The Revelation of Mother Teresa
Ten years ago, September 4th, Mother Teresa died. Her death was overshadowed by Diana’s which had occured just a week or so beforehand. It was as if we couldn’t sustain so much loss or grief.
Now we discover that Mother Teresa had doubts; serious, lifelong doubts about the existence, presence, and assurance of God. She reminds me of John Wesley. Wesley was plagued by doubt, we often say, until he had his heart strangely warmed at Aldersgate. Yet if we read Wesley closely, we discover that he continued to struggle with the same doubt that plagued Mother Teresa.
My 91-year-old “mother,” a longtime admirer of Mother Teresa’s and a woman of great faith herself, was initially devastated by this news. Now it has settled into a sadness that she would have to live with such doubt and darkness throughout her life and work.
Many have said that it will make her not only a “saint” in regards to her works but also her interior life; her letters now reveal far more to us than the actions that we associate with her. Others like Christopher Hitchens, an atheist, has a field day with her doubt. Her doubt, he suggests in his comments in Time Magazine, means that her life was meaningless; a contradiction to her words. Was it hypocrisy? Or ultimate faith?
What lessons do we learn from this new revelation about Mother Teresa?
How does it touch you? And your faith?
How have you shared it with others? (Has it been an opportunity to talk with those who don’t go to church or even believe in God?)