Who is at the heart of the church,
Teresa of Calcutta or St. Thérèse ?
Sermon from Sunday Mass on 30 September 2007 – Solemnity of St. Thérèse.
St. Pius X accused the Christian Democrats from the Sillon of « bringing Socialism in their train, their eyes fixed on a chimera » for « their ideal being akin to that of the Revolution, they are not afraid of drawing blasphemous comparisons between the Gospel and the Revolution. And they cannot be excused on account of confusion or writing in too great a hurry. »
« They are not afraid of drawing blasphemous comparisons between the Gospel and the Revolution… » This expression applies literally to countless articles that fill right now the columns of newspapers concerning the “ spiritual night ” of Mother Teresa, allegedly a night of the Faith, compared to the trial experienced by St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus during the eighteen months that preceded her death on 30 September 1897, exactly a hundred and ten years today, and a hundred years before the death of Mother Teresa in 1997, whom John Paul II hastened to beatify, by transgressing all the rules of prudence established wisely by the Church. Today, the imprudence is plain for all to see, and all the admirers of John Paul II are striving to tone it down by making « blasphemous comparisons » between the person whom we must not fear to call the apostate from Calcutta and the one whom St. Pius X called « the greatest saint of modern times ».
We must speak at length about it, because Mother Teresa embodies the darkness that covers today the Faith of the Church and plunges the entire world into what Sister Lucy calls « a diabolical disorientation » and this is the fruit of the Second Vatican Council. It has nothing, absolutely nothing in common with the spiritual night of St. John of the Cross ; this discernment should have been established by the tribunal of the cause of saints. The process of beatification of Mother Teresa, however, was not carried out according to the rules. I will only quote one text from 3 July 1959, the year of the convening of the Council by John XXIII, and also the year in which this Pope read the Third Secret of Fatima and resolutely turned his back on this light, plunging the Church by this very fact into pitch-black darkness that has only grown darker until today. This text of Mother Teresa, written as a prayer, is one of the most detailed descriptions of the darkness in which she entered by her own fault, in 1957, and out of which she never came until her death in 1997 :
« Lord, my God, who am I for You to have abandoned me ? The child of Your love – and who has now become the most detested – the one whom You have rejected, not desired, not loved. I call out, I cling, I want – and there is No One to answer – no one to whom I may cling – no, No One. – Alone. The obscurity is too dark – and I am alone. – Not desired, abandoned. – The solitude of the heart that desires love is unbearable. – Where is my faith ? – Even deep down, there, there is nothing but the void and obscurity. – My God – How painful is this unknown distress. It makes me suffer unrelentingly. – I believe in nothing – I dare not utter the words and the thoughts that jostle each other in my heart – and make me suffer a terrible agony. So many unanswerable questions live in me – I am afraid of discovering them – for fear of blasphemy. – If God exists, may He pardon me. – To believe that every wish will be fulfilled in Paradise with Jesus. – When I try to raise my thoughts to Paradise – there is such a void that these thoughts come back like sharp-edged knives and wound my soul. – Love – the word – evokes nothing. – I am told that God loves me – and yet obscurity, coldness and the void are a reality so great that nothing touches my soul. Before beginning to work (Editor’s note : for the beginning of her mission in India), I experienced such a union – love – faith – confidence – prayer – sacrifice. – Did I make a mistake in blindly abandoning myself to the call of the Sacred Heart ? » (La Croix, 29-30 September 2007)
Let us listen now to St. Thérèse :
« At that time, I possessed a faith so vivid and clear, that the thought of Heaven was all my happiness. I could not believe that godless people existed who had no faith. I thought they were speaking contrary to their thinking by denying the existence of Heaven, of the beautiful Heaven where God Himself would be their eternal reward (Gn 15.1). In the joyful days of Easter, Jesus made me feel that there really are souls without faith, who, through abuse of grace, have lost this precious treasure, the source of all true and pure joys. He permitted my soul to be invaded by the thickest of darkness and allowed the thought of Heaven, always so sweet for me, to become an occasion of combat and torment… This trial did not last merely for a few days or weeks. I have been suffering for months ; it would only end at the hour chosen by the Good God and… this hour has not yet come…
« I wish I could express what I feel, but alas ! I think that it is impossible. One would have to pass through this dark tunnel to understand its blackness. I will, however, try to explain it by means of a comparison. Let me suppose that I had been born in a land of thick fogs, and had never seen the pleasant aspect of nature, bathed, transfigured by brilliant sunshine ; although I had heard of these wonders from my early youth, and knew that the country wherein I dwelt was not my real home, there was another land, that I should always look forward to. (He 11.13-16).
« Now this is not a fable, invented by an inhabitant of the sad country where I am ; it is the solemn truth, for the King of that sunlit country dwelt for thirty-three years in the land of darkness (Jn 1.5; 9-10), and alas ! the darkness did not understand that this Divine King was the Light of the World… Dear Lord, Your child has understood Your Divine Light ; she asks that You pardon her brethren, and is willing to eat the bread of sorrow as long as You may wish (Ps 127.2) and she will not leave this table of bitterness where poor sinners take their food before the day that You will have decided. May she not, however, say in her own name, and in the name of her brethren ? Have pity on us Lord, for we are poor sinners ! (Mt 9.10-11, Lk 18.13) O Lord, send us away justified… May all those who are not enlightened by the luminous torch of the Faith come to see it shine in the end… O Jesus, if it is necessary that the table sullied by them be purified by one soul who loves You, I truly wish to eat the bread of affliction alone at that table until it please You to introduce me into Your Kingdom of light. The only grace I ask of You is never to offend You…
« My beloved Mother [Agnès, Prioress], what I write to you lacks coherence ; my little story that resembled a fairy tale has suddenly turned into a prayer, I do not know what interest you will find in reading all these confused and poorly expressed thoughts. After all, Mother, I am not writing to produce literature but out of obedience. If I bore you, at least you will see that your child has shown good will. I will thus without discouraging myself continue my little comparison from where I left off. I said that the certainty of going one day far from the sad and dark land had been given to me from my childhood ; not only did I believe because of what I heard people more knowledgeable than myself say, but also I felt aspirations for a more beautiful region in the bottom of my heart. Just as the genius of Christopher Columbus made him sense that there existed a new world, when no one had thought of it, thus I felt that another earth would one day serve me as a stable dwelling (Hb 13.14). Suddenly, however, the fog that surrounds me becomes thicker. It penetrates my soul and envelops it in such a way that I am no longer able to find in it the so sweet image of my Country – all has disappeared ! When my heart, weary of the enveloping darkness, tries to find some rest and strength in the thought of an everlasting life to come, my anguish only increases. It seems to me that the darkness itself, borrowing the voice of the unbeliever, cries mockingly : “ You dream of a land of light and fragrance, you believe that the Creator of these wonders will be for ever yours, you think to escape one day from the mists in which you now languish. Hope on ! Hope on ! Look forward to death ! It will give you, not what you hope for, but a night darker still, the night of utter nothingness. ”
« Beloved Mother, the picture that I wanted to give you of the darkness that obscures my soul is as imperfect as a first rough outline is from the model ; yet I do not want to write more, I would fear to blaspheme… I even fear that I may have said too much… Ah, may Jesus forgive me if I have caused Him pain, but He knows that whilst enjoying no delight in the Faith, I at least try to do its works. I believe that I have made more acts of faith in a year than in the whole of my life. Whenever the combat is renewed and my enemy comes to provoke me, I behave bravely. Knowing that it is cowardly to fight a duel, I turn my back on the enemy without deigning to look him in the face. Instead, I run towards my Jesus and I tell Him that I am ready to shed my blood to the very last drop in order to confess that there is a Heaven. I tell Him that I am happy not to enjoy this beautiful Heaven here on earth so that He may open it to poor unbelievers for all eternity. Despite this trial, which deprives me of all enjoyment, I can nevertheless exclaim : “ Lord, You fill me with joy through everything You do. ” (Ps 91 / 92.5) For is there a greater joy than that of suffering for Your love ?… The more intimate suffering is, the less it shows to the eyes of creatures, and the more it pleases You, O my God ! If, per impossible, however, You Yourself should ignore my suffering, I would still be happy to have it if I could use it to prevent or to repair a single sin against the Faith…
« My Beloved Mother, perhaps it seems to you that I am exaggerating my trial. In fact, if you judge according to the feelings that I express in the little poems that I have composed this year, You must think that I am a soul replete with consolations and for whom the veil of the Faith is almost torn, and yet… it is no longer a veil for me, it is a wall that rises up to the heavens and covers the starry sky… When I sing the happiness of Heaven, the eternal possession of God, I feel no joy, for I am simply singing what I want to believe. Sometimes, it is true, a very small ray of sunshine comes to illuminate my darkness, then the trial ceases for an instant, but then the memory of this ray, instead of causing me joy, makes my darkness even more pitch-black. O my Mother, never before have I felt how much the Lord is gentle and merciful (Ps 103.6). He only sent me this trial when I had the strength to bear it. Earlier, I rather think that it would have plunged me into discouragement… Now it removes all the natural satisfaction that I could have found in the desire that I had of Heaven… Beloved Mother, it seems to me now that nothing can prevent me from soaring, for I no longer have great desires other than that of loving to the point of dying of love. » (The Story of a Soul, Manuscript C, 1897)
Brother Bruno of Jesus-Mary.
He is risen ! n° 60, september 2007