People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
The verses below reportedly were written on the wall of Mother Teresa’s home for children in Calcutta, India, and are widely attributed to her.
A Personal Anecdote
First let me say I was born a Catholic, perhaps a little of a misnomer, no one is born having a particular Religion, or Faith, our parents give us that as a fact of life, few parents would choose a different Faith for their children like in the Gandhi movie where an individual full with repentance feelings after killing a Muslim, Gandhi recommends for him to raise the child of an orphan from Muslim background as his, but not in his own Faith but as a Muslim, as an act of atonement for his crime.
Nevertheless I was a sort of precocious child and from an early age I start to question my Faith, and figure it was my own teachers who provoked me in to question that Faith being them Italian Francis Xavier missioners priest, not that they want me to change my Faith, however they provided me with the base of a solid education, that I will be grateful for life, but of my own inquisitive mind, and not doubt a germ of a rebellious nature typical of youth, combined with a curious disposition, and an skeptic character of mine. Let me just say that by the time I was twelve years of age, I no longer considered myself a Catholic, and even if at this time kind of smile at my early change of mind, and now understand the Faith of my parents far better than I did then, never return to the fold of the Catholic church, as a matter of fact do not think Spirituality as an Institution it’s the way for me, whatever Religion it may be.
A picture of my eldest brother, and me on our first communion at six, or seven years of age with our Godfather, Father observing in the background the man with the black tie by the doorway.
Now the anecdote; a brother of a close friend of mine interviewed Mother Teresa for the radio, a few years before she died in 1997, and despite of him being a Catholic he still hold reservations about the church condemning birth control, and from all the questions he could choose to ask her, having a short chance to talk to her, he could only make one question to her, he picked that one, asking her opinion about it.
Of course Mother Teresa a good Catholic she was, cited 1968, Pope Paul VI landmark encyclical letter Humanae Vitae (Latin, “Human Life”), which reemphasized the Church’s constant teaching that it is always intrinsically wrong to use contraception to prevent new human beings from coming into existence.
My brother’s friend, naive as he was in those matters try to argue with her about it saying: “But Mother what about all those children who are born out of wedlock and live in poverty, and many are just abandoned, and thrown in to the streets with no help of anybody, by the thousands?”
Mother Teresa looking him on the eye and holding his hand said: “Do you know a child abandoned?”
He answered: “Well no, but I know there is many!”
Mother Teresa still holding his hand said: “Then what business it’s for you to question the church stance on these matters?”
My friend’s brother stammered something about the injustice of it. Mother Teresa smiling said: “Do not worry my son, whenever you find an abandoned child, if you can’t take care of him, bring it to me, I will take care of him, and that will take the worry out of your head.”
Releasing his hand, and walking away she still turn around and said: “Bring as many as you can find, I will take care of all of them!”
Now my friend’s brother despite being a Catholic didn’t like the answer Mother Teresa gave him, and had a poor opinion of her, I sort of smiled and said to him:
“I didn’t knew much about Mother Teresa to have an opinion about her, but now you have left no doubt in my mind Mother Teresa is a saint!”
Mother Teresa Critics
According to a paper written by three Canadian academics, Serge Larivée, Geneviève Chénard, and Carole Sénéchal, Teresa’s clinics received millions of dollars in donations, yet their conditions drew criticism from people disturbed by the shortage of medical care, systematic diagnosis, and necessary nutrition, as well as the scarcity of analgesics for those in pain;[ they said that “Mother Teresa believed the sick must suffer like Christ on the cross”. Some have argued that the additional money could have had transformative effects on the health of the poor by creating advanced palliative care facilities in the city. Abortion rights groups criticized her stance on abortion, while anti-abortion advocates praised her support of fetal rights.
One of Teresa’s most outspoken critics was the English journalist, literary critic and antitheist Christopher Hitchens, who wrote the extended essay The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice (1995) and wrote in a 2003 article, “This returns us to the medieval corruption of the church, which sold indulgences to the rich while preaching hell fire and continence to the poor. [Mother Teresa] was not a friend of the poor. She was a friend of poverty. She said that suffering was a gift from God. She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction.” He also accused her of hypocrisy for opting to receive advanced treatment for her heart condition.
Hitchens thought he was the only witness (Chatterjee, another with views antagonistic to Teresa, was also called) called by the Vatican to give evidence against Teresa’s beatification and canonization process, because the Vatican had abolished the traditional “devil’s advocate” role which fulfilled a similar purpose. Hitchens said that “her intention was not to help people”, and that she lied to donors about the use of their contributions. “It was by talking to her that I discovered, and she assured me, that she wasn’t working to alleviate poverty”, he said, “She was working to expand the number of Catholics. She said, ‘I’m not a social worker. I don’t do it for this reason. I do it for Christ. I do it for the church.
The Dark Night of the Soul
Analysing her deeds and achievements, John Paul II asked: “Where did Mother Teresa find the strength and perseverance to place herself completely at the service of others? She found it in prayer and in the silent contemplation of Jesus Christ, his Holy Face, his Sacred Heart. Privately, Mother Teresa experienced doubts and struggles over her religious beliefs which lasted nearly 50 years until the end of her life, during which “she felt no presence of God whatsoever”, “neither in her heart or in the Eucharist” as put by her postulator, the Rev. Brian Kolodiejchuk. Mother Teresa expressed grave doubts about God’s existence and pain over her lack of faith:
Where is my faith? Even deep down … there is nothing but emptiness and darkness … If there be God—please forgive me. When I try to raise my thoughts to Heaven, there is such convicting emptiness that those very thoughts return like sharp knives and hurt my very soul.
With reference to the above words, Kolodiejchuk (the official responsible for gathering the evidence for her sanctification) said he thought that some might misinterpret her meaning, but her faith that God was working through her remained undiminished, and that while she pined for the lost sentiment of closeness with God, she did not question his existence, and that she may have experienced something similar to what is believed of Jesus Christ when crucified who was heard to say “Eli Eli lama sabachthani?” which is translated to “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Kolodiejchuk drew comparisons to the 16th-century mystic St. John of the Cross, who coined the term the “Dark Night of the Soul”. Many other saints had similar experiences of spiritual dryness, or what Catholics believe to be spiritual tests (“passive purification”), such as Mother Teresa’s namesake, St. Therese of Lisieux, who called it a “night of nothingness.” The Rev. James Langford said these doubts were typical and would not be an impediment to canonization.
Teresa wrote many letters to her confessors and superiors over a 66-year period, most notably to Calcutta Archbishop Ferdinand Perier and a Jesuit priest, Celeste van Exem, who had been her spiritual adviser since the formation of the Missionaries of Charity. She had asked that her letters be destroyed, concerned that “people will think more of me—less of Jesus.” Despite this request, the correspondences have been compiled in Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light (Doubleday) In one publicly released letter to a spiritual confidant, the Rev. Michael van der Peet, she wrote, “Jesus has a very special love for you. [But] as for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great, that I look and do not see,—Listen and do not hear—the tongue moves [in prayer] but does not speak … I want you to pray for me—that I let Him have [a] free hand.”
Stations and States
The various stages of self-awareness on the Sufi path are known as ‘Maqamat’, or the ‘stations’, which are attainable through continuous spiritual practices and sincere efforts. However, ‘haal’ or ‘state’ can only happen by the Grace of God.
Rumi has described these stages poetically as: ‘Maqam’ is the (King’s) being alone with the bride while ‘haal’ is like unveiling of the beauteous bride.
To elaborate these stages further:
‘MAQAM’ represents a spiritual station, where the seeker finds him after sincerely treading the spiritual path for a while. With gradual polishing of the mirror of the heart through meditative exercises, he keeps on becoming aware of the spiritual subtleties behind the physical realm. With each breakthrough, he finds a new level of awareness. In this process, his previous level of awareness serves as the ‘Maqam’ where he becomes stationed till he moves on. Maqamat or Stations can also be perceived as the ascending rungs of the spiritual ladder. With continuous spiritual practices, a seeker ascends on this ladder. While moving from station to station, he may be touched by the special Grace or HAAL from time to time.
HAAL occurs spontaneously as a spiritual gift. While walking in the spiritual forest amidst pathways decorated with dancing trees and perfumed flowers, a soft cloud appears on the horizon, engulfs the seeker while quenching his spiritual thirst then moves on leaving him in a state of awe. In this state, a seeker neither expects what comes to him from the unseen world nor has the slightest idea about the nature of experience. He is simply taken over by an overwhelming compassionate power. It reflects a state, where a door opens out of nowhere and breeze from the garden of eternity surrounds the seeker and colours him with its perfume. A realm of ecstasy prevails due to unbearable display of beauty. This state of Hal comes and goes on its own. A seeker can never claim such a state due to its extraordinariness and his ordinariness. It always happens as a Grace.
Such stages are not some concrete milestones depicting progress on the Sufi path step by step rather reflects inner spiritual development. This is why; there exists no consensus among Sufi’s on the number and details of these stages.