Finding Mother Teresa in the Hopelessness of Grief

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For many years, I didn’t get the obsession most of the world had with Mother Teresa. I mean, obviously she was doing amazing work with the least of this world, but so were a lot of other people.

It wasn’t until I was given the book Come Be My Light: The Private Writings of the ‘Saint of Calcutta’ that I finally fell in love with her.

This collection of her private writings showed Mother Teresa in an entirely different light, and this is what made everything about her finally click for me. Mother Teresa experienced a “dark night of the soul,” that even led to her questioning the very existence of God, and yet she continued helping those around her with an unsurpassed zeal.

This astounded me beyond words.

In the times I felt God was furthest away from me, the times when I questioned everything about my faith, I have found I am far more likely to allow myself to sink into a hopelessness that slowly grinds my faith life to a halt.

Never have I experienced this more than these last few months since the death of our newborn baby. My prayer life has suffered, my trust in God has waned, and my appreciation of countless blessings has all but vanished.

But in this moment, I have retuned to Mother Teresa, returned to seeing her life as a beacon of hope, a path laid out before me as I journey through this valley of tears.

The words of Mother Teresa put words to my unutterable pain: “I have no Faith – I dare not utter the words & thoughts that crowd in my heart – & make me suffer untold agony,” she continues, “Such deep longing for God and … repulsed empty no faith no love no zeal. … Heaven means nothing pray for me please that I keep smiling at Him in spite of everything.”

She speaks to me during this time of trial for myself and my family. Her experience was shared by her namesake, St. Therese of Lisieux, who called it a “night of nothingness,” and I have the sinking feeling that my night will carry on further than I can manage to fight against it.

And yet, despite all of this, Mother Teresa kept going.

And that is what I need to do.

The soon-to-be-saint had an expression, “Give God permission to use you without consulting you,” and she lived this expression with utter perfection.

This is my challenge, this is my path forward, to continue to trust in God and his plan for my family despite the darkness and pain that is doing its absolute best to swallow up my last shreds of joy.

I call on Mother Teresa’s powerful intercession to help me follow in her footsteps, and for those who find themselves in a similar situation, I’ll pray that she helps you too.

Copyright 2016 Tommy Tighe

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About Author

The fact that Tommy is writing for CatholicMom.com shows God has a great sense of humor. This 30-something husband and father of three is a Cradle Catholic brought from the cafeteria to the full banquet thanks to the teaching found in Humanae Vitae! The Sacrament of Marriage is all about getting one's spouse to Heaven, and Tommy's wife has her work cut out for her!! Visit him at The Catholic Hipster.

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