Monday, February 04, 2008

In Defense of Mother Teresa

I admit to not knowing much about the life of Mother Teresa; at least, not more than people generally know. But I think that people who assail her faith because of the confessions in her diary are doing her a disservice.

It's easy to do that, you know. There she says life was like a living hell, and that her smile was a mask, that she was lost: "In my own soul, I feel the terrible pain of this loss. I feel that God does not want me, that God is not God and that he does not really exist."

But let's remember where she wrote this: in her diary. It was a private communication, not meant for public consumption. Good heavens, I wonder what people would think of me if all my private communications were made public.

Her struggle reminds me, actually, of Luther's. Even quite post-Reformation he is known to have had bouts of severe depression, anguish, anfechtungen. So was he a lost soul too, then?

Or are all such struggles indications of a truly lively faith which wrestles with the devil from time to time?

I think that we will do well to look at her public words (and deeds), her confession of faith in Jesus. While I seriously doubt I'd believe everything she wrote (as I said, I'm no Mother Teresa expert), I think we can safely say call her an ardent believer in Christ.

Or do we want to second-guess her in ways none of us would want others to second-guess us?

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