The patron saint of doubters.

In 2016, Pope Francis sainted Mother Teresa. She was a beloved paragon of a selfless life, ministering to the poor and dying, shining a light on the importance of the little things and the love of family. After her death, her diaries showed her struggles with doubt. Once feeling clearly called to her mission, in the last several decades of her life she felt God’s absence. She said,

Lord, my God, who am I that You should forsake me? The Child of your Love–and now become as the most hated one–the one–You have thrown away as unwanted–unloved. I call, I cling, I want–and there is no One to answer–no One on Whom I can cling–no, No One.–Alone … Where is my Faith–even deep down right in there is nothing, but emptiness & darkness–My God–how painful is this unknown pain–I have no Faith–I dare not utter the words & thoughts that crowd in my heart–& make me suffer untold agony.

So many unanswered questions live within me afraid to uncover them–because of the blasphemy–If there be God –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 & hurt my very soul.–I am told God loves me–and yet the reality of darkness & coldness & emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul. Did I make a mistake in surrendering blindly to the Call of the Sacred Heart?

And on until her death, she felt God’s absence, rather than his presence. And yet she persisted doing the work to which she had been called, living a life of faith.

Some may call her a hypocrite to have an outward smile of peace and an inner crisis of faith, but isn’t her struggle every one’s struggle? Who among us doesn’t struggle with doubt? Don’t we all rely on faith when our paths grow dark and twisting?

St. Teresa of Calcutta inspires us to hang on during the dark nights of the soul, to continue to walk the walk, to be faithful and steadfast, and to shine light in the dark places. She can aptly be considered the Patron Saint of Doubters.

From Shari:

During dark times, it is easy to lose our way. What are some ways you have kept going even during a crisis of faith?

What do you know for sure? Are you sure?

doubts

“I don’t know.”

Why does it seem like these are such difficult words to say? With the vastness of the universe and multitude of things to know, why is it surprising that there are things we simply don’t know? Why are people afraid to say these words? More, important, why are people so insistent that they alone have all the answers? Wars are fought, friendships lost, research thwarted because people insist they know and everyone who disagrees doesn’t. Doubt is derided.

Does this make sense?

Even one of the wisest men around, the Dalai Lama, frequently pauses to say, “I don’t know.” It’s refreshing, isn’t it? That frank acknowledgement of the simple reality that there is much we just don’t know.

Not knowing stuff makes us want to learn, to research, to stretch, to consider the opinions of others, especially authorities on the subject. Not knowing is liberating. It sets us free to inquire and learn rather than puffing up in false bravado.

Only when we are free to ask questions and explore can we hope to get answers.