The Secret to Life and Being Sick in Bed

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secret to life - work - Jesus - Mother Teresa

This is why Mother Teresa had the kind of peace in life that transcended all trial and suffering.

“We are at Jesus’ disposal. If he wants you to be sick in bed, if he wants you to proclaim His work in the street, if he wants you to clean the toilets all day, that’s all right, everything is all right. We must say, ‘I belong to you. You can do whatever you like.’ And this is our strength. This is the joy of the Lord.” – Mother Teresa

And that…is the sweet and simple secret to a truly joyful life.

[photo credit]

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dbond October 20, 2010 at 11:12 am

After having spent 10 days in the hospital this summer, and much of the rest of the summer flat on my back, I can testify to what Blessed Mother Teresa said. It’s all good. It’s what Our Dear Lord wants us to go through for that appointed time, for whatever purpose He sees in the total picture of our lives. This is something we cannot see now, but we need to trust in His wisdom, His Divine Mercy, as being the best for us at this time in our lives. I so love reflecting on the life of Blessed Mother Teresa, because in doing so, I can then see Our Lord Jesus!

WriterWriter October 20, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Interestingly enough, Mother Theresa’s letters were released following her death. She lost her faith 50 years ago and said she did not believe there was anything out there.

Such is the price of her life; she did good works (maybe, although many claim she had a vested interest in maintaining poverty for women) but she lived a lie for most of her adult life….

The figure of Christ most probably didn’t exist. The timeline for this person is a mess and the figure himself is based on amalgams of many other similar heros born of virgins. It is a typical myth with very typical role structure.

Dave October 20, 2010 at 1:39 pm

“Some writings seem to suggest she doubted God’s existence. She wrote in 1959: ‘What do I labour for? If there be no God – there can be no soul – if there is no Soul then Jesus You also are not true.’

“In an interview, Kolodiejchuk argued that, read in context, Mother Teresa’s faith remained. Her unwavering belief that God was working through her shows that while Mother Teresa lamented missing that feeling of connection with God, she didn’t doubt his existence, he said.

“‘There’s always a risk in publishing like this that some people will misinterpret it,’ Kolodiejchuk said. ‘But the far greater good will be for those consoled and encouraged by Mother and her example.'”
http://www.beliefnet.com/News/2007/09/New-Book-Reveals-Mother-Teresas-Struggle-With-Faith.aspx

Struggling with faith is not living a lie, but rather an ongoing process for many of us. Is is a testament of the great grace granted to Saint Theresa that she was able to continue her ministry in spite of doubts.

Jesus’s existence can be corroborated by both Roman and Jewish historians. For more detail, I recommend “More Than A Carpenter” by Josh McDowell and “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel.

Bobby Bambino October 20, 2010 at 2:01 pm

Hi WriterWriter.

“Interestingly enough, Mother Theresa’s letters were released following her death. She lost her faith 50 years ago and said she did not believe there was anything out there.”

The problem with this is that she was experiencing the dark night of teh soul for many years. This is part of a theology of the interior life which teh Church has embraced for hundreds of years. Because she is such a holy woman, I could have told you many years before these letters came out that she spent some time (though I would not know how much) suffering in darkness and not feeling God’s precence. According to theology hundreds of years old, we all are called to go through this dark night on teh way to Christian perfection.

The problem is that people like christopher hitchens are so poorly read when it comes to theology and Church history that news like this actually seems shocking. It isn’t. After BXVI dies, there may be stories coming out about he spent many years in total darkness, feeling lost and hopeless. No big whoop. It actually means taht he was progressing in teh spiritual life. It is called the passive purification of the senses.

So if you really are interested in knowing more about this phenomena from people in teh know rather than popular junk theologians like hitchens, I would recommend The Dark Night of teh Soul by St John of the Cross, Interior Castle by Teresa of Avila, or Christian Perfection and Contemplation by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange.

“The figure of Christ most probably didn’t exist. The timeline for this person is a mess and the figure himself is based on amalgams of many other similar heros born of virgins. It is a typical myth with very typical role structure.”

Yes, this is becoming a pretty popular argument on teh internet. The problem with this “amalgamation” theory is that it has very little explanatory power and very little explanatory scope. G.K Chesterton laid it to rest in his book The Everlasting Man many decades ago. It also does not take into account modern biblical scholarship which realizes that the gospels are not written in the genre of myth, but the genre of history. The writers are making historical claims in a manner highly different than mythological writings. If you have anything specific about this argument, I’d be happy top address it, but these vague generalities about “Jesus was an amalgamation, typical mythology” isn’t at all persuasive, nor is there much to respond to because not much in the way of substance is claimed.

dbond October 20, 2010 at 1:17 pm

Well, “WriterWriter”, never heard such a bunch of lies and double speak in quite awhile. Maybe why you call yourself “WriterWriter.” You are certainly not ‘RighterRighter”. Our Lord Jesus and Blessed Mother Teresa do not need you in order to be proven to be true, faithful, or to have existed. You are no threat to them, but they certainly seem to be a threat to you!
She did not loose her faith, but experienced the “dark night of the soul”, which many saints experienced on their way to sainthood.
The “price of her life” is of a value you cannot comprehend, just as the price of Our Lord Jesus dying on the cross is also something beyond your ability to comprehend.

Ann October 20, 2010 at 2:16 pm

WriterWriter – seriously? Do not equate your own doubts to Mother’s darkness. She was a strong soul, she did not need the constant “proof” that you nay sayers need. She did it for Him, and asked for nothing in return. The fact that she perservered in darkness is inspiring!

Wade St. Onge October 20, 2010 at 5:08 pm

VERY inspiring. The Saints always are.

But it is SO hard putting it into practice; “easier said than done”.

Beth Anne October 20, 2010 at 6:35 pm

To WriterWriter I would like to point out that this was addressed years ago when the letters were released.  Kind of old hat.  Obviously uneducated, which is apparent when reading the allegations against Christ.  Pure ignorance.

Rozann Carter October 21, 2010 at 2:58 pm

Great post, Matt.

WriterWriter– I would recommend Fr. Paul Murray’s writing on Mother Teresa called “I Loved Jesus in the Night” — http://www.amazon.com/Loved-Jesus-Night-Calcutta-Revealed/dp/1557255792

This book illuminates some of the reality of her “Dark Night of the Soul” and what it meant in terms of her relationship with Christ. (Father Paul was her spiritual director for a time.) It’s beautiful.

Thanks!
Rozann Carter

WriterWriter October 24, 2010 at 11:14 am

The problem – the foundational problem – with all of the ‘arguments’ above is that they assume that a fantasy is reality.

There is utterly and absolutely no evidence at all for god, heaven, hell, etc. etc., so by proceeding on the basis that falsehoods are truths, one can argue anything.

The truest thing Mother Theresa EVER said was that she doubted the existence of any of it.

Give me one SHRED of verifiable, empirical evidence for the existence of any of your dieties and I’ll consider that perhaps there is a basis for any of the arguments here.

I am always shocked but never surprised by the instantaneous PERSONAL attacks that ensue when someone makes impersonal observations. Such attacks are always evidence that the attacker has doubts about the veracity of their information, so they eschew intelligent argument and opt for defensiveness.

Many, many more intelligent thinkers and writers than I have determined that religion is nothing more than fear-based social and political control. To quote Einstein, “A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.”

Dave October 25, 2010 at 10:33 am

Well, since you want to debate Einstein quotes, here’s a good one, commonly paraphrased as “God does not play dice with the universe.”:
“I, at any rate, am convinced that He does not throw dice.”

In any case, the existence and recommendation of irreligious ethics is not a refutation of the existence of God. I suggest Descartes’ “Meditations on First Philosophy,” for an empirical proof of God.

For external evidence of Jesus, please refer to the Jewish historian Josephus in his “Antiquities of the Jews” 18:63:
“At this time there was a wise man called Jesus, and his conduct was good, and he was known to be virtuous. Many people among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. But those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive. Accordingly, he was perhaps the Messiah, concerning whom the prophets have reported wonders. And the tribe of the Christians, so named after him, has not disappeared to this day.”

Also, several Roman historians recorded Christ:
Tacitus—Greatest Roman historian, born 52 A.D., wrote a history of the reign of Nero in 110 A.D. “…Christus, from whom they got their name, had been executed by sentence of the procurator Pontius Pilate when Tiberias was emperor; and the pernicious superstition was checked for a short time only to break out afresh, not only in Judea, the home of the plague, but in Rome itself, .. ” (Annals 15:44)
Suetonius—AD. 120. In his Life of Claudius: “As the Jews were making disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome.”
Pliny the Younger—Governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor, wrote the emperor in A.D. 112 about the sect of Christians, who were in “the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day, before it was light, when they sang an anthem to Christ as God.”

WriterWriter, like you, I was an full-blown atheist. I am forever thankful that I was lead back to God by wonderful friends and writers. Sure, I still have questions and moments of doubt, but then I had many more of those during my dark years. I pray that you will have an open mind and an open heart, that you will take the time to read the references that I and others have given you, and that you will start your journey back to God’s love.

Bobby Bambino October 24, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Thanks for the reply, WriterWriter.

“The problem – the foundational problem – with all of the ‘arguments’ above is that they assume that a fantasy is reality. ”

Perhaps that is a good place to start then. What you have to realize is that this is a Catholic blog writer by a Catholic. In fact, I”m not really sure what your original point was supposed to be- you came on here attacking Mother Theresa when the original post was meant as words of inspiration to people who ALREADY believed in Jesus. So if you would like to discuss more foundational issues, we are all happy to do so, but please don’t act like we’re just assuming stuff out of the blue when you were the one who originally attacked Mother Theresa without understanding any of the theology behind her alleged “doubts.” In fact, many of us have attempted to steer you towards the theology of the interior life, but there is nothing in your reply that makes me think that you have any interest in pursuing that. You seem to be content repeating the same ill-informed information about Mother Theresa which knows nothing of any kind of theology of suffering. It is frankly surprising that public intellectuals are able to get away with commenting on issues of which they know nothing, are told they know nothing and where to go to learn something, still refuse, and continue to hold their esteem in teh public square as intellectuals.

But really, now we see that your original beef was with religion in general. Okay, fair enough. That’s fine, but why not just say so originally? Why play this little game where you say something about Mother Theresa, we give a reply, and you reply with “oh, but none of the basis beliefs are true anyway!”? If you knew you were going to question our foundations, why waste your time and ours? We could have replied with ANYTHING, and I think you would have given the same reply.

“There is utterly and absolutely no evidence at all for god, heaven, hell, etc. etc., so by proceeding on the basis that falsehoods are truths, one can argue anything. ”

Again, I’m happy to discuss this (and will below), but this is completely irrelevant to 1) the original post and 2) our replies to your reply. Why are you justified in commenting about what a person REALLY thought on a post with inspiring words by that person, and when people call you out on it, changing the subject to the whole basis for one’s worldview? Again, I”m disappointed that you didn’t just say this in the first place. Many people spent a good deal of time and thought in their replies to you, and they have been ignored, again, something it is now pretty clear you knew you would do anyway.

“The truest thing Mother Theresa EVER said was that she doubted the existence of any of it. ”

Possibly. I’m just not sure how that fact refutes any of the theology of the interior life. Oh, but you don’t believe any of it anyway. Then WHY are you still discussing this? Let’s either jump to more foundational issues, or at least you can try and argue that Christianity is not consistent in its own worldview.

“Give me one SHRED of verifiable, empirical evidence for the existence of any of your dieties and I’ll consider that perhaps there is a basis for any of the arguments here.”

First, I would like to point out that you seem to be operating on the assumption that in order for someone to be justified in believing something, that you must have verifiable, empirical evidence. Is that correct? (and please, try not to walk right into this one)

Now, as for why we might believe in God. Consider teh following syllogism.

1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
Therefore, the universe has a cause.

The above syllogism is valid (and please don’t get “valid” and “sound” confused). I will not argue in great detail either premise for now, and I will leave it to you tell me which premise you find fault with and then I will defend it for now. Suffice it to say, though, that according to big bang cosmology, space, time, and matter all came into being with the explosion of the initial singularity, so whatever caused the big bang must be outside of space, time, and matter. I define that cause to be God. Please note, I do not claim this is the Christian God (yet) nor do I claim any properties of this God, nor do I claim that there couldn’t be multiple lower level God’s right now. This only establishes some kind of theism.

“I am always shocked but never surprised by the instantaneous PERSONAL attacks that ensue when someone makes impersonal observations. Such attacks are always evidence that the attacker has doubts about the veracity of their information, so they eschew intelligent argument and opt for defensiveness.”

I apologize for any personal attacks. They indeed do no good, and as we have seen, are usually used as an excuse to avoid addressing any actual arguments.

“Many, many more intelligent thinkers and writers than I have determined that religion is nothing more than fear-based social and political control.”

Suppose religion is used to control teh masses. How does it follow that religion is then false?

Again, WriterWriter, you really need to be more specific. Chalking up “determinations about religion from really smart people” doesn’t really say anything. Honestly, how am I supposed to address this? Am I supposed to be convinced by this line of yours and start questioning my beliefs? What in your quoted statement is really supposed to get me to think? Furthermore, what is an argument that they these really smart people have put forth? I could turn this right around by appealing to some authority “out there” by saying that “tons and tons of really smart people have devoted tehir lives to study and realized that the Catholic Church is teh true Church instituted by God.” Are you convinced by that “argument”? Of course not, so why should I be convinced by your quote? I work with substance. Actual claims, actual arguments.

Einstein’s quote doesn’t do much for me. I don’t think it’s perfect, but I don’t have too much of a problem with it. But it certainly doesn’t get me to think.

So WriterWriter, let’s discuss the above syllogism. Which premise do you see as problematic, and why? I am happy to give great, in-depth arguments to support teh truth of either one. If you have a problem with both, let’s take things one at a time. Take care, sir.

dbond October 24, 2010 at 9:02 pm

Writer/Writer
you wrote:”Give me one SHRED of verifiable, empirical evidence for the existence of any of your dieties and I’ll consider that perhaps there is a basis for any of the arguments here.”
How about YOU give me one shred of verifiable, empirical and so on evidence that Our Lord Jesus did not exist, is not the Son of God the Father, and that God does not exist, and is not the Creator of all that is? . . . . Umm-hmmm. I thought so.
AND you said, Writer/Writer:
“I am always shocked but never surprised by the instantaneous PERSONAL attacks that ensue when someone makes impersonal observations. Such attacks are always evidence that the attacker has doubts about the veracity of their information, so they eschew intelligent argument and opt for defensiveness.”
You write not impersonal observations, but direct attacks upon the faith of the people partaking in this blog and the very existance of Our Lord Jesus and His daughter, Blessed Mother Teresa. Fairly arrogant of you to think we would not rise to defend our faith, Our Lord, and his blessed servant, Mother Teresa. I am suprised that you are suprised that we defend them. If you are feeling instantaneously personally attacked, perhaps you ought to reflect why you might be getting those “vibes”. Could it be something you wrote? If you are going to offend that which is most important to others, perhaps you would do well to prepare yourself to expect them to be defensive in answer to you. That will help you to be steadied and not so “shocked”

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