Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mother Teresa’s “Dark Night”

What did it mean for her? What does it mean for us? 

Ralph Martin over at RENEWAL MINISTRIES has a wonderful article on Mother Teresa'a agony of soul. I share it with you because it might be helpful in the struggles many Christian people experience at the present time. 

Even though the main lines of Mother Teresa’s experience of “darkness” had been known for several years, the full publication of her private letters drew world-wide media coverage. (Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light: The Private Writings of the “Saint of Calcutta” Edited and with Commentary by Fr. Brian Kolodiejchuk, M.C.) 

TIME Magazine did a cover story on it. Prominent articles appeared in the NY Times and other major publications. There were many TV and radio interviews. 

Some secularists chose to interpret her talk of darkness as a sign of hypocrisy and even accused her of not really believing in God. Only a very superficial and partial reading of these letters could have occasioned this interpretation. Some believers were disturbed and confused to hear of her prolonged experience of aridity or emptiness in her relationship with God. Some thought the letters were so disturbing it was a mistake to publish them. This last concern, while understandable, is unfounded, since the letters in question are part of the official record compiled in the process of canonization and are generally made public. And by now we must know that efforts to “edit” the life or writings of a saint (as the sisters of Therese of Lisieux tried to do in the case of their sister’s writings), only detract from the awesome witness to holiness that is found, albeit in sometimes unexpected and disturbing ways. I think we will see that in the long run this widespread media attention, even with its imperfections, and the publication of these letters, will bear great fruit. 

Having read the entire book, which includes all the available letters and the sensitive and expert commentary of a priest from Mother Teresa’s own order, I am left awe-struck at the depth of Mother Teresa’s holiness. Her faith and her heroic service were more profound than I ever imagined. 

It is certainly true that while receiving remarkable communications from the Lord and deep spiritual/sensible consolation at the beginning of her mission, for almost 50 years Mother Teresa was left almost totally bereft of such consolation. She carried out her mission with almost no affective experience of God’s love and presence. She could see the fruit that her work was producing. She could see that when she spoke to her sisters and others that they came alive and grew in the experience of God’s love, but she herself for the most part felt only emptiness. 

During the first ten years of this “darkness” she was deeply troubled by it . . . Go HERE for the whole article.


Anonymous said...

Thankyou for shedding light onto my dark night...
However while reading the Blog, I am extremely angry inside that God deems it necessary to take from us His Love, just to tease, probe and test the weak points, and failures of the Spirit. Or to play out His own personal theatre of our lives..hence the Pains of Mother Terasa!

God Forgive my raging feelings.

When what most of us broken souls need is His loving kindness,His healing from mental divisions, and missed opportunities, guidance and directives or pathways towards understanding with Love.

What the heck does He really want anyway???
As we are already his servants and specs within the universal orb.
We already give over our minds, hearts and lives to follow His ways and precepts.
We already suffer for the world, our own sins, the sins of others, past and mortal sins, venial sins etc...

It is all too much when we are already bearing the cost of our own misdeeds, our parents misdeeds and all the rest!

All this one directional point of view that God is all in all and everything stems and flows into it! We Know this is the case! we are not fools!
Why can't we have some elements of our person kept intact to explore and grow our small garden sufficiently, without being totally absorbed in thought,subsumed in His way, lost in His precepts and moulded by ways.(We do have free will..yes??)
If all pathways lead to God and we are on the road then why cannot we feel and gain the benefits and live in empathy and harmony with Him in His Garden.

If He wants continual pain and suffering out of us all then stop the push, and quietly talk to us PLEASE! As being open and talking things out is one way to open the gate of insight to understanding acceptance of pain and suffering.

While polite dark silence and withdrawl of love just makes me boil!

Signed... slightly bent almost lost soul during Lent Br.B +++

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