Monday, February 4, 2013

Quid est veritas? Quid est caritas?

I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world ~Mother Teresa

What do I make of Mother Teresa- a woman who writes this quote while, in her heart, is suspicious of its hipocracy:
"The smile," she writes, is "a mask" or "a cloak that covers everything." Similarly, she wonders whether she is engaged in verbal deception. "I spoke as if my very heart was in love with God — tender, personal love," she remarks to an adviser. "If you were [there], you would have said, 'What hypocrisy.'"

Christopher Hitchens professional atheist, has an explanation that is deeply seductive to me. "She was no more exempt from the realization that religion is a human fabrication than any other person, and that her attempted cure was more and more professions of faith could only have deepened the pit that she had dug for herself." 
How can some one be a love letter to the world from God, when one is not loved by God? It makes logic bend over backwards to think that God is just "testing" this woman by his absence. In real human relationships, Fathers who are absent are not just testing their children, they are bad fathers. Good fathers don't just send checks, they make their love known by their presence. How can one be a love letter to the world, without receiving God's love herself?  Look at the world and know, absence of love begets absence of love. Absence of the Father begets absence of love in the son and daughter. 

So what should I make of an absent God? Should I continue to profess faith- digging deeper into a hole of self contradiction, or should I finally take Hitchens' road, and admit that God's absence from us personally proves his absence from the universe?
There is darkness along both paths: Mother Teresa lived her whole life in the deep torment of giving her life to a God who was not there. Yet Hitchens' way is no lighter: he has no love to offer- only a the sort of truth that flogs the memory of one of the best women of our time. His logic is easy, much cleaner and simpler than the faith of a woman who God rejected and who kept on loving.
But there is something that stirs me deeply in thinking of a woman, rejected by God, walking into the gutters of Calcutta, picking up boil covered people, rejected by the world and eaten by flies-- and kissing them, bandaging them, holding their dirty hands. What if she had stopped professing faith and joined Hitchens in his truth? Love would have stopped.
Which road is better? Curse God and die?
Or profess faith, and let love come from nothing.
The proof of God is tucked into the mystery of the cross that Mother Teresa knew so well. Jesus loved without being loved- "my God my God, why have you forsaken me?" But he still died for us... and his Father.
Love that flows out from nothing is a better proof of God's presence than material world coming "ex nihilo" (from nothing).  Hitchens' truth cannot be true, because it has not life- because his truth did not lead him into the gutter to seek out the lost, and bring them into his home, and putting a cold cloth on their feverish foreheads. 

What is truth? How should we find truth?
Do not begin with the head. Begin with this: "
Love is the way, the truth, and the life."

Can I love like God? "Ex nihilio?"


  1. I was reading in my devotional this morning and they quoted Mother Teresa from "Come Be My Light", and another passage of hers from "A Life For God". You may have read them, since you love Mother Teresa, but just in case...

    "For the first time in this 11 years -- I have come to love the darkness.--For I believe now that it is a part, a very, very small part of Jesus' darkness and pain on earth."

    "Suffering has to come because if you look at the cross, he has got his head bending down -- he wants to kiss you -- and he has both hands open wide -- he wants to embrace you. He has his heart opened wide to receive you. Then when you feel miserable inside ... Suffering, pain, sorrow, humiliation, feelings of loneliness, are nothing but the kiss of Jesus, a sign that you have come so close that he can kiss you. ... Suffering is a gift from God. It is between you and Jesus alone inside."

  2. Great post! "What if she had stopped professing faith and joined Hitchens in his truth? Love would have stopped." Fave part!