Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:34-38)
Understanding the Faith of Blessed Mother through the Faith of Mother Teresa and Juan Diego
It has recently been revealed that, like so many other great saints, Mother Teresa experienced a painful and prolonged “dark night of the soul.” In the midst of her pain, she was able to find God
through her faith; not simply believing that God existed, but having a total reliance on God without insisting to see or to understand. This kind of unwavering faith, lived so well in Mother Teresa, finds its model in Our Lady. What did Our Lady do during the moments of darkness in her life? She trusted. She asked no questions, nor did she complain. She did not run away. She accepted the darkness, and never pulled back from the sword that was piercing her heart. She believed in spite of human appearances:
At the foot of the Cross, Our Lady saw only pain and suffering — and when they closed the tomb, she could not even see the Body of Jesus. But it was then that Our Lady’s faith, her Loving Trust and Total Surrender were greatest. We know that before, in Nazareth, Jesus could not work any miracles because they had no faith. Now, to work His greatest miracle — the Resurrection — He asks the greatest faith from His own Mother. And because she belonged completely to God in Loving Trust and Total Surrender, He could bring to us the joy of the Resurrection, and Mary would be the Cause of our Joy. (Mother Teresa)
Our Lady listened to one voice, God’s voice, instead of the thousand others, voices that spoke of terrible dangers, of impossible situations, of misunderstandings, persecution, rejection, injustice, and unspeakable pain that awaited Jesus in his Passion. She heard but one voice. In this she is not only our mother but our model. She wants to give birth to this same spirit of trust and surrender in us, even as she did for Mother Teresa. Mary’s humility at not insisting to know and understand gave her tremendous freedom, and gave God the freedom to use her.
Our Lady’s Magnificat, perhaps the most complete reflection of her spirit, is also a canticle to the spirit of Mother Teresa’s Society, and provides a pattern for our own attitudes of soul. The power of the Magnificat lies in Our Lady’s awareness of being so immensely loved by God, so specially chosen. She does not believe she deserves this. She knew that God had loved her in her lowliness (see Lk 1: 48). This experience of love leads Our Lady to spontaneous trust and praise and frees her from self-concern. But in this poetic psalm, Our Lady sings of God’s love not only for her, but for all. The majority of the Magnificat exults in what God has done for Israel and for all humanity from the dawning of time. This joy, based in trust and surrender, will follow Our Lady all the way to Calvary, carry her through her Son’s burial, and bring her steadfast to Easter Sunday.
The surest mark of a believing Christian is the freedom to praise, the freedom to sing one’s own Magnificat. Our Lady accompanies us in this process, and even where there is necessary loss or salutary pain, she turns all to joy. She frees our spirit to write our own Magnificat with the lines of our lives, frees us from complaint to live in praise. She lends us her heart that we might live her spirit. Just as Mother Teresa radiated joy in the midst of pain, so too we can radiate the joy of Our Lady’s spirit to all with whom we come in contact. May the title Mother Teresa gave to Our Lady, the fruit of her constant experience in her company, become our experience as well: Immaculate Heart of Mary, Cause of our Joy, lend us your heart.
- Fr. Joseph Langford MC. “Mother Teresa: In the Shadow of Our Lady”