Friday, August 24, 2007

MOTHER TERESA: SKEPTIC?

The release of personal writings from Mother Teresa have caused controversy over the faith of the woman beatified, and soon to be sainted, by the Catholic Church:
Mother Teresa, who died in 1997 and was beatified in record time only six years later, felt abandoned by God from the very start of the work that made her a global figure, in her sandals and blue and white sari. The doubts persisted until her death.

The nun’s crisis of faith was revealed four years ago by the Rev. Brian Kolodiejchuk, the postutalor or advocate of her cause for sainthood, at the time of her beatification in October 2003. Now he has compiled a new edition of her letters, entitled, "Mother Teresa: Come be My Light," which reveals the full extent of her long “dark night of the soul.”

“I am told God lives in me — and yet the reality of darkness and coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul,” she wrote at one point. “I want God with all the power of my soul — and yet between us there is terrible separation.” On another occasion she wrote: “I feel just that terrible pain of loss, of God not wanting me, of God not being God, of God not really existing.”

Are these the understandable doubts of someone working in the midst of great poverty and suffering or are they indicative of something more?

1 comment:

Tertium Quid said...

Alan,

I commented on this on my blog.

http://burketokirk.blogspot.com/2007/09/mother-teresas-dark-night-of-soul.html


Dinesh D'Souza discusses Mother Teresa and the problems all Christians have with believing in faith. Have any of the critics read Hebrews 11 and 12? (Hat tip- Tiber Jumper)

More here from Tiber Jumper.

Here is the original article in TIME by David Van Biema about Fr. Brian Kolodiejchuk's Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light, a compilation of letters. The article itself is quite balanced. Yes, it quotes Christopher Hitchens, the village atheist of the English-speaking world. But the letters themselves speak up for the saint. Ultimately, she bore a spiritual stigmata, that is, the darkness that Christ felt when he cried: "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsakeneth me?"

'For all that she had expected and even craved to share in Christ's Passion, she had not anticipated that she might recapitulate the particular moment on the Cross when he asks, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" The idea that rather than a nihilistic vacuum, his felt absence might be the ordeal she had prayed for, that her perseverance in its face might echo his faith unto death on the Cross, that it might indeed be a grace, enhancing the efficacy of her calling, made sense of her pain. Neuner would later write, "It was the redeeming experience of her life when she realized that the night of her heart was the special share she had in Jesus' passion." And she thanked Neuner profusely: "I can't express in words — the gratitude I owe you for your kindness to me — for the first time in ... years — I have come to love the darkness."'


There are all kinds of ways TIME could have messed this one up and belied its founder, Henry Luce, the son of American missionaries in China as well as his Catholic convert wife Clare Boothe Luce. It think, as usual, the commentary on the commentary will be worse than anything in the original article.

TQ