Most people know about Mother Teresa. Some may know she was recently proclaimed a saint. She and her fellow sisters took in societies most unwanted and she fiercely aided and defended those who had no protectors.
Mother Teresa was also a Nobel Peace Prize winner. It was awarded for her selfless service to humanity. What I didn’t know until recently is that she was haunted by self doubt. According to correspondence that came to light after she died in 1997, Mother Teresa experienced what the church calls a “dark night of the soul” — a period of spiritual despair and loneliness that many of the great mystics experienced. In Mother Teresa’s case, it lasted for nearly 50 years — I can’t begin to imagine that amount of angst.
In her writings she despaired of ever being worthy. While living in this darkness she continued to bring light to the needy. It’s often stated that we teach what we need to learn. She said the greatest poverty in the world is the feeling of being unloved. She spoke these words as she struggled for inner peace and feeling disconnected from her own light and questioning her right to receive God’s love.
It’s hard to imagine receiving love from anyone, even God, without earning it. Love is given freely and not in response to good works through service to others.
The true test of character lies in overcoming our fears and insecurities. Mother Teresa faced her darkness by bringing light to the world; even when she doubted herself. I believe she is finally at peace and basking in the light of love.
At this time of the year we recognize those who have passed with various religious services commemorating the dead. She is my inspiration and a beautiful reminder that we are all just simply human….
Contributions from: associated press writer, Nicole Winfield and Bernat Armangue from Kolkata, India.