Suffering Absence in Hope of Presence
In an earlier post I recommended Benedict XVI’s Encyclical, Spe Salvi, for Advent reading. But it is (in the Augustinian sense) a “weighty” and lengthy document.
In the meantime, one could hardly do better than meditate on John O’Callaghan’s lovely reflection in the current Commonweal: “Her Dark Night.” Here is the passage that most struck me:
Faith, in the sense of fidelity, is neither emotional stability nor an
attitude to a set of propositions. It is an adherence of the will to
some good; it is constancy. No one has claimed that Teresa of Calcutta
ever ceased to adhere to the object of her faith, whatever her mood,
whatever her doubts. On the contrary, there is ample evidence that she
stood fast from the day God first bound her to himself. The depth of
Mother Teresa’s sense of abandonment would seem to be a measure of her
love-and of the strength of her initial union with God. From those to
whom much has been given, much is demanded. It is no judgment on those
of us to whom God has not granted such a sense of union that his
absence doesn’t cause us to suffer as much as it caused her to suffer.
But it may be a judgment on us if, in our industriousness and
distraction, we do not feel that absence at all.
I suppose the Pope would only add: “faith, in the sense of hope.” In such hope we find salvation: the promise of presence.