Monday 4th October, 2021
Mother Teresa, Come Be My Light (Riding, 2007), 310.
Image: Chelsey Schweitzer, Wisconsin, watercolour, chelseyscweitzer.com
Thiss quote is from Mother Teresa, from Come Be My Light: the revealing private writings of the Nobel Peace Prize winner (Rider, 2007), 310 (see here). Mother Teresa was heralded in her lifetime for her work amongst the poorest in India and, perceived as a woman of deep faith, was eventually sainted by the Roman Catholic Church. Yet, after her death, her private journals revealed that for decades she perceived that she lived in a state of internal spiritual emptiness: she had not had any sense of God's presence for approaching five decades. Whilst these revelations shocked many, they perhaps should not have been so surprising. Many of the Mystics report similar lengthy periods of spiritual darkness and a sense of God's absence. Her descriptions bring to mind St John of the Cross's depictions of the 'long, dark night of the soul'. For more about Mother Teresa's encounter with this dark and dry period in her spiritual path, see here. If you'd like to understand more about the 'dark night of the soul', you could listen to this podcast by James Finley, renowned scholar on John of the Cross and one of the main teachers at the Centre for Action and Contemplation, here. It is just one in a great series hosted by Finley, called 'Turning to the Mystics'.