Monday, January 07, 2008

A Funk

It gives me much comfort to know that even a person like Mother Theresa had her own dark night of the soul - that is to say, a time of supreme trial of heart, mind, and spirit as to the goodness and love of God:

Throughout 1946 and 1947, Mother Teresa experienced a profound union with Christ. But soon after she left the convent and began her work among the destitute and dying on the street, the visions and locutions ceased, and she experienced a spiritual darkness that would remain with her until her death. It is hard to know what is more to be marveled at: that this twentieth-century commander of a worldwide apostolate and army of charity should have been a visionary contemplative at heart; or that she should have persisted in radiating invincible faith and love while suffering inwardly from the loss of spiritual consolation. In letters written during the 1950s and 1960s to Fr. Van Exem, Archbishop PĂ©rier, and to later spiritual directors, Fr. L. T. Picachy, S.J., and Fr. J. Neuner, S.J., she disclosed feelings of doubt, loneliness, and abandonment. God seemed absent, heaven empty, and bitterest of all, her own suffering seemed to count for nothing, “. . . just that terrible pain of loss, of God not wanting me, of God not being God, of God not really existing.”

Often we are force-fed the falsehood that true holiness means always feeling peaceful, joyful, and radiating God's love in a genuine manner. But more often we don't feel like that; or to make my point, I don't feel like that all the time. I feel weak, sad, lonely... so lonely... and it's hard for me to accept the love of God. It's hard for me to open myself up to him and to hear his words.

Yet when I take the risk and open my spirit up to him in prayer, that is the one resounding message I hear from Jesus: "I love you! You don't have to prove anything to me, you don't have to be a saint, you don't have to be the image of human perfection, for my love is stronger than your weakness."

Can such a love exist that renders my failings irrelevant? I know my wife loves me with all her heart, but even she can't see past some of my faults. And ditto I for her. We expect each other to change, but God doesn't expect us to change. He merely calls us to his side, to true intimacy, to vulnerability - and invites us to receive him. He doesn't expect change in us, but he does effect change in us, for when we are close to him we cannot help but assume his holiness.

So let the funk come... I know that my redeemer lives, and that he died for me.

1 comment:

  1. I second your Funk and raise you a "O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.


Comments are welcome, but must be on topic. Spam, hateful/obscene remarks, and shameless self-promotion will be unceremoniously deleted. Well, OK, I might put on a little ceremony when I delete them.