So many people were inspired when praying in the same Church or Chapel with Mother Teresa. It was for some a heavenly experience as a non verbal communication with you.  After Mother Teresa’s death on Sept.5,1997 when some of her personal letters to spiritual directors were published, the world saw a saint who had many internal struggles.  We have in Mother Teresa’s writings a personal transparent account which everyone occasionally experiences when there is a dark spiritual experience in our lives.

“…I try to raise my thoughts to heaven, there is no one to answer…The reality of darkness and coldness is so great that nothing touches my soul.’

Mother Teresa before the time of starting the Missionaries of Charity had quietly made a private vow. It was a vow of “spiritual espousal” in which she would be all for Jesus and to refuse Him nothing.

“If my pain and suffering, my darkness and separation give you a drop of consolation, my own Jesus do with me as you wish…I am willing to suffer with all my heart all that I suffer…I have begun to love my darkness for I believe now that it is a part of Jesus” darkness and pain on earth.”

On several occasions when travelling with Mother on a several hour flight there was the usual pattern of her first saying the rosary, then reading from scripture followed by a meditative silence. I often wondered what Mother Teresa might be thinking, or praying. Little did I think there might be a spiritual combat taking place. Then it was the time for a little conversation which always began by asking a question connected with spirituality. After my response she would give her comment about the same question. Those opportunities were what made people think they were such personal friends with Mother because she immediately opened up her heart to you leaving out superficial conversation. Yes there would be some light talk and musings but it all seemed so spiritual. You were invited into her heart and soul without experiencing her personal “cross.” That cross, Mother Teresa carried for over fifty years alone.

From whatever interior desolation  Mother Teresa might have experienced in life, she moved on and above that reality. Her secret – Mother would say “peace always begins with a smile.” We can understand the cross and many  personal struggle of Mother Teresa by the multitude of smiles she expressed to everyone and at all times. I will never forget her first smile when we met or the last time she smiled at me before her death.

Fraternally in the Sacred Hearts,
Fr. Bill Petrie, ss.cc.

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