Friday, August 24, 2007

Mother Teresa: Works Without Joy

Mother Teresa’s “Crisis of Faith” is making the rounds on the news as some of her personal letters have been made public:

“A new, innocuously titled book, Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light (Doubleday), consisting primarily of correspondence between Teresa and her confessors and superiors over a period of 66 years, provides the spiritual counterpoint to a life known mostly through its works. The letters, many of them preserved against her wishes (she had requested that they be destroyed but was overruled by her church), reveal that for the last nearly half-century of her life she felt no presence of God whatsoever — or, as the book's compiler and editor, the Rev. Brian Kolodiejchuk, writes, ‘neither in her heart or in the eucharist.’"

“Although perpetually cheery in public, the Teresa of the letters lived in a state of deep and abiding spiritual pain. In more than 40 communications, many of which have never before been published, she bemoans the "dryness," "darkness," "loneliness" and "torture" she is undergoing. She compares the experience to hell and at one point says it has driven her to doubt the existence of heaven and even of God. She is acutely aware of the discrepancy between her inner state and her public demeanor. "The smile," she writes, is "a mask" or "a cloak that covers everything." Similarly, she wonders whether she is engaged in verbal deception. "I spoke as if my very heart was in love with God — tender, personal love," she remarks to an adviser. "If you were [there], you would have said, 'What hypocrisy.'"

In addition to these newly publicized letter, Mother Teresa has said the following:

“We never try to convert those who receive [aid from Missionaries of Charity] to Christianity but in our work we bear witness to the love of God’s presence and if Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists, or agnostics become for this better men — simply better — we will be satisfied. It matters to the individual what church he belongs to. If that individual thinks and believes that this is the only way to God for her or him, this is the way God comes into their life — his life. If he does not know any other way and if he has no doubt so that he does not need to search then this is his way to salvation.” Life in the Spirit: Reflections, Meditations and Prayers; Pgs 81-82.

I am just posting a few excerpts, but it appears that Mother Teresa possessed a universalist-type faith that brought no joy. But despite Mother Teresa’s confusion over the basic gospel message and her decades of darkness in her “faith”, the Roman Catholic Church has declared her presence in heaven through her beatification in 2003.

I find that interesting.

1 comment:

jswranch said...

Heck, there are a number of Catholic Saints that experienced the dark night of the soul. Therese of Liseaux told her sisters to keep sharp objects away from her death bed because she was tempted with suicide.

Look at Padre Pio. Christ loosed us from the power of demons, but demons regularly physically assaulted him.

I personaly have had this Job/psalm 22 experience before also.

As I understand it, God asks, "Will John continue to love me and serve me even if I take away the joy I have given him?" Such a testing strengthens the Christian in love... to love God for who He is and not because the riches he may give or the good feelings he might provide.