Author Topic: The Long, Dark Night of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta  (Read 4658 times)

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Offline lubeltri

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The Long, Dark Night of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
« on: August 27, 2007, 04:11:15 PM »
I had first read about this remarkable revelation in a First Things article published back when she was beatified in 2003.

http://www.firstthings.com/article.php3?id_article=486

Now a book has been published of her private letters to her confessors and superiors over a sixty-something-year period.

http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1655415,00.html

In this, she follows in the footsteps of her great forebears, Sta. Teresa de Avila and Ste. Therese de Lisieux. Hers, however, was the longest of all.

She is an inspiration to all of us who struggle in spiritual deserts, who sometimes misconsider faith only as a feeling rather than as a gift of God we choose to accept in an act of will. As Carol Zaleski writes in the First Things article, Mother Teresa "convert[ed] her feeling of abandonment by God into an act of abandonment to God."
« Last Edit: August 27, 2007, 04:15:54 PM by lubeltri »

Offline Sloga

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Re: The Long, Dark Night of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2007, 04:24:41 PM »
I've heard some interesting stories about her. I'll stop there.
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Offline Jakub

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Re: The Long, Dark Night of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2007, 05:20:22 PM »
I can't wait to hear the many stories about me when I pass through that door... 8)

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Offline BrotherAidan

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Re: The Long, Dark Night of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2007, 01:40:41 AM »
I don't hear or read much about a "dark night of the soul" in Orthodox sprituality.

Can anyone comment regading this?

Offline lubeltri

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Re: The Long, Dark Night of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2007, 01:56:38 AM »
I'd love to hear an answer to this too. Perhaps with EO's lesser emphasis on redemptive suffering, this isn't as common. But I could be wrong.

A Google search came up with this from Bishop Ware's The Orthodox Church on St. Tikhon:

A great preacher and a fluent writer, Tikhon is particularly interesting as an example of one who, like most of his contemporaries, borrowed heavily from the west, but who remained at the same time firmly rooted in the classic tradition of Orthodox spirituality. He drew upon German and Anglican books of devotion; his detailed meditations upon the physical sufferings of Jesus are more typical of Roman Catholicism than of Orthodoxy; in his own life of prayer he underwent an experience similar to the Dark Night of the Soul, as described by western mystics such as Saint John of the Cross.

http://www.fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/history_timothy_ware_1.htm
« Last Edit: August 28, 2007, 01:58:24 AM by lubeltri »

Offline BrotherAidan

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Re: The Long, Dark Night of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2007, 02:09:59 AM »
lubeltri, I like your papal avatar

I always kind of liked those sort of cowboy hats - kind of travel-wear head gear that old world clerics wear!  8)

Offline lubeltri

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Re: The Long, Dark Night of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2007, 02:22:03 AM »
lubeltri, I like your papal avatar

I always kind of liked those sort of cowboy hats - kind of travel-wear head gear that old world clerics wear!  8)

I'd love to get one of those hats---forgot what they're called, they have a special name. I'm glad Benedict is bringing back some of the classic papal apparel.

Offline BrotherAidan

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Re: The Long, Dark Night of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2007, 02:32:23 AM »
I'd love to get one of those hats---forgot what they're called, they have a special name. I'm glad Benedict is bringing back some of the classic papal apparel.

Don't you remember old movies, where the priest wore stuff like that. Those hats rule!
I think I would like to have one too!
« Last Edit: August 28, 2007, 02:33:00 AM by BrotherAidan »

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: The Long, Dark Night of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2007, 02:48:51 AM »
Now, where were we?  Discussing the OP, I think. ;)
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Offline Νεκτάριος

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Re: The Long, Dark Night of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2007, 04:07:27 AM »
Quote
I don't hear or read much about a "dark night of the soul" in Orthodox sprituality.

Can anyone comment regading this?

The Catholics thought of it first, ergo it is a graceless heresy. 

Oh yeah, and don't tell anybody that the same basic idea exists in Orthodox sprituality, just in slightly different words. 

Offline BrotherAidan

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Re: The Long, Dark Night of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2007, 07:42:49 AM »
The Catholics thought of it first, ergo it is a graceless heresy. 

Oh yeah, and don't tell anybody that the same basic idea exists in Orthodox sprituality, just in slightly different words. 

Nektarios, please elaborate [I am not a Catholic basher] - I just genuinely don't hear of it in Orthodoxy.

Here is another question: is it even that prominent in the Western Church before the Middle Ages?

Offline curiosus

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Re: The Long, Dark Night of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2007, 01:00:18 PM »
I don't hear or read much about a "dark night of the soul" in Orthodox sprituality.

Can anyone comment regading this?

I've heard about similar phenomenon. It may lasts for hours or for years. Many ascetics are going through  the same experience. St Amvrosii of Optina not long before his death was telling that he felt for some time that God totally has left him. And, he added, it was the most difficult days (about three days, as I recall) for all his life.   
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Offline Νεκτάριος

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Re: The Long, Dark Night of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2007, 10:24:04 AM »
Quote
Nektarios, please elaborate [I am not a Catholic basher] - I just genuinely don't hear of it in Orthodoxy.

The best thing I could recomend is to simply read Sts. John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila.  While they often use language that is a bit unfamilar to the Orthodox reader, the spiritual process they describe is by and large the same thing one encounters from reading Orthodox spiritual texts.  The same process of purification from the passions / worldly pursuits, an initial spiritual joy, followed by long stuggle (i.e the dark night) etc. is more or less the same outline given by Elder Joseph the Hesychast and found in the philokalia. 

Quote
Here is another question: is it even that prominent in the Western Church before the Middle Ages?

The Discalced Carmalites didn't just emerge out of thin air.  I'm not sure what you exactly mean by the question.  Were there spiritual writers in the Catholic Church between the schism and St. John of the Cross - yes, of course. 

Offline pensateomnia

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Re: The Long, Dark Night of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2007, 11:20:10 AM »
I don't hear or read much about a "dark night of the soul" in Orthodox sprituality.

I don't know precisely what a "dark night of the soul" is in RC spirituality, but the idea that a person must ascetically struggle for very long periods of time without much (or any) easing Grace from God is very common in Orthodox ascetical literature. Otherwise, there would be no need for askesis in the first place.

Aside from the Philokalia and the Ladder, which are harder to sift through, one can easily find such ideas in Elder Joseph the Hesychast, who wrote many letters on the subject of futile-feeling spiritual struggle. And St. Theophan the Recluse repeats over and over that God grants immediate initial grace to the penitent, but then withdraws His grace for an extended period of testing thereafter, so as to test the new Christian's resolve and form him in conviction.
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Offline TinaG

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Re: The Long, Dark Night of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2007, 11:30:55 AM »
"If this is what it takes to fill our churches, so be it." Bishop Salvatore Matano of Burlington

Lubeltri, a side question.  I never noticed your signature line and am curious about the meaning.  Is the answer self-evident or am I just dense?  What does it take to fill the churches (RC, I assume).
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Offline Schultz

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Re: The Long, Dark Night of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
« Reply #15 on: August 29, 2007, 11:47:50 AM »
If I may be so bold and answer your question, Tina, Bishop Matano of Burlington recently said those words to a packed church that came together for a Mass in the "extraordinary rite" (as the Traditional Latin Mass is now rightly called) that His Excellency celebrated to mark the recent motu proprio of Pope Benedict.
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Offline lubeltri

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Re: The Long, Dark Night of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
« Reply #16 on: August 29, 2007, 01:28:22 PM »
"If this is what it takes to fill our churches, so be it." Bishop Salvatore Matano of Burlington

Lubeltri, a side question.  I never noticed your signature line and am curious about the meaning.  Is the answer self-evident or am I just dense?  What does it take to fill the churches (RC, I assume).

Sorry! It's kind of a well-known recent quotation in Catholic circles. As you may remember, on July 7, Pope Benedict XVI released his motu proprio re-establishing the right of Latin Catholic priests and faithful across the world to worship according to the traditional form of the Roman rite of Mass. You will see this often referred to as the "Latin Mass" or the "Tridentine Mass."

To mark this motu proprio, Bishop Salvatore Matano of Burlington (the ordinary for Catholics across Vermont) decided to celebrate the traditional form (or the "extraordinary form," as Pope Benedict calls it) in the cathedral for the feast of the Assumption of Mary on August 15.

The cathedral was filled to capacity, prompting His Eminence to remark, "If this is what it takes to fill our churches, then so be it. I will do whatever I can to fill our churches."

This was remarkable because for over 20 years, the bishops of Burlington had steadfastly refused to give permission for any traditional Masses in Vermont. The only way to worship in the traditional form was to attend a chapel of the Society of St. Pius X.

That has now changed, and His Eminence has decided to get on board wholeheartedly.

You can see a news video of the occasion here: http://www.wptz.com/news/13904141/detail.html#
« Last Edit: August 29, 2007, 01:29:10 PM by lubeltri »

Offline Jakub

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Re: The Long, Dark Night of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2007, 02:20:48 PM »
They will be selling Italian Ices in Hades before the Bishop here in LA celebrates the older rite...

james

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Offline TinaG

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Re: The Long, Dark Night of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
« Reply #18 on: August 29, 2007, 02:26:44 PM »
The cathedral was filled to capacity, prompting His Eminence to remark, "If this is what it takes to fill our churches, then so be it. I will do whatever I can to fill our churches."

Thanks for the explanation.  That's a really inspiring story.  Maybe it's just the beginning of a nation-wide change.
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Offline lubeltri

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Re: The Long, Dark Night of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
« Reply #19 on: August 29, 2007, 03:43:14 PM »
They will be selling Italian Ices in Hades before the Bishop here in LA celebrates the older rite...

You're probably right. Deo gratias for the mandatory retirement age, and Deo gratias that Roger Mahony can no longer force his version of the liturgy on all the faithful of the archdiocese.

Thanks for the explanation.  That's a really inspiring story.  Maybe it's just the beginning of a nation-wide change.

I think so. It's the beginning of the beginning. Other bishops have followed suit. As for the resisting bishops? They will soon be swimming against the tide.

Things have been happening recently which 20 years ago would never have been imagined. Think of the new, wonderful English translations of the modern form of Mass. Back then, liberals like Bishop Trautman of Erie (or "Trautperson," as he is humorously known in the Catholic blogosphere) would have had their way. Now all he can do is whine about how the new, more reverent and accurate translations will confuse the illiterate Jethro Billy Bobs he thinks sit in the pews.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2007, 03:55:33 PM by lubeltri »

Offline BrotherAidan

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Re: The Long, Dark Night of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
« Reply #20 on: August 31, 2007, 11:37:11 PM »
 

The Discalced Carmalites didn't just emerge out of thin air.  I'm not sure what you exactly mean by the question.  Were there spiritual writers in the Catholic Church between the schism and St. John of the Cross - yes, of course. 

I am referring to the emergence of the modern, more individualistic, less communal and possibly more narcissistic personality and self-consciousness that arose in the post-classical world during the course of the middle ages. It is a more decidedly western phenomenon (and I am not bashing the Western Chruch or western culture; it would be a given, I think that individuals in the west are more autonomous in their outlook, less communal, more focused on themselves than in Eastern cultures, Christian and non-Christian). Wilken, In the Spirit of Early Christian Thought, attributes the beginning of this trend to Augustine's Confessions (again, not as a criticism, but as an observation; Wilken reveres Augustine and converted to Roman Catholicism, so he is not a Rome basher).

Offline BrotherAidan

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Re: The Long, Dark Night of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
« Reply #21 on: August 31, 2007, 11:43:04 PM »
Schultz and Lubeltri
Congratulations to you and your Church - this is obviously of great meaning and momentous to both of you!

Offline Nacho

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Re: The Long, Dark Night of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
« Reply #22 on: September 01, 2007, 05:04:22 AM »
^^Yea for the RC... :D I'm glad to see how fast things are changing for the better. What we need is more traditionalism and less of the fruitiness. What the Pope should do once these old far leftist windbag bishops retire is personally handpick the staunchest conservative candidates to be bishops. That would pretty much solve many problems the RC is facing in America. Put some real MEN with testicular fortitude in there to run things and watch how fast things will change. It's a guaranteed formula for success! Now only if we could get some of the effeminate men replaced who run the jurisdiction that I'm in (OCA), that would be a good step in the right direction also.
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Offline Νεκτάριος

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Re: The Long, Dark Night of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
« Reply #23 on: September 01, 2007, 02:27:39 PM »
Quote
I am referring to the emergence of the modern, more individualistic, less communal and possibly more narcissistic personality and self-consciousness that arose in the post-classical world during the course of the middle ages. It is a more decidedly western phenomenon (and I am not bashing the Western Chruch or western culture; it would be a given, I think that individuals in the west are more autonomous in their outlook, less communal, more focused on themselves than in Eastern cultures, Christian and non-Christian).

Even that is far too much of a generalization.  I can certainly respect the point about St. Augustine (interestingly enough his Confessions were the first bit of Christian literature that I ever read).  But, the early Eastern fathers put the same emphasis on the personal, individual spiritual struggle in their writings (i.e the Oriental despotism, caesaropapism...oh excuse me "communalism" of later Orthodoxy is certainly not found in say the Desert Fathers). 

I think you'd have to look later in history than Augustine if you want to find some external historical cause for the later East vs. West (within Christianity) divide in Weltanschauung.  The Germanic peoples gradually Christianized over the course of several hundred years wheras in the East entire kingdoms converted nearly overnight (Armenia, Georgia, Bulgaria, Kievian Rus', etc.).  In the formative centuries the strongest state in the West was collapsing, while in the East the autocracies were still strong until the early 20th century (that's a staightforward argument for Russia, but I'd even argue that the Ottoman empire through the millet system kept the Balkan and Eurasian Christian communities frozen in the late Byzantine mentality until the breakup of the empire).   

Offline BrotherAidan

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Re: The Long, Dark Night of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
« Reply #24 on: September 01, 2007, 10:33:27 PM »
thank you Nektarios for your informative reply

I'm not really "dissing" anyone here. I am truly curious as to whether or not we have become too introspective and maybe self-absorbed in our spirituality. Whether it has always been that way or was there a time when people weren't raised and socialized to be so individualistic and see themselves in such a highly critical-personal way?

Maybe people have always been the same. I'm just asking.

It appears from your citing the desert fathers, that perhaps from the earliest Christian times peoples self-perceptions and experiences have been pretty much the same.

Offline shelleyrose

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Re: The Long, Dark Night of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
« Reply #25 on: January 11, 2008, 10:20:26 PM »
Things have been happening recently which 20 years ago would never have been imagined. Think of the new, wonderful English translations of the modern form of Mass. Back then, liberals like Bishop Trautman of Erie (or "Trautperson," as he is humorously known in the Catholic blogosphere) would have had their way. Now all he can do is whine about how the new, more reverent and accurate translations will confuse the illiterate Jethro Billy Bobs he thinks sit in the pews.

Hi lubeltri.   I just converted to EO but not because of the horrible liberal situation in RC.  I agree that RC needs to return to the more reverent and beautiful mass, though as a young catholic person(post Vat II age), I didn't get this until recently when I became Orthodox and SAW a beautiful liturgy.  No I understand the bellyaching of those super convervative catholics I knew before. 

To change the liturgy (as the Pope Paul the VI liturgy did) is to change the people's understanding of GOD and WHO HE IS and HOW we are to live in relationship to Him.  Perhaps if things return to an older style the Roman Catholic people will believe in the Eucharist again.


Offline lost

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Re: The Long, Dark Night of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
« Reply #26 on: January 24, 2012, 03:19:53 PM »
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