An Article on Mother Teresa

I just finished reading a very interesting article on Mother Teresa.  I was aware that Mother Teresa lived through a very dark night in her spiritual life, but recently revealled  correspondence between her and her spiritual directors showed just how great the night was.  To the article’s credit, it does mention John of the Cross’ spiritual doctrine, if only in passing.  Just as much–or more–time is devoted towards sources which mock modern day theists because some of their greatest saints had unbelievable doubts, often about whether or not God existed.

I find such opinions to be interesting, for they show an ignorance of Christianity and its history.  The early Church worshipped its monks and ascetics who gave up worldly goods and sought purification through mortification.  The Church of the middle ages claimed saints that voluntarily begged for their food and owned nothing.  John of the Cross speaks about the purifying role that suffering plays in a person’s spiritual growth.  In all centuries, we honor our martyrs, who gave their lives–often joyfully–for the sake of the Church.  And today, Mother Teresa and her Missionaries give up wordly possessions to help the poorest of the poor.  Other saints–St. Francis and St. Therese of Lisieux, for instance–suffering periods of doubt, feeling as if God wasn’t nearby. 

Maybe it’s just me, but I have come to expect that behind the great saints exists a suffering soul:  the greater the saint, the greater the suffering.  We suffer so as to emulate our Lord Jesus Christ, who suffered and died out of love for us.  The saints follow Christ, purifying themselves of a love for all earthly things in order to prepare their hearts for the only Good that can satisfy.

So why is the modern mind so shocked by Mother Teresa’s intense doubts and sufferings?  Why do the atheists quoted in the article foam at the mouth, saying that Mother Teresa demonstrates that if the greatest saints cannot believe, then no one can believe (of course, maybe its a rhetorical question to ask why a Hitchens would foam at the mouth, since such things come standard with the militant atheists.)  Let me just guarantee my readers:  the path to holiness has not changed.  The only thing that has changed is the modern human mind which rejects Christ and His Church.  Our saints have suffered, do suffer, and will evermore suffer until the end of days.  In fact, lesser Christians such as myself wish that God would grant them the grace to accept greater sufferings while simultaneously realizing that they are too weak to handle such trials. 

Mother Teresa’s suffering comes as a surprise only to those people who think Christians choose faith to make life easier, or to get a quick emotional high, to those who know not the basic claim of Christianity that salvation comes through the narrow way, the way of the Cross.  Mother Teresa is a saint not only for her exceptional work among the poor, but because she persisted in faith even through her trials.  She is exceptional because she had faith and walked confidently through her darkness, hoped through her own dispair, and loved though she felt not loved. 

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2 Comments on “An Article on Mother Teresa”


  1. […] Benedica a Cruce I just wrote a post about Mother Teresa, an article which pointed out the importance that suffering plays in the Christian life.  […]

  2. Peter Says:

    After reviewing the secular article re Mother Teresa, I came to realize that the woman had a greater faith than what I already thought she had. I am profoundly humbled by this woman.


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