Time magazine’s September 3, 2007 issue publishes an article by David Van Biema on “Mother Teresa’s Crisis of Faith“. The Rev. Brian Kolodiejchuk published correspondence between Teresa and her confessors and superiors over a period of 66 years in a book entitled Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light. These texts show that Mother Teresa lived the largest part of her life in terrible interior agony, not feeling the presence of God or Jesus, whom she deeply longed for. She felt dry, in darkness, lonely and tortured, and this while she animated and directed the work of her congregation at the service of the poorest and loneliest on the streets of Calcutta. David Van Biema does a good work at presenting her inner road over 50 years of spiritual desolation and separation of God, suffering discreetly and learning to share in Christ’s own agony in the world, participating in His desolation.
In the so-called “third week” of St Ignatius Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises, the time spent on the suffering and crucifixion of the Lord, attention is paid to God’s absence and retiring, to God’s “powerlessness” over against murderous evil. In a paradoxical way, in the suffering Christ the absent God is present, is there with us, sharing our lives, so that in our suffering also God is present as the suffering Christ. In this perspective, the felt absence of God does not indicate God’s non-existence, but rather God’s intimate presence to suffering reality.