Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Indian bishop defends Mother Teresa's questioned spirituality

From the Bishop of Calcutta.
ndian bishop defends Mother Teresa's questioned spirituality

By Anto Akkara
Kolkata, India, 11 September (ENI)--A media frenzy based on the supposed
spiritual emptiness in the life of Mother Teresa, made public in some of her
recently published letters, derives from a lack of spirituality, says Roman
Catholic Archbishop Lucas Sirkar of Calcutta.

"Those who are questioning the faith of the Mother have no idea of what is
spiritual life," Sirkar told Ecumenical News International during an interview
in his office on 5 September on the 10th anniversary of the death of Mother

The collection of letters between Mother Teresa and her confessors and superiors
over a period of more than 60 years is contained in a book, "Mother Teresa: Come
Be My Light". The U.S. news magazine Time recently published excerpts from the

The Time report said the letters showed that during the last decades of her
life, Mother Teresa, who was known as "the saint of the gutters" felt no
presence of God.

One letter from 1979 has her writing to a spiritual confidant, "Jesus has a very
special love for you ... as for me, the silence and emptiness is so great that I
look and do not see."

Still, Archbishop Sirkar noted, "The more you move forward in the path to
saintliness or holiness, the more you have to struggle against that which is not
holy." He noted, "Unfortunately, those who have raised the issue have no
understanding of spiritual or sacramental life."

Sirkar added, "Many are weak in their religious life and are not able to grasp
the feelings the Mother has expressed in her letters."

During a memorial Mass on the 10th anniversary of Mother Teresa's death,
Archbishop Sirkar in a homily hailed her "deep faith". He said this enabled the
nun "to dedicate herself to God" and "to give until it hurts" in the service of
the poor and the dying.

Born in Skopje in what is now the Republic of Macedonia, Mother Teresa came to
India in 1929 as a Loreto nun after receiving training in Ireland. She began to
work among the poor, lonely and dying in 1950, and founded the Missionaries of
Charity congregation to serve them.

"The church is not disappointed by these letters at all," asserted Archbishop
"This [controversy] is a creation of the media."

Sister Nirmala, Mother Teresa's successor and superior general of the
Missionaries of Charity, which has over 4800 nuns and 700 novices working in 134
countries, told ENI, "This is a trial only few souls go through. It happens when
God enters their hearts in a very powerful way." She said, "The light is so
strong and the human capacity is so less. What happens when you look at the
blazing sun? You are blinded. It is like that." [468 words]

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1 comment:

Mac said...

Well indeed, but really what is the big deal? It was St Augustine of Hippo, was it not, who said, "Hope not without doubting; doubt not without hoping"? (Or is that a bumper sticker I saw somewhere?)