Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | January 25, 2020

Mother Teresa Understood

Eleven years ago this month, I took a trip that, in many ways, significantly changed my life.

After a season of prayer and seeking God about how to close the distance between myself and suffering humanity in late 2008, He reconnected me with a woman I had long admired — Mother Teresa. In January 2009, I was on a flight to Kolkata to serve at her homes for the destitute and dying. Kolkata is home to more than a million homeless individuals.


I was amazed that so many years after Mother Teresa’s death, volunteers from around the world continued to pour into Kolkata to serve at her homes. They too, were drawn there because of how Mother Teresa had lived her life in service to the least of these.


I was assigned to serve in the mornings at Prem Dan, her home for the destitute. I spent afternoons serving at Kalighat, her home for the dying. The experience changed the geography of my spiritual life. The borders that had defined the farthest I had ever been and the most I had ever done for God and His purposes were redrawn.

One of the most memorable experiences was watching how Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity served. Every morning, these selfless servants begin their day with prayer and worship. Amazing experience to worship with them. But then, a key component of their service is pausing to pray at predetermined times of the day.


To be honest, I was so into serving that I did not want to take time to pause. There was so much to do in caring for the destitute and dying. But I learned that it was precisely because there was so much to do that the Missionaries of Charity paused to pray for a few minutes several times a day — just enough to be reminded that the divine work that God has called them to do can only be done in dependence upon divine strength.

Mother Teresa understood the power of pausing.

I returned home with a renewed determination to close the distance between myself and hurting humanity by compassionately moving in the direction of people in need. And I returned home convicted that I had crowded pausing out of my life — justifying it because I am always so busy. As with the Missionaries of Charity, the busyness was precisely why I needed to pause.

Tomorrow I will end an extended period of prayer and fasting. As with previous seasons of prayer and fasting I scheduled daily times to pause to connect with God in prayer and to develop greater intimacy with Him. This time I used an app that my friend Gil Harris had told me about and that I had already started using.


The app was developed by Christian writer, adventurer, and New York Times best-selling author John Eldridge and is simply called One Minute Pause. The app is based on the One Minute Pause chapter is his latest book “Get Your Life Back.”


The app offers one, three, five, and ten minute pauses in which Eldridge guides you through the practice of releasing everything to God, restoring your union with Him, and inviting Him to fill you. When I first started using the app the one minute pause seemed like it was ten minutes long. Now, the ten minute pause seems like it is only a minute long.

I am grateful for how God used this app to help me to better focus on Him through my fast. Loved every minute. Now, I have to pause. I have been reminded once again about how important a simple discipline like pausing is in the process of spiritual formation. I have scheduled my pauses in my app and get a reminder so that I don’t forget.

Mother Teresa indeed understood the power and value of pausing. I believe it is one of the things that made her so effective and helped her in the never-ending work of caring for the least of these — something that can easily lead a person to experience compassion fatigue or to burn out. By taking time to pause, she reconnected with the strength she needed to fulfill God’s great purpose for her life. May we do the same.


Responses

  1. Wow. This is powerful.
    Thank you for all you do, Omar.

  2. Thank you so much for this great post, and for the info on the ‘pause’ app. I need that!!

    • You will enjoy this app, Pam. I really like it.

    • I can relate to being too busy to thank God for the little things that happen throughout the day. Or to lift someone up. Intentional pausing is such a great reminder for us to stay connected to Him. Thank you fir your message!

      • You’re very welcome, Shannon.

  3. Love your message! Serving at Mother Teresa’s was one of the greatest spiritual journey for me as well. God called me to the ongoing prayer ministry in 2004. With your permission, I would like to share some of your words with the prayer team!
    Thank you, Omar, for your faithful example over the years!

    • She was an amazing servant of God. Thanks for your kind words. Yes, feel free to share the post as you like, Celia. Grateful for you and Steve.


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