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September 19, 2007

Faith without feelings

John Fischer on Mother Teresa:

We should not be surprised. Mother Teresa’s life and ministry was always a stark contrast to the prevailing Western culture that embraced her as its unlikely spiritual icon. So shouldn’t it also be true that in her recent spiritual autopsy, the torment of her soul would be uncovered? Apparently nowhere can we find a soft spot in this woman’s faith. In a world where feelings are the predominant measure of personal worth, Teresa learned to believe without them. . . .

Further investigation reveals a woman whose determination to believe in spite of what she felt carried her through the dark night of the soul in a night that never saw the dawn. Mother Teresa finally concluded that this emptiness was a part of her cross to bear. Jesus told Thomas, who doubted His resurrection until he saw, heard, and touched the risen Savior, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

I wonder, in light of the demands of our current pleasure-oriented culture, if this could also mean, “Blessed are those who believe without feeling?” If so, then Mother Teresa was truly the patron saint of faith without feelings.

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I finally ordered this book today after literally reading dozens of articles about it. Of course, none of my local bookstores have it but...that's another story.

I'm excited to read about Mother Teresa's faith without feelings because, I have to admit, that I normally don't really "feel" God. There are times when I do, but mostly I don't. It says a lot about Mother Teresa's faith for her to be able to keep believing and - better yet - keep living her faith without really feeling God's presence in her life.

I agree with the author of the Breakpoint article when he says modern churches are too busy trying to evoke feelings instead of faith. Or, perhaps a better way to phrase it is, churches send confusing messages about what faith is. It's not a feeling. I've been convicted on this for a while: it's a choice.

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