This post comes with a few health warnings...
Firstly, there is a risk I am breaching copyright by quoting roughly two and a half pages of a four hundred page book, however this is not for commerical gain and I'm not citing anything which, most of it at least, you can't already read online, if you take the time to search for it; that I transcribed it (with the help of a bit of OCR software and a deal of tidying up afterwards) hopefully displays a teeny bit of integrity.
Secondly, this is Mother Teresa 'uncut' (except where her father confessor/spirutal adviser - to whom it is addressed - redacted text he felt was irrelevant) and for those who prefer the untarnished, shiny version of her story it may be hard to take - in which case, read no further.
However, as I've researched her, ploughed my way through a three hundred page authorised biography, watched via You Tube Christopher Hitchen's ascerbic crticism of her (at least some of which was probably justified, and now delved into a four hundred page book of her private papers, it has become clear just how important it is to recognise this woman whose private struggles and honest questions echo those of so my people I meet and endeavour to support in the course of my ministry. Therefore, and using the facility of this blog platform to make you click 'read more' in case you wish to look away, I am sharing this painfully honest example of her writing knwoing that it has the potential to encourage and maybe bless others...
(Apologies for transcription glitches)
In Loreto, Father I was very happy. --- l think the happiest nun. --- Then the call came. --- Our Lord asked directly—the voice was clear full of conviction. --- Again & again He asked in 1946. –-- I knew it was He. Fear terrible feelings --- fear lest I was deceived. --- But as I have always lived in obedience ---I put the whole thing before my spiritual father --- hoping the whole that he will say --- it was all devil's deception, but no --- like the voice --- he said --- it is Jesus who is asking you then you know how it all worked out. My Superiors sent me to Asanol [in] 1947 --- and there as if Our Lord just gave Himself to me —to the full. The sweetness consolation union of those 6 months——passed but too soon.
And then the work started --- in Dec. 1948. ---By 1950 as the number of the Sisters grew—the work grew. ---
Now Father --- since 49 or 50 this terrible sense of loss ---this untold darkness --- this loneliness --- this continual longing for God --- which gives me that pain deep down in my heart. --- Darkness is such that I really do not see --- neither with my mind nor with my reason. --- The place of God in my soul is blank --- There is no God in me. --- When the pain of longing is so great— I just long & long for God --- and then it is that I feel --- He does not want me --- He is not there. --- Heaven --- souls --- why these are just words --- which mean nothing to me. ---My very life seems so contradictory. I help souls --- to go where? --- Why all this? Where IS the soul in my very being? God does not want me. --- Sometimes --- I just hear my own heart cry God" and nothing else comes. --- The torture and pain I can't explain. --- From my childhood I have had a most tender love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament—but this too has gone. --- l feel nothing before Jesus --- and yet I would not miss Holy Com. [Communion] for anything.
You see, Father, the contradiction in my life. I long for God I want to love Him --- to love Him much --- to live only for love of Him --- to love only --- and yet there is but pain --- longing and no love. --- Years back --- about 17 years now --- I wanted to give God something very beautiful. --- l bound myself under pain of mortal Sin not to refuse Him anything. --- Since then I have kept this promise --- and when sometimes the darkness is very dark --- & I am on the verge of saying "No to God" the thought of that promise pulls me up.
I want only God in my life, --- “The work" is really and solely His. --- He asked—He told me what to do --- He guided every step --- directs every movement I take --- puts the words in my mouth makes me teach the Sisters the way. --- All that & everything in me is He --- This is why when the world praises me --- it really does not touch --- not even the surface --- of my soul. About the work I am convinced it is all He.
Before I could spend hours before Our Lord --- loving Him --- talking to Him --- and now --- not even meditation goes properly --- nothing but "My God”—even that sometimes does not come --- Yet deep down somewhere in my heart that longing for God keeps breaking through the darkness. When outside --- in the work --- or meeting people --- there is a presence --- of somebody living very close --- in very me. ---l don't know what this is --- but very often, even every day --- that love in me for God grows more real --- I find myself telling Jesus unconsciously most strange tokens of love ---
Father, I have opened my heart to you. --- Teach me to love God --- teach me to love Him much. I am not learned --- I don't know many things about the things of God --- l want to love God as and what He is to “My Father."
Very often I long to make use of the food I give my Sisters --- but I can never do it --- the same for spiritual books.
All these things were so natural to me before --- until Our Lord came fully in my life --- I loved God with all the powers of a child's heart. He was the centre of everything I did said. ---
Now Father --- it [is] so dark, so different and yet my everything is His --- in spite of Him not wanting me, not caring as if for me.
When the work started --- I knew what it will all mean But with my whole heart I accepted then everything. --- Only one prayer I made --- to give me grace to give saints to the Church My Sisters, Father, are the gift of God to me, they are sacred to me --- each one of them. That is why I love them --- more than l love myself --- They are a very great part of my life.
My heart & soul & body belongs only to God --- that He has thrown away as unwanted the child of His Love --- And to this Father, I have made that resolution in this retreat --- To be at His disposal.
Let Him do with me whatever He wants, as He wants, for as long as He wants. If my darkness is light to some soul --- even if it be nothing to nobody --- I am perfectly happy --- to be God's flower of the field.
Brian Kolodiejchuk, editor & commentator, Mother Teresa: Come be My Light, London, Rider, 2007, pages 209-212