Perfect Saints? Sept.4/16

Today, Mother Teresa is being canonized a saint. We still have the impression that this means the person is always loving, rarely negative, and always happy. Could we really relate to someone like this?  Teresa experiences the dark night of the soul ( see John of the Cross) for much of her adult life . Who among us is so perfect that we do not sometimes doubt that God cares about us? Despite her misgivings, she relies on her faith to guide her actions. In Mother Teresa (Brian Kolodiejchuk, editor) she clearly indicates she loves God deeply despite not feeling God’s presence. How difficult it must have been for her to help the poorest of the poor without much inner consolation! Indeed, she allows her loving actions to speak for themselves even though she thinks and feels God has abandoned her.

Teresa’s ability to serve others despite experiencing a profound inner dryness is the mark of someone who truly has a deep faith. She permits her higher self to emerge despite the false self crying where is God admidst the suffering? In some earlier writings about the “saint of the gutters” Mother often says that providence will provide. One day the sisters run out of bread and  Mother prays about this. Shortly thereafter, someone donates money and food arrives in a timely matter. Why God does not respond this way all the time I do not know. However, I do know that if we are more generous with one another whether it be donating food, volunteering or forgiving one another, God will give us the grace to do good deeds. In other words, God will act through us if we undertake loving kindness. Further, in a documentary involving trapped, handicapped children in a Middle East war zone, Mother Teresa tells the top American ambassador that their rescue will be possible the next day because she prays for the intercession of Mother Mary.

Sure enough-against all odds the warring parties allow Teresa of Calcutta, the mother hen (like Jesus’s metaphor in scripture) to scoop up the children, bring them to safety and then nurture them.  Thus while the critics’ accusations in the papers may or may not be true, she acts with noble intentions to the best of her ability. Hence, if Teresa is negative or critical it does not mean she is not worthy for sainthood; it just means she is fully human with her foibles-just like us. However, she keeps trusting God despite events unfolding contrary to her wishes. Our minds cannot fully comprehend God. That is why He/She is the Creator and we are God’s creatures.

May God bless Mother Teresa and us!

Michael F.

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