Thursday, August 30, 2007

God and Mother Teresa

Perhaps you've all seen the press on Mother Teresa. My heart breaks for her—and typically, I’m not coming to the same conclusion that anyone else apparently is. [To my friend MT (who ironically shares the same initials as Mother Teresa), if you're reading this, you're going to find it very irritating. Suggest skipping it if you haven't yet had your breakfast.]

Early in Mother Teresa's career, she experienced a direct dialog with Christ Jesus. He tasked her with helping people in India. In the ecstasy of this moment, she accepted wholeheartedly, most likely expecting Jesus would continue at her side throughout. But she did not receive any further visitations from her Lord. She yearned for this presence, but never found it again.

What she did go on to do was establish an organization that helped thousands. When accepting her Nobel Peace Prize, she said, "... radiating joy is real … because Christ [is] in our hearts, Christ in the poor we meet, Christ in the smile we give and in the smile that we receive."

Feel free to disagree here anytime, but in this story I do not see someone cut off from God. If I may be so bold as to say this, what I'm seeing is someone who moved beyond a personal sense of Deity without knowing it. All the arguments about Mother Teresa seem to stem from the fact that she no longer saw Jesus. She had always been taught and firmly believed that Jesus is God, so to her, this was the equivalent of no longer being connected with God. Yet her own words reveal an understanding of Christ as a spiritual concept, in fact omnipresent. It just wasn't the Christ she longed for.

And that is why my heart breaks for her. Her own Godlikeness moved her forward spiritually to the point that what she yearned for she could no longer have. She continued to yearn for it, though, all her life. It was her central tragedy, and she had no tools to assuage it.

I relate to this in a small way. A lot of my spiritual story revolves around seeking approval from a church institution that is incapable of giving it in the way I need it. I've had to learn to do without that approval and find a more direct line to divine acceptance—at the moment, I'm going it alone as a way to sort this out. The desire for institutional approval may continue to be a thorn in my side for the rest of my life, but the human struggle is unrelated to my actual connection to Love. I know I'll awake to the true facts and be free from the struggle one day.

I deeply pray that this is the case for Mother Teresa. I so hope that what she found when she crossed over was a spiritualized concept of God that conveyed to her the loving truth that He had always, always been there with her, for every footstep she took, every brow she bathed, every mouth she fed. She was never alone—she always had her Lord.

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 8/30/2007 12:02:00 PM, Blogger -mt said...

;-) lol

At 8/30/2007 12:47:00 PM, Blogger PtCakes said...

Lovely post, and what a gentle reminder for us all.

At 8/30/2007 01:07:00 PM, Anonymous sandi said...

Bless you, Laura.

At 8/31/2007 07:42:00 AM, Anonymous Dennis R said...

I am an admirer of Mother Theresa. Reading that she struggled with her faith does not bother me. It shows me that I am not alone with my own struggles.

Even Christ Jesus prayed "Why hast Thou forsaken me?"

At 8/31/2007 01:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't read MT's "book," but I somehow believe that you, Laura, have hit it on the nose.

At 9/01/2007 05:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Laura,

It is refreshing to hear you say - in effect, anyway - that institutional approval, as desirable as it may seem to be, is not to be more desirable to you than having God’s approval (when you can’t seem to have both together).

One of Jesus’ statements to his Father before his crucifixion was, “I have given them they word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (John 17:14). Of course, the church institution is supposed to be “not of the world” too, but, unfortunately, this hasn’t happened yet.

So some will love you as a sister in Christ, while others may not. You are doing good right where you are, I think.

Another of Jesus’ statements was, “How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” The KJ reads, “from God only” (John 5:44). Having God’s approval is what a person needs – long term – in order to keep on keeping on.


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