The publication of these letters of Mother Teresa led to surprise amongst some at the realisation that she spent nearly the last fifty years of her life without any sensation of God’s presence, to the point of some calling her life hypocritical. This surprise fails to realise that the authentic Christian inner spiritual journey moves from creatures to union with Creator. Feelings, spiritual experiences, our ideas and images of God – these are all creatures.
In what is called the kataphatic tradition (the positive way) God is powerful like us – but more so: all powerful; loving – all loving; present – omnipresent; knowing – all knowing omniscient…
There is another tradition, called the apophatic tradition (the negative way) – more prevalent in the East than in the West, including, within Christianity, within our Eastern approach. The apophatic approach is that God is not like this, God is not like that. We have a well-known (Western) hymn that alludes to this:
Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
Nor wanting, nor wasting
We need to recover, renew, and spread the word about the apophatic approach.
What do you think?
As part of my ongoing rebuilding older sections of this site, I have reblogged some earlier posts in the spirit of Throwback Thursday. This is one of those.
- Helping Young People Know
that God is not a Thing (Part 2)
- Talk on the Eucharist
- 1 Timothy
- Saint Teresa of Calcutta