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September 24, 2007   |   4 Comments

Mother Theresa’s Crisis of Faith

anyone with thoughts and longings such as these must have attained a very high level of realization.

when i read about her struggles, it gives me more faith. thank you, Mother Theresa.

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4 Comments

  • Posted by:  Heidi Hass Gable

    This has been sticking in my head since I read it.

    I don’t buy the aetheist’s theory that she “came to her senses”, but didn’t want to admit it. You just can’t live your entire life not believing, yet doing the work she did, with the passion she gave to the world.

    I think she must have truly believed to be that passionate – even if she felt that emptiness and doubt at other times.

    The thing I haven’t been able to wrap my head around, though, is what it means. At times I feel discouraged that she felt that pain her entire life – so it never goes away and there’s no way to conquer it. Other times I feel encouraged that we’re all human and we can achieve great things and great joy anyways.

    Perhaps they are two sides of the same coin. We can’t enjoy the sunshine if we never feel the rain.

    I’d like to hear more about how it gives you faith.

    Thanks Susan!
    Heidi

  • Posted by:  Leslie Irvine

    Although Mother Teresa’s letters will provide comfort and insight to many, I am troubled that the letters were published against her wishes that they be destroyed. It seems very self-serving that someone she trusted did not respect her requests.

  • Posted by:  susan

    Heidi, hi. I also don’t buy the atheist theory. That is such an un-subtle view. I don’t think “believing” is black and white—like either you do or you don’t. That’s crazy.

    Here’s what I’ve learned:

    In order for spiritual belief to be more than dogma, it has to be personal.

    For it to be personal, it has to be based on experience—not theory.

    To get experience, you have to practice, not just read. You have to get up in it, right?

    With any spiritual tradition, you start out following the prescribed practices and this is very, very important. Then, at some point, your experience becomes so singular that no one can tell you what to do, except maybe a Guru or God or whatever you call a higher power. And you long for that…

    So this is my interpretation of what Mother Theresa was longing for.
    Deep practitioners say it’s very lonely at this point. You long for your teacher. And you can’t tell if you’re just too blind to see your teacher or your teacher simply doesn’t exist. So to me, Mother Theresa’s letters reveal the truth of someone deeply engaged, truly engaged, genuinely engaged. It seems to me she was wondering about the truth way, way beyond dogma. At the same time, she used her questioning to make her more compassionate, not less. She never flagged in her devotion for others. This gives me faith.

  • Posted by:  susan

    Leslie, I didn’t know her letters were published against her wishes!! And I can understand why she wouldn’t want them published. It’s so easy to misinterpret what she said and could provide fodder for others to use in debates that have nothing to do with her intimate spiritual life. Fie!

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THE BUDDHIST ENNEAGRAM:
NINE PATHS TO WARRIORSHIP

“With wisdom, creativity and artistry, Susan Piver brings a Buddhist lens to the spiritual map of the Enneagram. The results are vibrant and nourishing; a banquet of insights that help us transmute our difficult emotions into pure expressions of our basic goodness.”

 – Tara Brach, author of Radical Acceptance