Sunday, August 26, 2007

Keeping on

I am sure many of you have read the recent articles about a collection of Mother Teresa's letters that is being included in a new book about her (despite the fact that she had requested they be burned). They are poignant in their description of her loneliness and her feelings of being separated from God--feelings that seemed to begin plaguing her around the time she began her work with the Missionaries of Charity. Despite her sense of spiritual emptiness she remained faithful to the work to which she felt called, and the God who had called her.

Some of the more anguished letters are addressed to God, but some were sent to friends. I wonder if or how any of her correspondents tried to help her. Obviously these were people she trusted. How sad to think of her in this deep depression for decades, so alone although surrounded by people, and still soldiering on. As she said, "the smile is a mask". She had experienced God's love for her in earlier years, and kept going when she had only the memory of that experience.

I'm reminded of Job's assertion, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him." I don't know whether just to feel sad that someone who worked so hard in God's service had so little refreshment and comfort in that service on earth, or also to be comforted, in a strange way, that she shared the dark night of the soul experienced by so many of God's children. Both, perhaps. If the publication of these letters accomplishes anything positive, perhaps it will be to reassure many people that doubt and, yes, depression are a part of the human condition, not a sign of sin or faithlessness.


Jan said...

Thank you for this post. I want to read Mother Teresa's letters about her loss of spiritual comforts. What an amazing woman (a saint) who kept on keeping on, despite any affirmation. Her words that she didn't want published will help many of us still struggling in our small ways.

Songbird said...

I'm amazed the letters will be published, but you are certainly right, they will be a comfort to others, I'm sure.

hip2B said...

Thats exactly the way I looked at them - a comfort.

revabi said...

True. Could writing on her letters. How many of us haven't felt like that. I plan to read the book of letters to see what all she does say. I don't believe the media about anything.