Thursday, September 06, 2007

Reflecting on Uncertainty and Faith

Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of Mother Teresa's death.

I've been think a lot about Mother Teresa ever since last week when I read the Time magazine cover story in my dentist's waiting room. It included excerpts from "Mother Teresa: Come be My Life", a new book that presents many of her letters to her own spiritual leaders about her questions of faith and belief. After the experience of a dramatic personal call to serve the poor in India, Mother Teresa reported her anguish in letters over five decades that she had lost her sense of God's presence in her life.

Reading the letters made her very real to me in a way that news stories have not. Although some have reported great dismay about these revelations (Time itself called the cover story, "The Secret Life of Mother Teresa" as if it was going to share some soap opera details), I found great comfort in reading the letters. I have never trusted people who believe they know the ultimate truth, whether that is the Vatican, Christian and Muslim fundamentalists, New Age writers, or the man with the sign on 42nd Street proclaiming the world will end in 2012.

I have been blessed to have moments of grace where I have directly experienced a sense of the divine, but many more moments where I have questioned whether there is any more to our lives than what we directly experience. When I am asked by people about my beliefs in an afterlife, I usually say that THIS life is all I can try to understand. I can't remember which Unitarian Universalist minister first said "the only hell and heaven we know for sure is what we all experience on this earth."

I resonate most to the times in the wilderness in the world's great faith stories. I've been there; I bet you have too. As Mother Teresa's life surely points out, how we treat each other, and how we choose to spend the precious moments of our lives, is how we live our faith.

2 comments:

Cassandra said...

I had the same reaction to the news of Mother Teresa's interior life. I can't wait to read the book.

Lucy said...

As Mother Teresa's life surely points out, how we treat each other, and how we choose to spend the precious moments of our lives, is how we live our faith.

Agreed. I guess that's why I chose my profession, because I wanted to reach as many people as possible--and ideally touch their lives.

I'm a minister and a sexologist. Wow! Incredible! And yes, I had to read that twice before I believed it. What an amazing niche you have carved out for yourself!

I'm a female standup comedienne blogging her way to stardom. I would love it if you stopped by and commented on any of the relevant topics. I'm sure you would have a keen perspective.