I’m just getting around to some thoughts about Mother Teresa’s well-publicized crisis of faith. Hey, we can all have doubts, and it is healthy and Biblical to examine our faith. But her doubts did seem to be rather extended and deep.
The letters, many of them preserved against her wishes (she had requested that they be destroyed but was overruled by her church), reveal that for the last nearly half-century of her life she felt no presence of God whatsoever — or, as the book’s compiler and editor, the Rev. Brian Kolodiejchuk, writes, “neither in her heart or in the eucharist.”
That absence seems to have started at almost precisely the time she began tending the poor and dying in Calcutta, and — except for a five-week break in 1959 — never abated. Although perpetually cheery in public, the Teresa of the letters lived in a state of deep and abiding spiritual pain.
Some folks grandstanded on her doubts or let her struggles create doubts in themselves. After all, if such a passionate and giving person as her had doubts, where does that leave the rest of us?
She did many great things and her faith may have driven her to that. I always loved how she got in the faces of President Clinton et al for their pro-abortion stance. What could they say to her?
But in the grand scheme it is irrelevant whether she doubted a little or a lot or for a short time or a long time. What matters is if Jesus really lived, died and rose again.
Could her doubt have been fueled by her Catholic faith? I know many Catholics with a proper understanding of the doctrine of justification (i.e., we are saved by faith alone and not some faith/works combo), but the church itself could drive people like Mother Teresa to have doubts about her salvation. That’s because when you are trying to earn God’s favor by your good deeds it will always be an exhausting failure.
Thank God for grace!