Monday, August 27, 2007

Mother Teresa's Crisis of Faith

For many years, Mother Teresa was a teacher in Calcutta. She worked too hard and this affected her health.

In 1946, aged 36, she set off on a holiday trip to Darjeeling and this was when she claims that Jesus spoke to her.

Reportedly, Jesus asked her to work in the slums, helping the poorest of the poor, the sick, the dying, beggars and street children.

Mother Teresa described her first day of her new work: "The old man lying on the street, not wanted, all alone just sick and dying; I gave him carborsone and water to drink and the old Man was so strangely grateful."

According to Time magazine, 23 August 2007, Mother Teresa had a crisis of faith. ( Mother Teresa's Crisis of Faith)

It would seem that more than one religious figure has had a crisis of faith.

Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?" (aangirfan: Jesus and humility)

Mohammed received revelations in a cave and had doubts about his link to the divine.

"Muhammad first experienced apprehension and doubt; at first, he suspected that he had been victim of some malicious jinns, or subjected to an illusion which might destroy him. Fearing he might be insane or possessed he returned home." - Muhammad

In 625, at the battle of Uhud, Mohammed's Muslim forces were defeated by the Meccans outside of Medina. At that point, some Moslems might have had a crisis of faith?

And yet, around the world there is always a strong belief that there is more to this world than the purely physical.

A Readers Digest Magazine survey of 1005 people discovered that 6 out of 10 people believe in psychic ability. A quarter claimed that they knew when a family member was ill before being told. Mediums? To find out more click here

Perhaps some followers of Judaeo-Christianity-Islam have been too fundamentalist in their beliefs and this has caused them to have occasional crises of faith?

The Taoists do not preach fundamentalism.

Taoism is about getting in tune with the mysterious Tao (God).

"When you are aware of the Tao and feel it, you can flow with it, and the right action appears for itself, spontaneously."

Henry C K Liu wrote in the Asia Times about Taoism. Where does evil come from? There can be no ‘good’ without ‘evil’. "Controlled quantities of the bad can be good. Excessive amounts of the good can be bad. Poison kills. But when handled properly, it can cure diseases. Without poison, there can be no medicine. To employ poison to attack poison is a Taoist principle, which is validated in modern medical the practice of vaccination, the use of antibiotics and chemotherapy treatments." - (aangirfan: Consider the lilies)

What about Mother Teresa? (Mother Teresa's Crisis of Faith)

Mother Teresa wrote some letters about her crisis. The letters show that for most of the last nearly half-century of her life (starting about the time she began her work among the poor in Calcutta) "she felt no presence of God whatsoever."

Mother Teresa mentions the "dryness," "darkness," "loneliness" and "torture" she experienced. She kept her faith and eventually managed to live with the 'darkness'.

St. John of the Cross (Spanish 16th century) invented the term the "dark night" of the soul to describe what can happen to religious figures.

St. Paul of the Cross (18th century) experienced 45 years of dark night of the soul.

Why did Mother Teresa seem to feel that her communication with God had gone wrong?

Time magazine quotes Dr. Richard Gottlieb, a teacher at the New York Psychoanalytic Society & Institute who has written about the church. Gottlieb wonders if the problem had something to do with Mother Teresa's success

Some psychologists believe that people of a certain type find it difficult to live with being successful and end up punishing themselves.

Gottlieb also suggests that starting her work with the poor "may have marked a turning point in her relationship with Jesus." The relationship with Jesus might have scared her.

The words of Mother Teresa

"There is a terrible hunger for love. We all experience that in our lives - the pain, the loneliness. We must have the courage to recognize it. The poor you may have right in your own family. Find them. Love them."

"I once picked up a woman from a garbage dump and she was burning with fever; she was in her last days and her only lament was: ‘My son did this to me.’ I begged her: You must forgive your son. In a moment of madness, when he was not himself, he did a thing he regrets. Be a mother to him, forgive him. It took me a long time to make her say: ‘I forgive my son.’ Just before she died in my arms, she was able to say that with a real forgiveness. She was not concerned that she was dying. The breaking of the heart was that her son did not want her. This is something you and I can understand."

"There is only one God and He is God to all; therefore it is important that everyone is seen as equal before God. I’ve always said we should help a Hindu become a better Hindu, a Muslim become a better Muslim, a Catholic become a better Catholic."

"When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her. It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed. You and I, we are the Church, no? We have to share with our people. Suffering today is because people are hoarding, not giving, not sharing."

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