Catholic commentary on culture, media, and politics.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The dark night of Mother Teresa

This week's Time Magazine has a riveting essay on a new book about Blessed Mother Teresa's 50-year-long inner struggle against constant doubt, fear, and the harrowing trial of being deprived of (almost) any spiritual consolations from Jesus. Despite a few typical MSM "religion reporter" missteps, it makes for a very compelling read.

The true story of her personal, and excessively long-lasting, dark night of the soul will raise a lot of eyebrows. It's fascinating, sobering, and fully in line with the teaching of St. John of the Cross, St. Catherine of Sienna and St. Therese of Lisieux (from whom she took her religious name).

Quite the opposite of the clap-happy Christianity of the nearest bumper sticker.



Anonymous Carole said...

On behalf of those who are thriving on the happy-clappy stuff, thank God that he gives most of us our darkness in small doses. God knows what we can handle, or makes us able to handle.

There is a very sober side to deep contemplative prayer, wherein one enters into the prayer (and experience) of Jesus on the cross: My God, My God, Why have you abandoned me?

This kind of suffering she endured is a special vocation. She knew him intimately in the thousands of people who shared also in the poverty and abandonment of Jesus. It's not pretty. It didn't feel intimate, but it was love in the deepest sense of the word.

I wonder if it's wrong to feel grateful for not having been called to that?

2:35 PM

Blogger Patrick said...

Hey Carole:

If it's wrong to feel grateful for not being given such a disturbing, horrifying sense of God's absence, I'm in a heap of trouble.

I look at it this way: Bl. Mother Teresa was given what she actually wanted: to love Jesus particularly in His Passion, as her namesake did in the Carmel of Lisieux.

She, not unlike you, understood the shallowness of feelings and the utter depths of true love.

I'm going to have to get the book. I would think it will be paradoxically VERY consoling and will help many souls understand, or at least give meaning to, the apparently absurd pains and trials, suffered by some like, say, clinical depression.

Thanks for chiming in.

10:27 PM

Anonymous Carole said...

You might enjoy 'The Impact of God: Soundings from St. John of the Cross' by Ian Matthews.

VERY Powerful book, really helped me a lot in reconciling myself with those dark moments...

1:37 PM

Blogger Patrick said...

Will follow up.

9:35 PM


Post a Comment

<< Home