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The saint and the absent God


 
A friend in Program says:

In the summer of 2007 a biography was published of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. It contained dozens of letters written by Mother Teresa over much of her life. Many of these letters revealed a hitherto hidden fact -- that for the last fifty years of her life, she had no sense whatever of the presence of God, either in her daily life or in the ceremony of the Mass. The work that she did with the indigent poor, which has acquired an almost mythical status, was done without any conscious contact between her and the God she served.

This idea of the absence of God is not new in the Christian literature. Indeed, the expression "the dark night of the soul" comes from the writings of St. John of the Cross, who experienced many decades of similar privation. But what is staggering about Mother Teresa is her continued commitment to the work she did despite this privation -- a commitment so deep that it moved the rest of the world, whether motivated by secular or sacred considerations, to award her the Nobel Prize.

Nothing could illustrate more profoundly the true meaning of Step 12. To carry this message to others, to practice these principles in all our affairs, is conscious contact with God, whether we believe it or not. To have achieved what Mother Teresa achieved is remarkable in itself. To understand now that she achieved all this without any sense of the presence of the God she so often spoke of is almost beyond belief ... if we did not have Step 12 to tell us that service of this kind is God, whether we think so or not.

Mother Teresa was canonized -- in other words, recognized as a saint -- in 2016.

"The spiritual life is never one of achievement:
it is always one of letting go."

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