In private, she had a quick, self-deprecating sense of humor, and sometimes doubled over from laughing so hard.So many people who spent time with her came away saying that she was the most joyful person they had ever met. The child of your love — and now become as the most hated one.Would she really refuse him nothing, drink the cup her Lord drank, lay down her life as he had laid down his life, offer herself as he did, completely and without reserve?
Her light came during a requiem Mass celebrated the day after the death of Pope Pius XII, the pope who had granted her permission to leave Loreto and go among the poor.
“There and then disappeared that long darkness, that pain of loss, of loneliness, of that strange suffering of ten years,” she wrote.
And using lines drawn from these letters, we can piece together the stanzas of a sort of spiritual canticle depicting Mother Teresa’s dark night of the soul: Never before perhaps in the history of the saints have we been given such an honest and plainspoken account of the dark night of a soul.
In Mother Teresa’s dark night, we can hear all the anguish of her century — the desolation of the poor, the cries of the unwanted children, of the atheist, of all those who can’t murmur a prayer or feel to love anymore.
The more she longed for some sign of his presence, the more empty and desolate she became. She had a playful smile, mischievous, as if privy to some secret joke.
Especially when she was around children, she beamed with delight.From her letters, we can see that she understood her darkness as an ordeal, a divine trial.In the dark night, her vow of self-offering was being put to the test.Thérèse, too, experienced a “night of nothingness” — on her deathbed, she heard demonic voices telling her that heaven was just a figment of her imagination.Following Thérèse into this night of nothingness, Mother Teresa too sought the Holy Face of the Crucified in the crushed and the dying, walked the path of spiritual childhood in the small, ordinary realities of her days, and lived her life one little act of love at a time.Now we know that in secret her life was a living hell. The one — you have thrown away as unwanted — unloved. Where I try to raise my thoughts to heaven, there is such convicting emptiness that those very thoughts return like sharp knives and hurt my very soul. I am told God lives in me — and yet the reality of darkness and coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul.