Saturday, October 11, 2008
Last night I followed our dogs into a moonlit backyard, feeling like Mother Theresa.
Not the mother saint. God no. Not that side of her.
I mean Mother Theresa, saint of doubt, who for fifty years stepped out under her own Calcutta moon, strained her old eyes to see God in its light, but found the light too thin. Found only rock. Craters.
"If there be God," she prayed in those times, "please forgive me."
This morning Ms. V, my thin, frail, elderly friend, and the closest person to Saint Mother Theresa I have ever known, lies unconscious in the city ICU. Yesterday, a mentally-ill homeless woman -- one of ten thousand she has helped in her life -- tried to kill her. Left her unconscious, shattered bones in her face, bleeding in her brain.
We're not sure why. We're not sure what will come of this.
"If there be God," Theresa prayed from her Dark Night, "please forgive me. When I try to raise my thoughts to Heaven, there is such convicting emptiness that those very thoughts return like sharp knives and hurt my very soul" (Mother Theresa: Come Be My Light, 2007).
I am no Mother Theresa -- not even in my doubt. God, seeing my weakness, spoon feeds me the smallest rare doses of Mystery.
Not so for Theresa. For fifty years she felt no divine presence in her life: not in her work; not at the Table. That's quite an exile for one of God's most faithful. Even wayward Israel was only in the desert for forty.
"How painful is this unknown pain," she continued, "I have no faith."
Yes you do, Mother. Otherwise, it wouldn't hurt.