Thursday, September 6, 2007

Fascinating Article on Bl. Mother Teresa

I saw the cover story in this week's edition of Time about Blessed Mother Teresa's spiritual conflict at the grocery store the other day. I found it to be interesting though the inclusion of the atheist demagogue Christopher Hitchens and the psychobabble of a non-Christian Freudian analyst very much annoyed me.

Today I read a much better article on the subject from the May 2003 issue of First Things, which is available at the website. Being written from a Catholic standpoint, it delved more deeply into the theology of "the divine darkness" than the secular Time article. This is something I'd never really heard much about before and it's a very thought-provoking idea. How does one maintain faith when God seems inaccessible and veiled?

The First Things article also includes a fascinating discussion of how Bl. Mother Teresa's life parallels in many ways that of St. Therese of Lisieux, who died almost exactly 100 years before. I've always felt drawn to the "Little Flower" and the idea that one can serve the Lord in countless small, often unremarkable, ways. I did not realize that Bl. Mother Teresa had so much in common with St. Therese since on the face of it, their lives appear to be so different. One was the founder of her own order and an international celebrity, while the other was a permanent novitiate and did not become well-known until after her death. Yet they both suffered from "the dark night of the soul" after making a vow to Christ to refuse nothing to Him.

"Could it be that this missionary contemplative and this contemplative missionary are companions in a joint work of grace?...If these days are in any sense a dark night for the Church, then Mother Teresa shows the way forward: faith that we are undergoing a purification rather than a free-fall, and fidelity, in small things as well as big, to the vows that bind in order to set free."

Powerful words to reflect upon...

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