I have been reading "Come Be My Light". It is a wondrous book that contains very intimate correspondence between Mother Teresa and her Spiritual Directors. I have been reading it, in light of our biblical instruction, thru Paul, that we are to "share in the sufferings of Christ".
I am completely blown away & astonished!!! I have never heard of a human being who has come so close to Jesus Christ's perfect emptying of Himself (kenosis) on the Cross. She was so courageous-- more courageous than any person I have ever known…. To willingly embrace Christ, and share in His suffering, at His very deepest point of suffering in His moments of separation from the Father on the Cross--- and to embrace Him so deeply that she lost all consciousness of His presence in her life as He allowed her to share in His sufferings--- and to be willing to wait "for all eternity" for Him to return to her (even though she had the deepest faith that He had never really left her). I am undone by how filled with Him she was and how much of eternal value that He accomplished thru her surrender to Him and thru the agonizing ways that He allowed her to share in His sufferings. Truly she must have a place seated very close to Him in heaven--- a place given by the Father that even the Apostles could not aspire to… What a supernaturally brave prayer--- that she be permitted to love Jesus as no one had ever loved Him before….. I understand both, what the Lord permitted and her complete sacrifice in surrendering to Him…. There is no darkness as completely dark as what Christ suffered on the Cross in His separation from the Father…. For Him to allow her to share in that, and for her to willingly walk in that darkness for decades…… I am completely astonished by that! Truly He answered her prayer and she was allowed to love Him in a way that no human being had ever been allowed to love Him….. Truly the intimacy between them, and her willingness to be so completely crucified with Him and share in His darkest moments--- must have been a blessing to His sacred heart that none of us can even imagine. How I wish that I could be like her when I grow up!
I can only relate to her experience on the most superficial of levels--- thru some travailing prayer that the Lord allowed me to experience for about 2 months in Sept & Oct of 2007. He allowed me to share, some, in His sufferings on the Cross and in Gethsemane. The pain was beyond description and I do not know how I could have tolerated it for more than 2 months. I was never, at any point, courageous enough to ask Him to allow me to share in the moments that He was separated from the Father on the cross. I thought that I would surely die if I tasted that for even a split second. I do not know how she stood it for decades….. How completely dependent upon Him she must have been--- how purely she must have walked in & by the power of the grace that He gave her. How much He accomplished in the world, and in His eternal Kingdom, thru her sharing in His suffering and walking so closely with Him. She was truly His bride….
I want to be like that, but I am so afraid of the pain and of the constant dying…. I am so cowardly, but how I long to be that close to Jesus and walk with Him that intimately! How I long to love Him that completely! How I wish that He would empty me so completely that I might be even more completely filled with Him and transformed into His image! I am so cowardly and she was so brave…. So brave--- with a raw courage so much like His on the Cross. Her sacrificial love for Him inspires me to want to open myself up to the pain of sharing in His sufferings once again…..
I think that all Christians are called to share in the sufferings of Jesus Christ, so that we may "share in His glory" as well. He transforms us deeply, and ever more deeply into His perfect image, when we open ourselves to sharing in His suffering.
Contrary to what certain televangelists would have you believe, our walk with Him is not about achieving perfect happiness and contentment on this side of the veil. Our walk with Him is not about becoming materially prosperous. Our walk with Him is about death, and continuing to die to ourselves as long as we walk this mortal path. Our walk with Him is about coming to love Him above all things, in a way that we are not capable of loving Him under our own strength. How perfectly dependant upon Him we must learn to be. How His strength is made perfect in our weakness.
I aspire to even a tiny drop of the love that Mother Teresa had for the Lord. She, who could not sense the presence of her beloved God for decades, vowed to pour out "her last drop of blood" in her relentless love for the lost and her service to Him. She walked for decades in an agony of perceived seperation from the Living God and still vowed to "wait for Him for all eternity" to return to her. What astonishing depths of faith and love. What astonishing things the Living God can accomplish thru our surrender to Him!