Hollison Journey

“The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.” – Don Williams Jr

Dark Night of the (Joyful) Soul

on August 26, 2009

Today is Mother Teresa’s birthday.

Excuse me. Today is Blessed Teresa of Calcutta’s birthday.

If you wanna know more about her life, EWTN has a great site set up, and I encourage you to peruse it.

I’ll admit, I was never that interested in Mother Teresa. I knew who she was and it wasn’t like I didn’t like her, I was just, I guess, indifferent about her.

And then last year, I taught a WOW session on Joy and stumbled upon the recent publication of letters by Mother Teresa where she explains her spiritual drought.

What amazes me most about Mother Teresa isn’t the countless people she helped or the works that she did, it’s the fact that the woman who said:

“A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love,”

could be the same person who wrote to her spiritual director:

“In the darkness… Lord, my God, who am I that You should forsake me?.. I call, I cling, I want, and there is no one to answer… Where I try to raise my thoughts to heaven, there is such convicting emptiness that those very thoughts return like sharp knives and hurt my very soul… I am told God lives in me and yet the reality of darkness and coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul.”

I find it fascinating that a woman who spent so much of her life helping others and doing the work of God struggled with feeling His presence.

There are some who use her writings to say, “See! There is no God. Mother Teresa didn’t even feel Him. She is a phony!” But I think that if you look at both her private writings and her public writings, you see that God HAS to exist. Our faith comes from God and He gave her so much that was able to rise above an enormous period of darkness. How many time have I claimed to have “spiritual droughts?” They never seem to last too long, and yet, I feel like I will never get through them.

She said she never wanted her private writings and letters to go public because she didn’t want the attention to be on her, but on God. I’m grateful we have the knowledge of her struggles – if anything, I think they point me to God and make me realize just how AWEsome He is. Her faith was so strong and so much light came out of her darkness.

“Give yourself fully to God. He will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in His love than in your own weakness.”


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2 responses to “Dark Night of the (Joyful) Soul

  1. Amanda says:

    I like this! When I have the time to read something for pleasure again, I’d love to read her writings.

    For me, when I am in a drought period, I rely on my knowing that He is there instead of feeling that He is there, because that knowing sustains me. I can get through a lot of life knowing even when every emotional response is screaming that I am utterly alone.

    After all…

    5 This is what the LORD says:
    “Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
    who depends on flesh for his strength
    and whose heart turns away from the LORD.

    6 He will be like a bush in the wastelands;
    he will not see prosperity when it comes.
    He will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
    in a salt land where no one lives.

    7 “But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
    whose confidence is in him.

    8 He will be like a tree planted by the water
    that sends out its roots by the stream.
    It does not fear when heat comes;
    its leaves are always green.
    It has no worries in a year of drought
    and never fails to bear fruit.”

    9 The heart is deceitful above all things
    and beyond cure.
    Who can understand it?

    10 “I the LORD search the heart
    and examine the mind,
    to reward a man according to his conduct,
    according to what his deeds deserve.”

    Jeremiah 17

  2. frflux says:

    Thank you Holly. Joy is such an important part of good life and ministry. It goes right along with love. If we do great things without Joy.. what good are we? You are a great example of joy in your life, and I pray you keep going with that beautiful smile and amazing heart!

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