Hans Urs von Balthasar and Mother Teresa’s "Dark Night of the Soul"

against the grain

The Swiss theologian may not have had Mother Teresa in mind when he wrote this, but I couldn’t help but think of the recent media flap spurred by Time magazine (Mother Teresa’s Crisis of FaithTime August 23, 2007) and disgruntled atheist Christopher Hitchens (Teresa, Bright and DarkNewsweek August 19, 2007):

Active faith means following Jesus; but Jesus’ mission leads him on a course from heaven deeper and deeper into the world of sinners, until finally on the Cross he assumes, in their stead, their experience of distance from God, even of abandonment by God,a nd thus of the very loss of that lucid security promised to the “proven” faithful. This paradox must be borne; and from the Christian point of view the juxtaposition of temporal moments — of hours, days, years — exists not least for the purpose of rendering possible the sequence of these seemingly…

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