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"In the evening of life we shall be judged by love." (St. John of the Cross)

For all we know, this may be the day ... And for all we know, we may not be sure that we do love.

That is because real love for God and His people is so rooted in faith ... and faith is a dark light.

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta's letters are now published, letters in which she reveals the interior struggle she had to follow God in dark faith. It seemed that God had abandoned her after she had determined to leave her convent in Calcutta and serve Him in the poor on the streets of the city. She writes, "Lord, my God, who am I that You should forsake me? The child of your Love ... and now become as the most hated one ... the one You have thrown away as unwanted ... Unloved ... where is my Faith -- even deep down right in there is nothing but emptiness and darkness."

Despite her feelings of desolation, she saw the fruits of her love in the vocations that she inspired and the thousands that she served.

Often we do not see any fruit of our love. St. Therese did not; the fruits came after her death. Yet, in the greatest darkness, she remained firm in her faith that God loved her and that she loved Him ... when all the feeling was dead. For eighteen months, 'in the tunnel,' in the darkness, she underwent the trial of faith. "If you only knew," she said to her sister, "the frightful thoughts that plague me! Pray hard for me not to listen to the devil as he tries to make believe his many lies." She went on to say that she never argued with these dark thoughts. "I endure them of necessity but even while having them, I never stop renewing my acts of faith." "If you only knew the darkness into which I have been flung. I don't believe in eternal life; I think, after this life there will be nothing more. Everything has vanished for me." But

she said afterwards, and here is the point: "All I have left is love."

We have only today to love. Looking back at yesterday's losses, failures, sins, disappointments, etc. freezes the heart and we sink into sadness, depression, and even despair. Looking into the future is only the fearful unknown. We have only the grace of today to lean on God in trust and to help others bear their burden. This takes great strength of mind and is perfect self-denial: not to wander into the past or the future mentally where we lose ourselves and our minds with it.

This dark suffering causes a great longing for God ... "a longing for You greater than life itself." (Prayer from the 21st Sunday of the year)

We must, many times a day, remember: Let nothing trouble you, let nothing frighten you. All things are passing. God never changes. Patience obtains all things. Nothing is lacking to him who possesses God. God alone suffices. (St. Teresa of Avila)