Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Great Jesuit Insight-For A Saint

I recently attended a talk on Long Island given by Fr. Donald Haggerty, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York and a Professor of Moral Theology at St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers, NY. The talk was about Mother Teresa's private letters which were compiled into a book titled, Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light (Doubleday). The following excerpt is from an article which appeared in the Long Island Catholic,  written by Mary Gorry, a reporter who also attended the talk.  
I quote from the article, Mother Teresa's 'dark night' inspires LI Catholics, from the Long Island Catholic...........
According to Fr. Haggerty, "The 'dark night of the soul' the longing for God from which Mother Teresa apparently suffered for many years was not a loss of faith, but an experience she came to accept as uniting her with both Jesus' Passion and the suffering of the poor she served in India....The writings disclose a long period of interior spiritual suffering, or what mystical theologians such as St. John of the Cross refer to as 'the dark night of the soul,' Fr. Haggerty explained...........During this time, Mother Teresa wrote letters to many priests documenting her suffering. 'There is such a deep loneliness in my heart...How long will our Lord stay away?'
We keep hearing that combined element, noted Fr. Haggerty, 'the desolation and at the same time the great longing for God. That is a very significant sign that this is not a person diminishing in faith.' Some of the commentary in the media after the book came out was poorly done. The New York Times noted how 'isn't it wonderful all the good Mother Teresa did after she lost her faith. She's experiencing a great darkness, but still intensely longing for God.' In 1959, Mother Teresa met Fr. Joseph Neuner, a Jesuit priest who finally offered her some insight into what she was experiencing. Until this point, nobody really helped her.... Mother Teresa wrote to Fr. Neuner, 'I can't express in words the gratitude I owe you for your kindness to me. For the first time in 11 years, I have come to love the 'darkness' for I believe now that it is a very, very small part of Jesus' own darkness and pain on Earth....Fr. Haggerty continued, 'She now understood that Jesus wanted to unite her with the poorest of the poor. He wanted her to know what it was like to be unwanted and thrown away. He did not simply want her to take care of the poor. He wanted her to become herself one of the poorest of the poor.' She wrote to her sisters, 'without our suffering, our work would just be social work, very good and helpful, but it would not be the work of Jesus Christ.'"
The great insight by Jesuit priest, Fr. Neuner must of been a great relief to Mother Teresa. She finally had some understanding of what she was feeling. 
Mother Teresa, the founder of the Missionaries of Charity, a religious order which serves the poor and marginalized throughout the world won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. At the time of her death on Sept. 5th 1997, she had over 4,000 Sisters operating about 600 missions in over 120 countries. In 1999, less than 2 years after Mother Teresa's death, Pope John Paul II waived the 5-year waiting period and opened the cause for her canonization. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II on Oct. 19th, 2003.
Mother Teresa is a modern day saint, who suffered a 'dark night of the soul,' so she would be united to Jesus' Passion and also so that she would be like 'the poorest of the poor,' in her longing.  She continues to bear "great fruit," even after her death. 
For information about the cause for her canonization-
Happy All Saint's Day to all God's friends, who during these difficult and uncertain times, remain bearers of light.

Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.   Blessed Mother Teresa