By Kathryn Trudeau
Have you ever just felt spiritually dead inside? Do you question all that God’s doing in your life and struggle to make sense of it all? Do you even begin to question the meaning behind His existence, and yourself? Do you think you’re in this all alone and nobody, especially someone who’s about to be canonized as a Saint on September 4, 2016, could ever know this pain deep in your heart? I challenge you to learn about the soon-to-be Saint Teresa of Calcutta. You may think you already know her, but how much do you know of the suffering she endured along her journey of life? She is an amazing woman because she lived a heroic life of love when she felt utter darkness for decades. She embraced the Cross to find His joy.
Mother Teresa knew suffering all too well. She suffered for decades, saying that she felt God had abandoned her. But did she give up on her faith? Not a chance.
If there is hell, this must be one. How terrible it is to be without God: no prayer, no faith, no love.
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
This was not a time when she questioned hell’s existence, instead she just told us how dark her darkness was. I believe she helped serve those in utter darkness because she herself knew it all too well. We may complain when we don’t get answers from God within days or weeks, but this woman didn’t have answers for months and years. Yet, despite it all, she put everything in God’s hands and never lost hope; hope is assurance in the Lord.
Most of us have times of desperation throughout our lives, that’s why it is so important to realize even Mother did too. She wrote once, “I feel nothing before Jesus…I long for God. I want to love Him, to live only for Him. And yet there is nothing but pain, longing and no love.” It is amazing to see how she was steadfast in love and service and still felt like she couldn’t please God enough. That is the quality of a saint. Sometimes our faith requires grave suffering and grief. God doesn’t always ask easy things of His followers.
I remember going on my first retreat, and having my life changed forever. I felt so terribly alone at that point in my life and felt that God was some far away being. He didn't comfort me in times of need, nor did He give me what I wanted; therefore, I didn't believe He was truly all powerful and loving. What a selfish way to look at my Lord.
Christ called Mother to leave her comfortable life in Ireland as a teacher to suffer as she seeks Him in each dying person in one of the dirtiest places in the world. Many people in the Church even had problems with this, given India isn’t very friendly to Christianity, but she knew God would provide the opportunity if it was His will.
She never questioned other people about their religious beliefs. She felt that she could show Jesus through her actions instead of speaking about Him. Mother used to tell her fellow sisters, “Before you share the name of your God, share His nature.” How beautiful! We are called to show the world the nature of God before we reveal His name. This is a radical, yet simple concept. We shouldn’t over complicate our faith. The simplicity brings us back to the childlike faith God wants from us.
We are to find the Calcutta in our own life; whether that’s the part of our soul that needs healing the most or a family member who doesn’t know Christ at all. There are so many Calcuttas around us, living in the first world. So many diseases and addictions that cause the poor in spirit to suffer in such a radical way.
A sacrifice to be real must cost, must hurt, must empty ourselves. The fruit of silence is prayer, the fruit of prayer is faith, the fruit of faith is love, the fruit of love is service, the fruit of service is peace.
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us.