STATIONS VS STATES, THE CASE OF MOTHER TERESA AND HIS CRITICS

The Stages of The Statations

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.

 

Jesus, Capi, me, behind Peimbert, and the men in the suit background possibly Father

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 holding a child

 

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.

Christopher Hitchens

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.”

tumblr_o36pbxJt1b1sqba70o1_1280

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.

Shrine of Sachal Sarmast

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.

Dhamal

 

Conclusion

I never cared much for the late English journalist, literary critic and antitheist Christopher Hitchens a controversial figure to say the least, after describing himself a socialist, a Marxist and anti totalitarian, made a turncoat move to the far right,  joining and supporting with his jingoistic tirades in the news media the second Bush invasion of Iraq, this actions left no sympathies in me for his opinions, as for his criticism of Mother Teresa, I question how much he was motivated by his personal atheistic beliefs, and personal complacency, as my friend’s brother, and many others, who having an opinion, on every  subject imaginable, and supposedly worrying about multiple things, still without moving a finger to do anything about it! On that respect any opinion you may express, in my view has little value whatsoever, and more when you do not know nothing about it, specially when you are far from being a saint, yourself!

Another close friend of mine a rabid atheist, in a very recent conversation, a few days ago, or I should said argument, he carried against some nice young Jewish Lubavitcher followers just because he can’t imagine any rational being to posses Faith, and belong to a Religion, who just happen to ask us if we were Jewish, immediately my friend engaged them on an argument about their Faith, for quite some time, one of the nice young men mentioned in his arguments that his father run a kitchen for the homeless in another country where he serves 70,000 meals a year to the poor, my friend after they left, dared even to question the reasons this person may have in doing this, fed up with his reasoning I said: “Stop it, as far as I am concern he feeds 69.999 people more a year, save my occasional guest, than I do, and probably more than you do as well, so you have no right to question his motives!

Errare humanum est, sed perseverare diabolicum:

‘To err is human, but to persist (in the mistake) is diabolical.

Mother Teresa was a human being, maybe she did a lot of mistakes like we all do, but she worked tirelessly most of her life helping the downtrodden, and that in my opinion, it is to have achieved a higher Spiritual Station, regardless if she never experienced bliss, or ecstasy like some saints do, the more merit to her since she only relied on Faith to sustain her, and to persist on her work despite her dark night of the soul.

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God Intoxication

I may write in a further post about Saints, Sadhus, Babas, Aghoris, and Holly men who become God intoxicated through meditation, singing, and dancing as Dervishes do, others they even smoke ganja, or drink herbal brews of a psychotropic nature, and acquire Ecstatic states, some briefly, others for  days, weeks, even months, some even years, but as we read above, bliss, ecstasy it’s a grace, or a gift if you wish, not really difficult to experience, the path to Godhead or Spiritual Realization comes  not in a single fashion, but in myriads of ways, some, or most I should add we do not know nothing about, so we can’t judge easy in matters of Spirit when we have no knowledge of it, but to reach a high Spiritual Station it’s what make a Saint great, not the states. In other words; Spiritually it’s not what you take, but what you give what it is important.

Naga Baba With Chilum Smoking Ganja

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About theburningheart

Blog: KoneKrusosKronos.wordpress.com
This entry was posted in Criticism, Grace, Inspiration, Mother Teresa, Personal Story, Religion, Saints, Spiritual States, Spiritual Stations, Spirituality, The Dark Night Of The Soul, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

53 Responses to STATIONS VS STATES, THE CASE OF MOTHER TERESA AND HIS CRITICS

  1. plainmama says:

    So beautiful and perfect lessons for every child of God.

  2. BERKANALUZ says:

    Ha sido usted muy certero en su entrada, permitiéndonos ver todos los aspectos de MADRE, aún sin usted estar de acuerdo, ha proporcionado información sobre lo que que percibió bueno y lo que se percibió malo en ella, eso se llama respeto y nos habla de que usted es un hombre noble,
    como usted mismo escribe es muy fácil criticar desde afuera, pero quien de nosotros estuvo para atender a un leproso y curar sus heridas abiertas y malolientes…muy buena su entrada desde mi humilde opinión…saludos

  3. “There are many paths to God/ess” as the old proverb and you say, and this is an excellent article elucidating some of those paths, thanks for sharing. I’m sure Mother Theresa experienced bliss and ecstacy, as with all the good work she did to help others through their suffering; she would have been blessed with much grace and moments of bliss to compensate for such pain! I think it is interesting to study after death- life between lives- case studies, such as those in Michael Newton’s book, Journey of Souls. All hynotherapists using such techniques to connect with the super-consciousness of individuals to study ‘in-between lives’ often as a way to help the individual release trauma, result in similar scenarios and settings, and every soul re-experiencing their connection to the oneness of the creator, experiences bliss, love and acceptance. I think that is why we are placed in these bodies in a dualistic plane, so that we can experience our own uniqueness within that oneness, to experience the limitations of the 3rd dimensional density and our bodies, where creation takes time and requires effort ( teaches us to be responsible for our creations) and to experience that separation from the oneness, with propels us forward on our own inner journeys to reconnect with the creator and everything once more! blessings, Bridget 🙂

    • theburningheart says:

      Bridget, we like and appreciate your comment, thank you for taking the trouble to let us know you enjoyed the post, and your views on the matter! 🙂

  4. Beautifully stated. Thank you for a most enlightening article.

  5. Well-written post – so lovely and wise.

  6. Christy B says:

    I think Mother Teresa did her best to help others and that anyone is capable of criticized. Just today I was thinking of how I try my best and in this huge online world people still sit behind their keyboards and write poisonous words to me about my writing. Never will a person be able to please everyone and that is something we must contend with. I found your anecdote to be quite telling of Mother Teresa’s ability to answer questions with heart and decisiveness, which are not always concepts that go hand in hand. Thank you for writing this article that is very thought provoking.

    • theburningheart says:

      Even the phrase: everyone is entitled to their own opinion it’s misleading, it should be you are entitled to believe in your head whatever you wish, but to express it, that’s a different story, no, you are not entitled to express an opinion if you don’t know what are you talking about, that’s why Pliny the elder Natural History: Sutor, ne ultra crepidam is a Latin expression meaning literally “Shoemaker, not beyond the shoe”, used to warn people to avoid passing judgment beyond their expertise, stick to what you know as Appeles corrected the shoemaker (sutor) who had approached the painter Apelles of Kos to point out a defect in the artist’s rendition of a sandal (crepida from Greek krepis), which Apelles duly corrected. Encouraged by this, the shoemaker then began to enlarge on other defects he considered present in the painting, at which point Apelles advised him that ne supra crepidam sutor iudicaret (a shoemaker should not judge beyond the shoe).

      How anybody dare to criticize you dear? I kind of smile, as I mentioned on my post: To err is human, but to persist (in the mistake) is diabolical. As humans we are plagued with weakness, and wickedness, it’s easy to open our mouths, or run our fingers through the keyboard and talk nonsense.Oh well as Mother Teresa advice: People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

      Thank you from the bottom of my heart Christy, I know from experience your work it’s Herculean, and therefore the more grateful we are in appreciating your effort to come here and encouraging us on our labor! 🙂

  7. natuurfreak says:

    Great post.Thanks for sharing.

  8. I don’t know anything about Haal and I think the religion is not important but to live in a religious way is! Thank you very much for this thought provoking post. Very best regards Martina

  9. Grant says:

    A fascinating post, thank you. “Let me just say that by the time I was twelve years of age, I no longer considered myself a Catholic…” what do you consider yourself today?

    • theburningheart says:

      Well, I consider myself Spiritual but not religious, but If you are really interested to know more about my Spiritual journey, you may check my post of November 2013 :
      MY VIEWS ON RELIGION, ATHEISM, BUDDHISM AND OTHER MANIFESTATIONS OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT, HOUSTON SMITH A LIFE ON RELIGION

      Thank you for visiting and commenting! 🙂

  10. LaVagabonde says:

    Thought-provoking as usual. Thank you.

  11. aruna3 says:

    In india,motherTeresa was most famauos n popular.she had sacrificed her life for poors,illed persons n to serve all humanity.her oppositer should stop talking rubbish.she was not a woman but Godess of humanity.

  12. aruna3 says:

    *to serve all human.

  13. kelleysdiy says:

    Beautiful Post! Thank you, I really enjoyed reading your article!!!

  14. Great post. I admire Mother Theresa and her work.

  15. lkwatts67 says:

    Thanks for your excellent review of St. Teresa! I love how you have intersected spiritual traditions to include initiatory stages of unfoldment that supercede religious doctrine!

    • theburningheart says:

      Well, there is very little knowledge about ecstatic conditions, and Sainthood,in the West, the Muslim Sufi call ecstasy as drunkenness and intoxication like those obtained through alcohol, or drugs, but it’s God’s intoxication, which it’s not bad, but denote Spiritual immaturity in the person experiencing those states. Meanwhile it’s considered that a Saint of a higher order does not become intoxicated by ecstasy, sort like few people who can hold their alcohol, and do not do stupid things while under the influence like most drunks do, there is people who can remain in ecstasy for years! And therefore outside normal consciousness. Traditionally, Jews have celebrated Purim by drinking a little extra wine at their Purim feast with friends, but generally speaking drinking it’s not tolerated by Muslims, even if in Christianity wine it’s used as a Sacrament, there is many passages in the Bible that condemn drunkenness.
      The idea is that ecstasy will be a natural state in Heaven, so you shouldn’t willingly look for it, is far more important to do deeds during your lifetime to be repaid in Heaven, than experiencing Heavenly blissful states during your lifetime, at least that’s the logic behind this. My opinion there is nothing wrong if you experience bliss during your lifetime, this can be an affirmation there is a heavenly realm within yourself, but not be fooled to believe this is a great Station.

      Thank you for your interest, and comment! 🙂 .

  16. lkwatts67 says:

    Shams Tabriz, I meant (spelling typo). Ecstasis as I understand its ancient meaning refers to “standing outside from the body.” 🙂

    • theburningheart says:

      I am pretty much acquainted with Rumi, now days who doesn’t? The number one sales poet in America, and very likely the World, however few know Shams-iTabrizi (Shams of Tabriz) who said: “If a man speaks, at that very moment I know him, and if he doesn’t speak, I’ll know him in three days.”
      As for the meaning of Ecstasies comes from the Greek: ἔκστασις which you correctly mention as standing outside from yourself. However I believe it’s a sort of an oxymoron since it’s the opposite to dive within yourself. 🙂

  17. Another interesting post. The pic of your brother and Holy Communion brought back my memories of mine and doing my CCD class’ for Confirmation.

    *Cat*

  18. theburningheart says:

    Thank you Catherine, I am glad to bring you good memories. 🙂

  19. There is only one way To God our Spiritual Father and that is through Jesus Christ His Son who is One with Him in The Godhead.

    I was an Atheist for almost 30 years after being Deceived as a young Teenager that I came from an Ape, I know now that is impossible and also without doubt the Reality of God, when you know the Truth it sets you free how blind and foolish are those who reject His Truth, they are indeed in deep darkness, Man’s wisdom can not substitute for God’s Wisdom..

    In Christ’s Name – Anne.

    • theburningheart says:

      I respect all Religions, and your right to believe Jesus Christ it’s the only way for you.

      As for others this may not be the case, for many reasons, most people profess the Religions their fathers gave them, and grew with, I believe God its there as well, like It’s everywhere too. Some people like to say: Have you ever seeing a crack, or a hole, in Its Creation?
      It’s has made everything perfect, we human are the ones who see imperfection everywhere because our ignorance.

      Thank you for commenting. 🙂

      • The imperfections Man sees are caused by Man or because of Man.

        This is what I know to be True……

        God said it!
        I believe it!
        That Settles it!
        But even if I didn’t believe it!
        God said it so that Settles it!

        God calls those who reject Him foolish because His reality is clearly seen in Creation, No Man has ever been able to create life from nothing, although Secular Scientists have tried for years but Scientists who are Christian don’t bother they know only God can create life.

        I respect others right to think what they want but not what they do and say that is in opposition to God’s Truth, I agree with God they are foolish.

        Blessings – Anne.

  20. theburningheart says:

    I got no problem with that, however all Religions have their Sacred words from God. As to which don’t that it’s only Men opinions.
    Blessings to you Anne 🙂

  21. johncoyote says:

    I agree with you. “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!”
    Thank you for sharing this. You are a amazing writer and storyteller.

  22. johncoyote says:

    Reblogged this on johncoyote and commented:
    Please read and enjoy the work of a talented writer.

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