|Letters reveal Mother Teresa's doubts about God|
|Written by Chris Perver|
|Saturday, 25 August 2007 05:59|
Letters belonging to Mother Teresa, a Catholic nun who spent her life helping the poor of India, are to be published in a new book entitled "Mother Teresa: Come be my light". The Catholic Church is presently seeking to turn Mother Teresa into a "saint", giving the green light for millions of Catholics to pray to her for special favour and guidance in their lives. Following her death, Pope John Paul II waived the customary 5 year waiting period, and started the lengthly process which would result in the beatification of Mother Teresa. She had asked for her letters to be burned after her death, but instead they were preserved at the behest of the Vatican so they could be enshrined as the relics of a "saint". But the letters are causing no small stir among the Catholic Church, for they reveal another side to Mother Teresa. That of a woman tormented with doubts about faith, God and salvation. In a letter to Rev. Michael van der Peet in September 1979, she wrote, "Jesus has a very special love for you. As for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great that I look and do not see, listen and do not hear". Mother Teresa was worshipped by many Catholics as a living "saint", for many saw her good works as a testament to her devotion to God. But it seems that this devotion did not grant her genuine peace with God.
Quote: ""Please pray specially for me that I may not spoil His work and that Our Lord may show Himself -- for there is such terrible darkness within me, as if everything was dead," she wrote in 1953. "It has been like this more or less from the time I started 'the work.'" Then in 1956: "Such deep longing for God -- and ... repulsed -- empty -- no faith -- no love -- no zeal. (Saving) souls holds no attraction -- Heaven means nothing -- pray for me please that I keep smiling at Him in spite of everything." And then in 1959: "If there be no God -- there can be no soul -- if there is no Soul then Jesus -- You also are not true." At times she also found it hard to pray. "I utter words of community prayers -- and try my utmost to get out of every word the sweetness it has to give -- but my prayer of union is not there any longer -- I no longer pray."
As Christians we often go through periods of doubt and despair, for Satan is constantly accusing us to God and trying to hinder our effectiveness for the Lord. I myself have been feeling quite down this past few days. On Thursday I felt very empty inside, and yesterday I was in despair over my sins and the failures of my life. Although I may often feel discouraged and downcast, somehow I always know deep down inside that there is restoration, that there is still hope even in the darkest dungeon, and although I may be far from the Lord, He is still within reach if I will turn to Him. I guess that is the Holy Spirit within the true believer, who intercedes on behalf of us to the Lord (Romans 8:26), maintaining a work of Grace in the heart.
I like that story of John Bunyan's Holy War, a similitude of how the town of Mansoul was wilfully taken captive by Diabolus, and was later conquered by El Shaddai, its Creator. The elders of the town had asked forgiveness of El Shaddai for letting the Devil take control of Mansoul, and even when the Lord presently refused to come to their aid (for they had not sent the right messenger to petition El Shaddai), still the town elders were able to take courage for they were persuaded that by His reply El Shaddai would at some time come and deliver them from their enemy. Later the town elders were instructed that their letter must be written by the hand of El Shaddai's Servant (the Holy Spirit), if the Lord was to respond to their petition.
But for Mother Teresa... a silence and emptiness, a terrible darkness within her, having a love for God yet being repulsed by Him, having no faith, no zeal, souls hold no attraction, heaven means nothing... For a person to devote their entire life to what they thought was God's work, yet at the end of it all to find no favour with Him! Why would such a person be repulsed by God, who has seemingly done so much good in His name? A person like that can find no cause for hope in God, nor find favour with the Lord, for they remain under the wrath of God. Though they served Him with all their heart during their lifetime, the heart of God could not be moved towards them, because they have not put their faith in Christ's sacrifice on the cross. They have not fled to Jesus Christ for cleansing and justification from sin. The Bible states that "without faith it is impossible to please God", (Hebrews 11:6).
The "drawing back" in this verse is not backsliding, but a drawing back in unbelief from the revealed truth of Jesus Christ to a system of works. The writer was warning Jewish believers in Yeshua that God has no pleasure in those who turn away from the truth of the Gospel and go back to the Jewish sacrificial system. But so it is for many Catholics, Protestants and other nominal "Christians" who are serving God with all their heart, but are not justified by faith in Christ.
Sadly millions of Catholics will be following in Mother Teresa's footsteps, hoping to obtain favour with God by praying to her, and seeking blessings from a woman who, if she wasn't saved through faith, is in hell at this present time. Few could match Mother Teresa for devotion, but her experience shows us first hand that we cannot obtain favour with God through good works. Praise God our faith is in something much more steadfast, in Christ's finished work on the cross. If you have not trusted in Jesus Christ for salvation, if you have no peace, if your sins are not forgiven, if you have an emptiness inside which cannot be filled, put your faith in Jesus Christ today. Admit you are a sinner in need of salvation, and the Lord has promised that whoever comes to Him, He will in no wise cast out (John 6:37).