In addition to professing the three evangelical counsels, the Institute professes a fourth vow of Wholehearted Free service to the Poorest of the Poor.
      This fourth vow is at the heart of all that makes up our MC charism. The mystery of Christ, of His thirst, of His identity and ours, is “hidden in the poor.” In it the Institute continuously rediscovers the center and foundation of our call. The fourth vow contains the seed of our mission and spirituality, of our entire way of life, and of our vision of God and man.
      Each of the elements of our fourth vow expresses a characteristic aspect of the spirit and service to which we commit ourselves:
      Wholehearted : with an all-absorbing zeal for souls; with all our energy, talent, care, interest, and love. It is the fruit of our undivided love for the Lord in chastity for only an undivided heart can give wholehearted service. By it we give the poor not only our activity to serve them, but our hearts to love them – to be a sign and channel of God's own love.
      Free : This implies service that is rendered liberally and generously, eagerly and without reluctance, “freely giving what we have freely received.”
      Service : With the mind, heart, and actions that bespeak our freely chosen state of servanthood, we dedicate ourselves to labor untiringly for the evangelization, salvation and sanctification of the poor to whom we are sent in obedience.
      As Jesus, we are to empty ourselves – “taking the form of a servant,” serving not out of condescension, but in a spirit of identification with the poor, allowing them to see their dignity as children of God through our eyes, our words and gestures, and our respect.
      Poorest of the Poor : For us, the “Poorest of the Poor” are:
                    a) those whose individual condition or general surroundings combine both material and spiritual pain or privation; and
                    b) those most acutely abandoned and suffering in any way – be it physically, spiritually, emotionally, economically, or socially.
      Our priestly service to the poorest among the poor is a deliberate choice. It expresses our call and commitment to serve those in whom, and for whom, the Lord most thirsts – who most fully share His Cross, and most visibly resemble the Crucified One whose cry of thirst they echo before the Church and the world.
      Among these are the hungry, the homeless, the unemployed, prisoners, the sick and dying, the handicapped, the abandoned, alcoholics and those addicted to drugs, the lonely and unloved, the rejected, all those who are considered a burden to society, but among these especially those whose thirst and need of God is greatest, or who most suffer the consequences of His real or apparent absence in their lives.
      All our brother priests shall likewise be counted among the Poorest of the Poor – since they are united and conformed in a particular way to the passion and self-emptying poverty of Jesus: both as “alter Christus” by virtue of their priesthood, and as men who must carry this great treasure in the “vessels of clay” of their own human frailty. They shall be the focus of special fraternal love, put into “living action” as the Lord may allow.
      We deem it a privilege and a gift of God to serve Jesus in the poor.“In everything give wholehearted free service – in your walking, eating, working, praying. Jesus slept in the boat because He was tired, and if today we feel tired because we have worked like Jesus, because we have seen and touched Jesus in the distressing disguise, then let us be happy." (Blessed Mother Teresa)
 Even before beginning her work for the poor, the grace of September 10th was engendering in Mother Teresa a specific, marian, ' spirit ' that would become the common heritage of her religious family.
      By this experience of call, the grace of a new charism had been placed in Mother Teresa's soul. Since every charism contains both a specific mission, and a particular spirituality, it follows that, in that moment of grace not only the mission to the poor, but also the spirit in which it was to be lived, was communicated to her.
      This 'Spirit of the Society' was the result of Mother Teresa's encounter, in the company of Our Lady, with the ardent love of God revealed and channeled in the thirst of Jesus. This response was a threefold spirit of 'Loving Trust, Total Surrender, and Cheerfulness' - three states of soul that preceded one from the other, and so came to be seen by Mother Teresa as forming a single "Spirit."
      While the experience of September 10th produced the call to satiate Jesus' thirst, that experience also engendered a response in her soul, a loving attitude of heart with which she would satiate Him .
" Through living the Spirit of our Society, we will be able to
satiate the "thirst of Jesus" on the Cross for love of souls."
(Blessed Teresa of Calcutta )
"Live the Spirit of Total Surrender, Loving Trust
and Cheerfulness and so fulfil the aim - to satiate
the thirst of Jesus on the Cross for love of souls."
(Blessed Teresa of Calcutta )
      A closer look at inner dynamics of the Spirit of the Society suggests that trust, surrender, and joy are the three-fold response to the experience of being loved . The Spirit of the Society, therefore, is not a composite of three separate virtues, but one three-fold response to the experience of Jesus' thirst - leading from Trust to Surrender to Cheerfulness.
      Mother Teresa consistently presents the Spirit of the Society as being an extension, a participation in Our Lady's spirit:
"If we stand with Our Lady, She will give us Her Spirit
of loving trust, total surrender and cheerfulness." 
(Blessed Teresa of Calcutta )
"He has given us Our Lady's Spirit to be the Spirit of our Society . . . Loving Trust and Total Surrender made Our Lady say "Yes" to the message of the angel, and Cheerfulness made Her to run in haste to serve Her cousin Elizabeth. That is so much our life - saying, "Yes" to Jesus and running in haste to serve Him in the poorest of the poor. Let us keep close to Our Lady and She will make that same spirit grow in each one of us ."
(Blessed Teresa of Calcutta )


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