The Light of Mother Teresa's Darkness - Part 2
FREE Catholic Classes
Father Kolodiejchuk on Joy in Suffering
ROME, SEPT. 7, 2007 (Zenit) - Without suffering, our work would just be social work, not the work of Jesus Christ, not part of the redemption, said Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
The founder of the Missionaries of Charity expressed this in a letter written to a spiritual director, now published with many others letters in a volume titled "Come Be My Light," edited and presented by Father Brian Kolodiejchuk.
In this interview with us, Father Kolodiejchuk, a Missionary of Charity priest and the postulator for the cause of canonization of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, discusses his new book and the interior life Mother Teresa kept hidden from the world.
Part 1 of this interview was published Tuesday.
Q: The name of the book, "Come Be My Light," was a request Jesus made to Mother Teresa. How did her redemptive suffering for others in such extreme darkness connect with her particular charism?
Father Kolodiejchuk: During the 1950s, Mother surrendered and accepted the darkness. Father Neuner [one of her spiritual directors] helped her to understand it by linking the darkness with her charism, of satiating Jesus' thirst.
She used to say that the greatest poverty was to feel unloved, unwanted, uncared for, and that's exactly what she was experiencing in her relationship with Jesus.
Her reparatory suffering, or suffering for others, was part of her living her charism for the poorest of the poor.
So for her, the suffering was not only to identify with the physical and material poverty, but even on the interior level, she identified with the unloved, the lonely, the rejected.
She gave up her own interior light for those living in darkness, saying, "I know this is only feelings."
In one letter to Jesus, she wrote: "Jesus hear My prayer -- if this pleases You -- If my pain and suffering -- my darkness and separation gives You a drop of Consolation -- My own Jesus do with me as You wish -- as long as You wish without a single glance at my feelings and Pain.
"I am your own. Imprint on my soul and life the sufferings of Your heart. Don't mind my feelings -- Don't mind even, my pain.
"If my separation from You, brings others to You and in their love and company -- you find joy and pleasure -- why Jesus, I am willing with all my heart to suffer all that I suffer -- not only now, but for all eternity, if this was possible."
In a letter to her sisters, she makes the charism of the order more explicit, saying: "My dear children, without suffering, our work would just be social work, very good and helpful, but it would not be the work of Jesus Christ, not part of the redemption -- Jesus wanted to help us by sharing our life, our loneliness, our agony and death.
"All that He has taken upon Himself, and has carried it in the darkest night. Only by being one with us He has redeemed up.
"We are allowed to do the same: All the desolation of Poor people, not only their Material poverty, but their spiritual destitution must be redeemed and we must have our share in it, pray thus when you find it hard -- 'I wish to live in this world which is far from God, which has turned so much from the light of Jesus, to help them -- to take upon me something of their suffering.'"
And that captures what I consider her mission statement: "If I ever become a Saint -- I will surely be one of 'darkness.' I will continually be absent from Heaven -- to [light] the light of those in darkness on earth..."
This is how she understood her darkness. A lot of the things she said make more sense and have a much deeper meaning now that we know these things.
Q: So what do you say to those who call her experience a crisis of faith, that she didn't really believe in God, or somehow imply that her darkness was a sign of psychological instability?
Father Kolodiejchuk: It wasn't a crisis of faith, or that she lacked faith, but that she had a trial of faith where she experienced the feeling that she did not believe in God.
This trial required a lot of human maturity, otherwise she wouldn't have been able to do it. She would have become unbalanced.
As Father Garrigou-Lagrange said, it is possible to have seemingly contradictory feelings at the same time.
It is possible to have "objective Christian joy," as Carol Zaleski called it, while at the same time going through the trial or feeling of having no faith.
There are not two people here, but one person with feelings on different levels.
We can really be living the cross in someway -- it is painful, and it hurts, and just because we can spiritualize it does not take way the pain, but one can be joyful because one is living with Jesus. And that is not false.
This is how and why Mother lived a life so full of joy.
Q: As the postulator of her cause for canonization, when do you think we might be able to call her St. Teresa of Calcutta?
Father Kolodiejchuk: We need one more miracle -- we have looked at a few, but none has been clear enough. There was one for beatification but we are waiting for the second.
Perhaps God has been waiting for the book to come out first, because people knew that Mother Teresa was holy but because of her ordinariness and simplicity of expression, they did not have an understanding of how holy.
I heard about two priests talking the other day. One said he was never a big fan of Mother Teresa because he thought she was just pious, devout, and did nice, admirable works, but then when he heard about her interior life, it changed everything for him.
Now we have more of an idea how developed she was spiritually, and now something of her deeper characteristics are being revealed.
Once the miracle comes in, it could take a couple of years, although the Pope could do it faster if he wanted to.
FREE Catholic Classes Pick a class, you can learn anything
Q: What has happened to the order since Mother's death?
Father Kolodiejchuk: The order has grown by almost 1,000 sisters, from around 3,850 at her death to 4,800 today, and we've added over 150 houses in 14 more countries.
God's work goes on.
https://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000
Mother Teresa, Jesus, Unity, Kolodiejchuk, Charity, Love
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,717
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Help Now >
Join the Movement
When you sign up below, you don't just join an email list - you're joining an entire movement for Free world class Catholic education.
Saint of the Day for Saturday, June 25th, 2022
Mysteries of the Rosary
Unfailing Prayer to St. Anthony
7 Morning Prayers you need to get your day started with God
Prayer of the Day for Saturday, June 25
Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary
St. William of Vercelli
The Apostles' Creed
Saint Feast Days in June
- Daily Readings for Saturday, June 25, 2022
- St. William of Vercelli: Saint of the Day for Saturday, June 25, 2022
- The Apostles' Creed: Prayer of the Day for Saturday, June 25, 2022
- Daily Readings for Friday, June 24, 2022
- St. John the Baptist: Saint of the Day for Friday, June 24, 2022
- Prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes: Prayer of the Day for Friday, June 24, 2022
Copyright 2021 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2021 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.
Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.