Sunday, August 26, 2007

I Have A Different Name For It

Where is my Faith -- even deep down right in there is nothing, but emptiness and darkness -- My God -- how painful is this unknown pain -- I have no Faith."
-- Mother Teresa

We learned this week that Mother Teresa suffered all her life from being "tormented by questions of faith." Here's the Washington Post story.

Among the writings that indicate this torment, she says to a spiritual counselor in a letter: "Jesus has a very special love for you ... [but] as for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great, that I look and do not see, — Listen and do not hear — the tongue moves [in prayer] but does not speak ... I want you to pray for me — that I let Him have [a] free hand."

From Bill Mahr to The Daily Show, the news has been fodder for jokes and commentary all week.

I have a different name for what Mother Teresa suffered from. In a narrow sense you could call it "tormented by questions of faith," but in a broader human sense it's called clinical depression.

In all the news coverage, plenty of theologians and religious people have been quoted. But what about a doctor?

She lived among utter poverty and witnessed human misery on a daily basis for decades -- all the while suffering a profound depression (with no Prozak or Celexa to pop) -- and yet she was able to carry on publicly so visibly and passionately.

How extraordinary.

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