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Excerpted from A Simple Path by Mother Teresa. Copyright 1995 by Mother Teresa. Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"Prayer feeds the soul--as blood is to the body, prayer is to the soul--and it brings you closer to God."

Mother Teresa, A Simple Path, Part 1

The Fruit of Silence is Prayer

We all must take the time to be silent and to contemplate, especially those who live in big cities like London. and New York, where everything moves so fast. This is why I decided to open our first home for contemplative sisters (whose vocation is to pray most of the day) in New York instead of the Himalayas: I felt silence and contemplation were needed more in the cities of the world.

I always begin my prayer in silence, for it is in the silence of the heart that God speaks. God is the friend of silence--we need to listen to God because it's not what we say but what He says to us and through us that matters. Prayer feeds the soul--as blood is to the body, prayer is to the soul--and it brings you closer to God. It also gives you a clean and pure heart. A clean heart can see God, can speak to God, and can see the love of God in others. When you have a clean heart it means you are open and honest with God, you are not hiding anything from Him, and this lets Him take what He wants from you.

If you are searching for God and do not know where to begin, learn to pray and take the trouble to pray every day. You can pray anytime, anywhere, You do not have to be in a chapel or a church. You can pray at work--work doesn't have to stop prayer and prayer doesn't have to stop work. You can also consult a priest or minister for guidance, or try speaking directly to God. just speak. Tell Him everything, talk to Him. He is our father, He is father to us all whatever religion we are. We are all created by God, we are his children. We have to put our trust in Him and love Him, believe in Him, work for Him. And--if we pray, we will get all the answers we need.

Without prayer I could not work for even half an hour. I get my strength from God through prayer, which is something all the sisters understand, including Sister Dolores, who has been with our Order for thirty-five years and now runs Nirmal Hriday, the home for the dying and destitute in Calcutta:

"Every morning the sisters wake up, knowing what they have to go through again, which is sometimes very difficult for them. Prayer gives them strength--it sustains, helps, and gives us all the joy to carry out what we need to do. We begin the day with prayer and with Mass and we end the day with an hour of Adoration before Jesus. To continuously do and to continuously give needs God's graces--without them it would be impossible for us to live."

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