financial support was also forthcoming.

This made it possible for her to extend the scope of her work. On 7 October, 1950, Mother Teresa received permission from the Holy See to start her own order, “The Missionaries of Charity”, whose primary task was to love and care for those persons nobody was prepared to look after. In 1965 the Society became an International Religious Family by a decree of Pope Paul VI.

The Society of Missionaries has spread all over the world, including the former Soviet Union and Eastern European countries. They provide effective help to the poorest of the poor in a number of countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, and they undertake relief work in the wake of natural catastrophes such as floods, epidemics, and famine, and for refugees. The order also has houses in North America, Europe and Australia, where they take care of the shut-ins, alcoholics, homeless, and AIDS sufferers.

The Missionaries of Charity throughout the world are aided and assisted by Co-Workers who became an official International Association on 29 March, 1969. By the 1990s there were over one million Co-Workers in more than 40 countries. Along with the Co-Workers, the lay Missionaries of Charity try to follow Mother Teresa’s spirit and charism in their families.

Mother Teresa died on 5 September 1997. Two days later, John Paul II described her as follows: “Present in memory is her minute face, marked by an existence lived at the service of the poorest, but always full of an inexorable inner energy: energy of the Christ’s love. Missionary of charity: that was Mother Teresa, by name and in facts”.

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