Yesterday’s mail included, much to my delight, the letters of Mother Teresa called Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light. Last week the book stirred controversy because the depth and duration of her darkness became public. I’d like to spend some time with this book so today’s post is just to whet our appetite.
We can’t understand Mother Teresa without viewing her through the lens of asceticism, something almost entirely foreign to Protestants and especially to American evangelicals. She joined a long, long list of Roman Catholics who have surrendered the pleasures of life — marriage and sexual relations, the comforts of a private life, the growth of income and savings, and the independence of making our own decisions.
Furthermore, as I’ve already witnessed on the internet, some Protestants (esp conservative evangelicals) have already rendered judgment on her eternal salvation. Not for me to judge. I want to look at her private writings to see what we can make of this extraordinary woman.
She was born Gonxha Agnes Bojaxhiu in Albania in 1910 and her native language was Serbo-Croatian. At twelve she knew she was called to the poor but it was not until she was 18 that she left home and went to Ireland to become a nun. Later she established the Missionaries of Charity. She later writes: “and since then [leaving home], this forty years, I’ve never doubted even for a second that I’ve done the right thing; it was the will of God. It was His choice” (14).
The introduction, by her editor and the director of the Mother Teresa Center, Brian Kolodiejchuk, M.C., emphasizes her desire that the letters and journals not be made public since they would attract too much attention to her and not to Jesus. And the introduction raises the issue of her “darkness.”
We’ll be looking at Mother Teresa over the next two weeks I suspect. Join us.