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.