Yet Jesus tells us that we're to shine, to be permanently on fire with the Holy Spirit. Elsewhere we're told that the just, the wise, the holy shine like stars in the sky. But what if we are so filled with an inner darkness that we feel as if there's no light left that we can give?
There's a Light that shines in every darkness: Jesus. Jesus is the Light That the darkness cannot and will not ever overcome. Even when we may be filled with an inner darkness - because of depression, disease, stress - this does not mean that we cannot radiate light. Jesus is the Light we radiate - always. Humility is recognizing that we are instruments of God's Peace, Love, Pardon, Joy, Understanding, Light, and Life. Jesus shines into the world through us! If Jesus ISN'T shining through us, with us, and in us, it's because we've allowed the light of our faith to dim and become absorbed with our own problems.
Even those great saints who have had dark nights of the soul - times when they felt abandoned, God seemed absent, and they received no consolation from Him - have still radiated God's Light and Joy because their faith stayed strong, and grew stronger, purified in the fiery furnace of their great spiritual suffering.
Mother Teresa worked tirelessly for almost fifty years with the destitute, ill, orphaned, and dying in India. In 1950, she founded the Missionaries of Charity to help her work. She had a vision of Jesus, in which He asked her to found her Missionary Order, and she received permission to do so. Almost immediately after she founded her Order, she entered into a dark night of the soul which lasted almost the entire fifty years of her ministry.
In an interview, Mother Teresa referred to her spiritual torment, saying "As for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great that I look and do not see, listen, and do not hear." The One Whom she loved most in the world, the One to whom she had felt so close, seemed to have withdrawn from her so totally that she no longer could experience His Presence and love.
Yet Mother Teresa continued to shine with a radiant light and joy. In 1996, she was made an honorary citizen of the United States. In 2010, the U.S. Postal Service issued a Mother Teresa stamp to honor the honorary citizen who believed deeply in the innate worth and dignity of humankind. Mother Teresa's smile ignites the stamp! She herself said once "Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love."
Perhaps she, who was so devoted to the Crucified Christ, was allowed to experience Christ's own dark night of the soul on the cross, when he cried "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?" Perhaps she was allowed to experience the spiritual pain of abandonment to better serve those who live without hope and love.
Mother Teresa's Daily Prayer is a prayer to always radiate the Light of Christ. May we live in the fiery spirit of her prayer!
MOTHER TERESA'S DAILY PRAYER:
"Dear Jesus, help me spread Thy fragrance everywhere I go. Flood my soul with Thy spirit and love. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of Thine. Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Thy Presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus. Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as You shine, so as to shine to be a Light to others."