Most people who give this matter more than a nanosecond of thought will have to wonder just what is going on here.
From those consigned to death in the gutters of Calcutta to aids patients rejected by a supposedly sympathetic society in certain portions of San Francisco, left to die in utter loneliness and despair, Mother Teresa and her nuns brought dignity, love, and compassion.
Not the condemnation, isolation, and rejection which was all too common in their lives – rather something new, something fresh, something deep with meaning, leading to hope.
They did (and still do) this for all, with absolute no regard to the suffering person’s faith, ability to pay, agreeable personality, whatever. They simply loved each person as a unique individual, created in the image and likeness of God.
How can anyone be against this, or deny just how good this is? The best part is that this holy work continues to this very day, changing thousands of lives one day at a time.
With that in mind, any thinking person has to wonder how can it be that this seemingly remarkable woman, so public about her faith, could express such doubts in private?
The answer comes straight from the heart of the mystical tradition of the faith that Mother Teresa so boldly lived – what she experienced for so long (and this was extraordinarily long) is known as “the dark night of the soul”, amongst other names.
It is a trying of faith, a withdrawing by God of emotional comfort, of any kind of “spiritual buzz”. God permits trials like this (and other suffering in life) in order to increase our faith, to encourage our transformation from what we are to what we may become.
All people are called by God to know Him, and to those who respond he will make himself known. And transform us as we are ready, sometimes a little bit at a time, sometimes in big huge steps. It’s simply a matter of trust, perseverance, and faith.
And that is what these letters tell us of Mother Teresa—her interior transformation was as massive as her public actions—no mediocre spiritual journey here.
Mother Teresa persevered through these trials and more, through the grinding poverty and hatred of the world, through much that would have driven many to give up, in public or private. She persevered, finished the race with great faith, and to the end proclaimed the reality of the God who created us all.
From this we may draw great hope and comfort, if we have ears to hear.
All photos from this photo gallery on Time / CNN.