Mother Teresa and St. Paul
“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church.”
Mother Teresa had reached the point where she could rejoice in her suffering and repeat the words of St. Paul: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church.” (Colossians 1:24 ) A clear expression of her new understanding of her hidden trial as a sharing in the redemptive mission of Jesus and a part of her mission for the poor emerges in the advice she gave to her sisters in the general letter she wrote in July 1961.
Try . . . to increase your knowledge of this Mystery of Redemption.—This knowledge will lead you to love—and love will make you share through your sacrifices in the Passion of Christ.
My dear children—without our suffering, our work would just be social work, very good and helpful, but it would not be the work of Jesus Christ, not part of the redemption.—Jesus wanted to help us by sharing our life, our loneliness, our agony and death. All that He has taken upon Himself, and has carried it in the darkest night. Only by being one with us He has redeemed us. We are allowed to do the same: All the desolation of the poor people, not only their material poverty, but their spiritual destitution must be redeemed, and we must have our share in it.—Pray thus when you find it hard—“I wish to live in this world which is so far from God, which has turned so much from the light of Jesus, to help them—to take upon me something of their suffering.”—Yes, my dear children— let us share the sufferings—of our poor—for only by being one with them—we can redeem them, that is, bringing God into their lives and bringing them to God. (From the book: Come Be My Light)
The day I wrote—I felt as if I could not suffer it any more.—But St. Paul has given me the answer in his epistle of Sexagesima Sund.
[Sunday]1 and your letter also—so I am happy to suffer it still more and also with a big smile.—If I ever become a saint—I will
surely be one of “darkness.” I will continually be absent from heaven—to light the light of those in darkness on earth.— ...On a particularly dark day, Mother Teresa had found light in the reading from 2 Corinthians 11:19–23, 12:1–9. She would have liked her darkness—the thorn in her life—to be removed, but like Saint Paul she grasped that in accepting it she could rely on the Lord’s assurance that “my grace is sufficient for you.”(Cf. 2 Corinthians 12:9. )(From the book: Come Be My Light) -
2 Corinthians 11:19–23, 12:1–9.
For you gladly put up with fools, since you are wise yourselves. For you put up with it if someone enslaves you, or devours you, or gets the better of you, or puts on airs, or slaps you in the face. To my shame I say that we were too weak! But what anyone dares to boast of (I am speaking in foolishness) I also dare. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. Are they ministers of Christ? (I am talking like an insane person.) I am still more, with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, far worse beatings, and numerous brushes with death. must boast; not that it is profitable, but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know someone in Christ who, fourteen years ago (whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows), was caught up to the third heaven. And I know that this person (whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows) was caught up into Paradise and heard ineffable things, which no one may utter. About this person I will boast, but about myself I will not boast, except about my weaknesses. Although if I should wish to boast, I would not be foolish, for I would be telling the truth. But I refrain, so that no one may think more of me than what he sees in me or hears from me because of the abundance of the revelations. Therefore, that I might not become too elated, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness." I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.
“Not I Live, but Christ Lives in Me”
Thank you for your understanding love.—I think your coming gave this gift. Thank you for explaining in life the poverty of Jesus—the mystery of God’s love. Yes, I want to be poor like Jesus—who being rich became poor for love of us.(Cf. 2 Corinthians 8:9.) Thank you for explaining so simply—Not I live but Christ lives in me.(Cf. Galatians 2:20.)
Thank you for praying for me.—I need to pray—I want to pray—I try to pray. God’s love for the Society has been so wonderful.—This year we have made 11 new foundations.—How great is His humility to allow Himself to be used in such a way. So many new tabernacles—so many daily Adoration hours. (Cf. Galatians 2:20.)
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me,” (Galatians 2:20.) St. Paul wrote. These words describe well the reality of Mother Teresa’s union with God: Christ was indeed living and acting in her, spreading His love in the world. She often stated, “God still loves the world through you and through me today,” and she was letting Him do it.(From the book: Come Be My Light)