St. Mother Teresa of Kolkata is well known to millions of people of many faiths, and none. She has touched the lives of millions, inspired untold numbers of people. Her work still continues, especially by the Sisters of Charity active in so many countries, often ministering to the poorest of the poor.
In the 1990’s, one year before she died, I had the privilege of meeting her for quite some time. I was so impressed by this ‘old woman’ who still was so full of life and energy. What I did not know was that for many years, this woman in whom so many encounter Christ, was herself experiencing a flatness in spiritual life, experiencing no ‘highs’.
St. John of the cross called this time ‘The dark night of the soul’. It is a time of purification, a time of liberating from the ‘ego’ and a call to love more purely and less selfishly.
It is about loving God, not because of wanting a ‘spiritual high’, but to love unconditionally. At some stage we all experience darkness in our life. This can be triggered off by events that happen such as health concerns, relationship issues, etc.
The ‘ego’ is our insecure self always seeking affirmation, the approval of others, seeking to be well thought of, etc.
There is nothing wrong in thanking God when we experience affirmation. Deliberately seeking it can become a trap of immaturity and future insecurity.
If we are to love more freely, more deeply, without seeking self-interest, we need a certain detachment.
To be able to do what is right, virtuous, integral and to love unconditionally is liberating. As we grow in our awareness of the unconditional love of God, how we matter absolutely to God, we are able to exist in ‘faith’, to be guided by faith.
Faith is liberating and gives us security in ‘Holy Insecurity’.
St. Paul speaks about different maturities in faith. He speaks about ‘baby food’, and ‘adult food’, as we grow old we progress to more solid foods!
Jesus spoke about a generation looking for miracles, while what really matters is the mystery of the Resurrection.
We can be tempted to try to run away from darkness. We can be tempted to supress it or use the anaesthetic of unhealthy eating, drinking, and many types of sensual unbalanced gratifications.
We can also fall to the temptation of being diverted from our vocation, from doing what is right, and to ‘run away’.
When we recognise the ‘good spirit’ leading us to purifying love, and we trust in faith, we are hearing the invitation to trust God unconditionally. The God who raised Jesus from the dead, the God who remained faithful to Jesus as He faced His passion and cross, is also faithful to us.
Mother Teresa and so many of the Saints such as St. Francis of Assisi, come across as energised and peaceful
because of their trust and faith. They were liberated from vested interests and just loved! They trusted what God can do in weak human nature. They resisted the temptation inspired by the ‘bad spirit’ to give up and ‘run away’, or to supress what was happening. They did not deny the reality of painful experiences.
The spiritual journey is a life-long journey. No-one gets completely liberated from the ‘ego’ in their lifetime. Jesus said take up your cross everyday and follow me. He also invited us to take the narrow road. He warned us that suffering, and challenges are part of everyone’s journey, and that His followers were not going to be immune to this.
Jesus also said, “My peace I give you, a peace that the world cannot give”.
By continuing to trust that the Grace of God can do within us more than we can dream or imagine, we also
co-operate with our Creator in the endless sympathy of the universe, it is a privilege to be just one element that is broadcasting our sacred presence among a countless throng in a symphony of the universe.
Only God hears this symphony in its entirety!
We are privileged to be part of it and to freely choose the response and path of love!