So please teach us to pray and to be holy. Then, with this holiness we can bring Jesus to places you may not be able to visit. Many bishops have now given our sisters permission to bring Holy Communion to people living in slums so poor and hard to reach that I don’t know how to describe them. Jesus wants to go there, but we cannot bring Him unless you first give Him to us. This is why I love priests so much. We could never be what we are, and do the things we do without you priests who first bring Jesus to us.
This is why, from 11:00 to 12:00 on the eve of each First Friday, just as Jesus asked of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, we have a holy hour praying for priests and asking God to make them holy. These prayers are our gifts to you. What we ask of you is exactly what we ask of you again and again. Be holy! With the example and help of Mary, belong only and totally to Jesus. Become one with His love, and all the rest will be easy. Give Him to everyone you meet, knowing that hunger for bread is not the only poverty. People everywhere are starving for Jesus.
Not only in Calcutta and Africa but even here in Rome, so many homeless and lonely people come just to be with our sisters. Each night 200 come to our night shelter in Rome, and when we give them something to eat, for some it is the first full meal they have ever had. They do not come just because they are hungry, but also because they are so lonely. At San Gregorio, I see the sisters going out at night to look for the homeless in doorways or under some steps, sleeping cold and wet and shivering, because even in the rain and snow they only have newspapers or a plastic bag to cover them.
It is to people like these in all the many countries you come from that you must bring the tenderness and love of Jesus. In many of your countries our sisters are already working. But you yourselves must be looking for these lonely people, so that you can bring them the tenderness and love you have received from Jesus. Bringing the love of Jesus is the first work of your priesthood. You can teach us to do all the other jobs, and we will do them. The lay people are hungry to share this joy of loving others. Teach them what you want them to do, and how to do it. This is why we have our “priest co-workers” all over the world, and they are yours to use. In your parishes, wherever you work, you can build centers where others can experience the joy of giving and sharing love. Instead of getting so involved in doing everything yourself that there is no time left for hearing confessions or being with the people, give people around you an opportunity to share with you this joy of loving service.
In remote places, our sisters often prepare hundreds of children to go to confession. I remember how one day a priest came to me and said, “Mother Teresa, please tell your sisters not to be preparing so many children. I can’t find the time to hear all the confessions.” I didn’t know what to say to this priest. No words would come from my mouth, and so I just stared at him because I really couldn’t understand this thing he was saying. He was a very busy priest, but I think that giving Jesus to the people in the sacraments is the first and best way for a priest to be busy.
Our people are so hungry for God, and they are beautiful and wonderful people. I could spend a whole day telling you how beautiful and wonderful they are. Knowing them makes you love them, and that’s what makes you want to help them.
This is why I pray every day for God to give us holy priests. Just think how families today need you. They have so many troubles, and there are so many broken homes. We must bring Jesus back into these homes by consecrating them to his Sacred Heart, by bringing prayer into the people’s lives, and teaching them to say the Rosary. Priests always used to do this before, and they have to start doing these things again, so that these families can have peace and joy and holiness through their consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.