“God doesn’t require us to succeed, he only requires that you try.” – St. Teresa of Calcutta

Today is the Feast Day for St. Teresa of Calcutta, also known as Mother Teresa, founder of the Missionaries of Charity. She lived a life of service and, after receiving from Jesus a “call within a call,” she proceeded to serve the poorest of the poor and to show us all in our modern age what true servant leadership looks like.

Yet we now know that this amazing woman of God suffered for many years from what we call a “dark night of the soul.” It was many, many nights and days that she endured this emptiness, this longing to feel God’s presence. She prayed for it, longed for it, thirsted like someone in the desert for far too long, and yet God did not respond.

I read some thoughts on her situation recently and the writer chose, I think quite rightly, to focus on the love that Mother Teresa embodied by her actions and her mission. It prompted me, though, to consider other graces she was given and so generously shared.

Because of St. Teresa’s unrelenting desire to love despite the darkness, she is also a great example of faith. And hope. Faith cannot see. Hope does not despair. I’ve read her journal. She begged God to bring light back to her darkness. But He did not answer. Still she continued with her back breaking labor for the least in society. Despair would not have been able to do that. She continued to be Jesus for others. Only faith could do that. She was a beautiful soul who personified love. I just had to bring in the other theological virtues because I think she exemplified them all. But, of course, “the greatest of these is love.”

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