“The smile is a mask or a cloak that covers everything. I spoke as if my very heart was in love with God, a tender personal love. If you were there, you would have said, ‘What hypocrisy.’”
Faith defined as “complete trust or confidence in someone or something” do you have it?
For years I thought the sharing of Mother Teresa’s personal letters, the ones she explicitly asked to be destroyed in her will, was a grave injustice to a woman who had done so much for humanity. Having read excerpts, I still think it unfair but find myself grateful to have been able to read them and to see even she had a crisis of faith.
In hard times, people often seek a reason; we ask “why?” or “how did this happen?”—we seek clarity. Perhaps what we should be seeking is not clarity but rather….use faith
Do you have faith? Every day? Sometimes? Faith in people or in God? Or more like me, do you lose faith continually and pray you don’t lose it forever? When things are going well, it’s very (VERY) easy to have faith and say, “God is good, people are good, love is good, Mother Earth is good—let’s go plant a tree.” But when times are bad, this is more my rhetoric: “Is there a God? Is humanity awful? Boy, that tree sure is a pain in the ass to water.”
It is a blessing that Mother Teresa believed enough in Jesus, because in his name, emulating his teachings, she brought comfort to thousands living in conditions that we can’t possibly imagine. Yet her faith in that same Lord was lacking at times, and this caused her much pain.
Whether it is in God or in people, we all lose faith. Some recover it—it’s a little broken or badly damaged, but it’s there—and thank goodness because that faith will be necessary to get us through our next struggle. And let me promise you with undue certainty, there will be a next struggle, and a next.
December is a good month to rediscover faith. Yes, I am asking you to take the time to restore your faith—be it in God or in humanity—if it has been lost, or strengthen it if it has been weakened. For me, I have faith in the people around me, my community, my church, and my God. That faith fosters me through my good and bad times, but it certainly is not constant. I doubt daily; hourly; honestly, by the minute. Not even Mother Teresa possessed blind faith. Perhaps that’s the point: Faith is not blind, but it’s not clear either.
My December prayer for you is that you find faith when you lose it, because you will lose it. When you do, I hope you search for it like you would search for your mother’s silver after a house fire. When you find your faith every time after losing it, understand that like that silver, your faith will lack the clarity it once had. So you will need to dust off the soot and polish it, because, damaged or not, you will need that faith to help you through the next fire or disease or disappointment that you face. When you face a situation that causes you fear and suffering, I hope, like Mother Teresa, you recognize that “clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and must let go of,” so that you can find faith—faith in God, in people, or simply faith that better times are ahead. Quite simply, this month I pray that during times when you have no answers, you have faith.
Kelly Martinsen, Publisher