Teresa’s Long Dark Night of the Soul

Splashed across the news today are revelations that Mother Teresa of Calcutta had a crisis of faith that lasted for 40 years. Excerpts of her letters show a woman weighed down by spiritual crisis as much as her years.

These revelations change nothing in Teresa’s stature as a saint. How could she work among the suffering in Calcutta for over 40 years without experiencing crises of faith? Teresa’s trial was to live among the suffering and dying, the poor and homeless, living in poverty with her own doubts, and yet to die everyday to herself. Teresa’s anguish was that she did not find the solace she desperately sought; that she kept looking for it for 40 years is the testament to her faith.

I am reminded of a prayer by George McDonald in the Holy Island Prayerbook (p.121):

Lord teach us to understand that your Son died to save us, not from suffering, but from ourselves; not from injustice, but from being unjust. He died that we might live as he did, who died to himself.

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