Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Life Of Faith

There are few people in the world, Christian and non Christian alike, who didn't think Mother Teresa was a saint. We tend to think that all holy people are filled with inner peace and absolute certitude about God's love and presence. A book has been published recently, based on 40 years of Mother Teresa's letters to her spiritual director, that makes us aware that her actual experience of God was filled with doubt, questions, and a great spiritual dryness that was anything but comforting. In spite of this she spent much of her life ministering to the dead and dying of Calcutta. Her example inspired many to follow her and they now work around the world in some of the poorest and most destitute places. Mother Teresa lived a true life of faith. She remained true to the path of life on which she was placed in spite of her doubts and spiritual emptiness. Those of us who believe in God want to feel good about it. We want our belief to comfort and sustain us. We want to feel the life of God within us. What if our faith does none of that? I often think of the Israelites who witnessed the power and intervention of Yahweh as He led them out of Egypt. I also think of the Apostles and others who lived with and interacted with Jesus. Even with these direct and very personal experiences of God they all faltered, wandering in the desert and running at the first sign of trouble. Yet, Mother Teresa, with no such direct experience of God as far as we know, stayed faithful to God and the difficult path she was called to walk. When you think about it, isn't this what faith is really all about? Though God can choose when and how He might reveal himself to us, much of the faith journey is walking down a dark path in a cloud of unknowing. I believe that Mother Teresa was a saint and a holy woman and that she now experiences the light that was hidden from her in life. If we are blessed with some spiritual light and insight, we must remember the words of another holy woman, Teresa of Avila, the 16th century Spanish mystic, who said "We must remember in darkness what we once experienced in the light".

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting that Mother Teresa had so many doubts. I haven't read the book you were talking about... can I get the title?