Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A Doubting Mother Teresa

Perhaps you’ve heard or read some of the recent commentaries on the release of Mother Teresa’s diaries. In them she describes what other authors have at times called “the dark night of the soul.” It seems that she frequently struggled with doubts and periods of time in which she felt no assurance of God’s presence with her in her labors among the poorest of the poor in the slums of Calcutta. Some, predisposed to reject the notion that God could possibly be at work in the life of a Roman Catholic nun, have seized upon her words as evidence that her faith was invalid or worthless. That might make them feel more self-assured about their own brand of faith, but it is more of a commentary on their own smugness and self-righteousness than it is a valid critique of the tireless efforts of Mother Teresa to have a positive impact in the life of the hurting masses in one of the world’s major cities.

While the diaries may well reveal a woman who struggled at times with her faith, that shouldn’t be the basis for doubting her commitment to Christ nor for denigrating the tremendous contributions of her life. Here are just a few quotes from her that are worth pondering.

"I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world."

"I do not pray for success, I ask for faithfulness."

"I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much."

"In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love."

"Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work."

"There is always the danger that we may just do the work for the sake of the work. This is where the respect and the love and the devotion come in - that we do it to God, to Christ, and that's why we try to do it as beautifully as possible."


Rick said...

I haven't read the book, but I sure enjoyed the quotes. I often identify with the one about being able to handle what God gives us, but wishing He didn't trust me so much. That is a jewel.

Thanks for this post.

Gary Snowden said...


Thanks for stopping by and for your comments. I should clarify--the quotes are selected ones I found by doing a Google search on quotes attributed to Mother Teresa. They're actually not from her diaries. They spoke to me very powerfully though and I'd thought I'd share them to perhaps counterbalance some of the negative remarks surfacing about her because of her struggles with doubt.