Doubleday has just released a book containing Mother Teresa private letters to her confessors and superiors. Astonishingly, we discover that the ‘Saint of the Gutters of Calcutta’, could not feel or sense God’s presence in her heart for most of her ministry in Calcutta. Prior to beginning her work she had been a visionary and even shared a conversation she had with Jesus as he hung on the cross.
With unflinching determination she continued her work with the poor and dying while her heart anguished over the Lord’s distance. Her writings, never meant for publication, portray a woman that is lonely and desperate for the ‘feeling of God’ in her life, work, and heart.
Many will be shocked by what is revealed, and other will be edified. Here is one brief quote from the book:
Lord, my God, who am I that You should forsake me? The Child of your Love — and now become as the most hated one — the one — You have thrown away as unwanted — unloved. I call, I cling, I want — and there is no One to answer — no One on Whom I can cling — no, No One. — Alone … Where is my Faith — even deep down right in there is nothing, but emptiness & darkness — My God — how painful is this unknown pain — I have no Faith — I dare not utter the words & thoughts that crowd in my heart — & make me suffer untold agony.
Her writings are reminiscent of the writings of St. John of The Cross in his book, ‘Dark Night of the Soul’. And, they remind us that faithfulness does not depend on feelings, but our deepest held convictions and commitments. One of her spiritual advisors wrote to her in 1953: “God guides you, dear Mother,” he wrote, “You are not so much in the dark as you think … You have exterior facts enough to see that God blesses your work … Feelings are not required and often may be misleading.”
This book will certainly be a must read for all those that seek to do God’s will now, and in the centuries to come, and will also become an important text in the history and study of spirituality and the lives of the Saints. It will also be a comfort and an insight to others that experience the feeling of a distant God – ‘the dark night of the soul’.
Time Magazine has an excellent article on this new book filled with many quotes from Mother Teresa’s letters: Mother Teresa’s Crisis of Faith