Sunday, August 26, 2007

Mother Teresa

Jesus has a very special love for you. As for me, the silence
and the emptiness is so great that I look and do not see, listen and do not
hear.— Mother Teresa

Here's an observation or two after reading this article about a new book from Mother Teresa's confessor. The new book shares her deepest spiritual struggles and reveals that she endured a dark night of the soul lasting for nearly 50 years with little relief. In fact, in corresponded with the entire time she conducted her ministry in the slums of Calcutta even as her ministry grew and expanded in numbers and recognition. I can't count the number of times I've heard teachings from leaders within Evangelical circles that were completely contradictory to Mother Teresa's experience. So often the popular version of spiritual discernment relies completely upon our feelings. If you just don't feel God leasing you, or you don't feel his presence then you must be going in the wrong direction, you've got to be outside of his will. In think this is the direct result of a theology & soteriology that is completely egocentric. When your theology begins with your personal experience of God then using your feelings for spiritual direction seems only logical.

This is one thing that would drive Lisa & I crazy. Not thinking in this way also one of the hardest things to try to get someone to understand who had been raised in the Evangelical world. In the end (as it was in the Beginning) it's just not about me, its all about Jesus.

PS - My wife & kids were hasseling me about having an ugly blog so I've changed the template.


Tiber Jumper said...

The biggest joy, if I can use that word, in returning to the Church was the realization that we could have the ultimate worship experience, receiving Christ, uniting to Him in the Eucharist, independent on how it made me feel, of if I felt anything at all!
After years and years of being told there was "something wrong" with me because I didn't emotionally respond to the cranked amps, dancing, emotive worship. Not that emotive worship is wrong, but it is not the normative experience of most believers in the world, despite the world I was in that said it was.
Catholicism is truly universal because the ultimate worship of God can be entered into by the least of these, the most simple, non emotive, introspective folks , even melancholics like myself. It fits all demeanors, personalities, mood disorders, etc.
To assume our relationship to God strictly based on our emotional response would mean that most of the Saints we honor never really "knew God."
We are on the same page here my brother! Would that I had seen it earlier in my life!

MMajor Fan said...

I completely agree with you tom.

Also, I've always been worried about her lack of time for spiritual replenishment. Even Jesus during his earthly ministry retreated from the crowds and prayed. She gave herself so totally to the social agenda, thinking that was immitating him, that she became arid.

tom said...

My wife, Lisa, observed that the entire concept of redemptive suffering is completely foreign to so many Christians & she's right. Too many have been taught that suffering is always evil & to be avoided; that if we're in God's plan then we'll always have peace & joy. I think it's a direct result of pre-trib dispensationalism and the prosperity gospel.

Lisa said...

It is my understanding that Mother Theresa & her sisters would spend at least an hour every morning in adoration totally relying on God's strength before even attempting to go out & serve. Also in her serving she saw Jesus in every person she served. I believe the lack of feeling God's presence had nothing to do w/ anything she was doing wrong but was something God allowed her to go through ultimately to strenghen her faith. Faith isn't about a feeling. Real faith is serving God even when the feeling isn't there.

Anonymous said...

It is good to see that your search is heading in the right direction. Did you ever think about going to Orthodoxy?