Sunday, February 10, 2008

Mother Teresa's (vibrant and tested) faith

In First Things, Richard Neuhaus expresses some surprise about last summer's "media explosion" about Mother Teresa's "dark night of the soul"-- and as an extension, speculation on whether she was an atheist. (A new book, Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light occasioned the renewed interest.)

Neuhaus notes that First Things had published an article about her "dark night" (by Carol Zaleski in May 2003). The speculations are not all that surprising, given the inherent inability of the faithless to understand a caricatured, reductionistic "faith".

Neuhaus concludes...

" the Christian mystical tradition it is said that there are three stages of spiritual growth: the purgative, the illuminative, and the unitive. It seems that, as a young nun, Teresa experienced, very briefly, that third and final stage, in which God gave her to understand that she would, for the rest of her life, be deprived of spiritual consolations, meaning experienced evidences of his presence and purpose in her life. In this way, her faithfulness and, indeed, her faith would be further purified....Far from suggesting that Mother Teresa was an atheist, her words and her life are an astonishing testimony to a faith-driven endurance in radical surrender to the promise of God."


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