A Belgian nurse, Jacqueline, once wanted to join the Sisters but was unable to do so because she was too ill. Mother Teresa came up with the idea to have Jacqueline align herself with the Missionaries of Charity by offering up her suffering for Mother’s work. She, in turn, would pray for Jacqueline. Jacqueline became the first of many “sick and suffering co-workers” who Mother Teresa called the Sisters’ “Second Selves”. In a letter to Jacqueline, Mother Teresa wrote:
“Everyone and anyone who wishes to become a Missionary of Charity - a carrier of God’s love - is welcome, but I want especially the paralyzed, the crippled, the incurables to join, for I know they will bring to the feet of Jesus many souls. In our turn, the sisters will each one have a sister who prays, suffers, thinks, writes to her and so on – a second self. You see, my dear sister, our work is a most difficult one. If you are with us – praying and suffering for us and the work – we shall be able to do great things for love of Him – because of You…One thing we must have in common, the spirit of our Society – total surrender to God, loving trust and perfect cheerfulness. By this you will be known as Missionaries of Charity.”
To offer up our suffering for someone else is to take a painful, difficult situation and use it to bring light and love to others. If we must suffer, and in this life we must, why not bring about good from it? Instead of becoming bitter and spiteful from our pain, why not unite it with Christ for the blessing of others? In a sense we then honor His sacrifice and become more Christ-like ourselves. Today, let’s pray for the grace to be a “second self” for someone who may need our prayers and sacrifices. May we bear our sorrows with dignity and thereby touch the Divine…
Bl. Mother Teresa, pray for us!