MERGED: Mother Theresa's letters and potential anti-Catholic fodder


#1

Mother Theresa’s letters have been published which allegedly indicates that she had a life-long spiritual struggle; feeling the absence of God in her life, having “darkness” within her, and lacking faith. Since Mother Theresa is usually depicted as the epitome of Catholic saintliness, how should we respond to those Protestants who may use these letters as evidence that Catholicism is spiritually bankrupt and only produces anxiety in a person because of its “works salvation” gospel? Many anti-Catholic Protestants will say that Mother Theresa’s spiritual struggle is evidence that she was not really saved. Have any of you experienced a similar spiritual struggle? How has Catholicism enriched your spiritual life, especially if you are a convert from Protestantism?

God Bless,
Michael


#2

Look, if people want a religion that gives them good feelings, let them have it. Hopefully they will eventually reach the end of their tether and realize that there’s something more to being a Christian than bubbles. If not now, we’ll all figure that out in Purgatory, right?

Or, if the above is not helpful (:D), you could tell them to read Jeremiah 12 (You have deceived me, O Lord, and I was deceived) and (if they think this is just an OT experience) 1 Cor. 12. This kind of experience of “darkness” and suffering is part of the story of many great saints in the Bible and after it. But in the end, if they aren’t willing to accept this, they aren’t going to accept it. There’s really nothing you can do.

Edwin


#3

Let’s remember that Mother Theresa saw the worst side of suffering. She saw daily what most of us couldn’t handle on a one-time basis. That would bring doubt or spiritual struggle to ANYBODY.
**I know that the anti-Catholics will have a field day with this - but I would challenge ALL of them to go through what she did. To give their entire lives in the service that she did - aiding helpless, suffering people. Lord only knows how many of them she cradled as they died in her arms. **
A GREAT woman of God!


#4

I saw a link to the Time magazine article and my first reaction was that it was going to be a bash-catholic hit piece.

For some, they wont take the time to read the book, and they will just comment on what they think they know about her struggle. I for one thought the article was very well done and brought out several key points as to why she felt the way she did/how she came to terms with it. I want to read the book now that I have read this article.

She is an incredible person and her story amazes me. The saying “God works in mysterious ways” is such an understatement!


#5

They just discredit themselves. No one needs to apologize for Mother Theresa on this score. It’s shameful even to act as if this is something that “needs explanation.” I would question if a person was a saint if they didn’t have an experience of darkness.

Edwin


#6

We can only hope that people approach this article and the upcoming book with open hearts.


#7

saint faustina hereself went through a dark night of the soul as you can read her account in the Divine Mercy in my soul. i expereinced a spiritual struggle for years after i left the watchtower organization! i think that at some point in our lives we can experience a dark night of the soul ourselves because we are human, and we are imperfect beings. i wouldn’t worry about what non catholics or athiests or others say about this. as Saint Teresa of Avila says: Let nothing disturb thee, let nothing affright thee. all things are passing. patience obtains all things. he who has God has everything. God alone suffices.Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta was a faithful servant of God. even if she did suffer a dark night of the soul, there are many besides her that have suffered it as well. This bashing if it does come, will pass like all things do.

so, do not concern yourself with what others say. stay faithful to God and draw close to him, and His One True Church. nothing else matters except God. news comes and goes, and the media loves to play on things. so do not concern yourself with the media or what others say. stay close to God, and offer up your daily sufferings to Him. He has infinite mercy. if you find yourself troubled, learn to say, Jesus I trust in You!


#8

I agree with Edwin.

Many folks have doubts or struggles, it’s unfortunate but it’s a fact.


#9

Just let them fodder away…we know better. :thumbsup:


#10

The demonic instruction of Lewis’ Screwtape as he teaches his junior nephew demon comes quickly to mind:

Work hard, then, on the disappointment or anticlimax which is certainly coming to the patient. . .The Enemy allows this disappointment to occur on the threshold of every human endeavor. . .The Enemy takes this risk because He has a curious fantasy of making all these disgusting little human vermin in what he calls His “free” lovers and servants–“sons” is the word He uses. . .Desiring their freedom, He therefore refuses to carry them, by their mere affections and habits, to any of the goals which He sets before them: He leaves them to ‘do it on their own’. And there lies our opportunity. But also, remember there lies our danger. If once they get through this initial dryness sucessfully, they become much less dependent of emotion and therefore much harder to tempt.

Though the above is the voice of a character of Lewis’ imagining, I can perfectly well expect that Mother Teresa had her own legion of demons which worked tirelessly to tempt and destroy her in a likewise fashion. Her dark night of the soul, as represented in her personal writings, is a wonderful testiment to the power of grace. Despite the doubts, trials, and dryness typical of ANY Christian Cross experience, she obviously persevered in her faith and sought her Savior espeically during those times she most needed saving.

Why would a modern day Apostle such as Mother Teresa be spared the cross promised to everyone seeking Christ’s Life through resurrection?


#11

Michael, you might tell them that it is precisely because of her spiritual struggle that God brought about her beautiful work for Him. He joined her to His Son on the Cross for the fruitfulness her work in Him produced. THAT is what living by Faith, true Faith is all about! Fr. Groeschel has revealed that it was only in her last days that the darkness lifted for her and she was immersed in the light of Christ that had been hidden from her for so many years, all the while she lived deeply in it.


#12

IMHO, if you don’t have doubt, you don’t really have faith. You only have belief.

Faith requires belief in spite of doubt. Not belief without doubt.


#13

It woul seem to me that the more holy people are the ones that satan goes after. I think he tries with all his power to put doubts in their minds. Wasn’t it Fr Pio that used to get attaked by demon? Also the more holy people are the less they think that they are great. I would for real sure have doubs about mother teresa if she would write about how holy she was and what a great job she was doing. I think thecloser you get to God the more struggles one has. I reminded of a story I heard many years ago about the devil being outside of a church and he was trying to get people to follow him as soon as they step out of the church. There was a strip joint and bar across the street where many bad things would be going on all the time. The devil was asked why he wasn’t over there and his reply was. Oh, those people I already have in my hand, I am after these ones here.
Mother teresa never sought riches. Look at how she lived. Did she have a million dollar mansion and drive fancy cars and built mlti million churches with all the modern technoligies and then claim that it was a gift from God because of all the good she did? Where is it that says about those that exhault themselves.


#14

I have also experienced this feeling of separation from God. In fact, most of the saints did at some point. Think of the apostles who locked themselves in the upper room after Jesus’ death because they felt scared and abandoned.

I remember going to my spiritual advisor after many weeks of feeling this dryness and separation, sometimes even oppression. He asked if I was still praying, going to adoration, to Church, etc. I said I was but I didn’t really “feel” anything, I was just doing it out of duty and faithfullness to God. This priest told me that often God appreciates our faithfullness and prayers during these times even more than when we’re on fire. Why? Because we are choosing to love Him and obey Him in spite of our feelings. That’s true love.

Just like in a marriage relationship, when sometimes you aren’t that attracted to your spouse or don’t particularly like them at the moment. You still choose to love them and stay with them. That is true love, too.

I don’t remember her quote exactly, but Mother Teresa spoke once of being married to Jesus. Actually, we all are in a sense because we are part of His Church, the Bride of Christ. She was speaking to someone who was complaining about her husband. Mother Teresa said something like “You think you’re spouse is demanding, imagine being married to God!”


#15

I cannot imagine the inner turmoil Mother Therese must have felt … and the words of Jesus had to be real to her, “My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me.” Like Christ, she gave everything yet in her struggles could not see nor feel the Living God.

I think this is why most people sin … they look for a feeling … something to make them know they are alive.

It may be used, initially by atheists and skeptics, against Catholicism but given time and the work of the Holy Spirit her writings will lead many more to pious living rather than away from the faith. These are not easy concepts to understand nor is it the type of faith most people seek yet it is the most powerful example of what faith is … what living your faith is.

This is going to be one of those books, like Lewis, one will have to read more than once to detect all tha is really inside of it.


#16

NBC had a video regarding this. It was on their nightly news broadcast. To me it was very unbiased and showed a few priests talking about the good of her “struggle”.

Here’s the link:
video.msn.com/v/us/fv/fv.htm??f=msnhome

Scroll down to “Agony of Mother Theresa”.


#17

So, with the news of Mother Teresa’s “dark night of the soul” come the criticisms, second-guessing and hatchet jobs. I have no idea how to refute this stuff, or even if it CAN be refuted. According to some people, she raised a ton of money and “wasted” it on convents or who knows what else. Her hospitals were hellish, and not only did she have ego problems, she actually LIKED to watch people suffer.

I know, I know. But is there a definitive rebuttal of this garbage?


#18

To what are you referring when you say, “Mother Teresa’s ‘dark night of the soul’”?

Peace,
Dante


#19

I have not heard of this… and to be quite frank, I don’t exactly know what you are talking about.

I have heard, however, that the sisterhood that Mother Teresa established has had an unpleasant relationship with the Eastern Catholics in India.


#20

[LEFT]I’ve heard all sorts of conflcting things by disgruntled individuals of all stripes. Some call her a religious indifferetist while others accuse her of coercing people into Baptism and Catholicism.[/LEFT]

[LEFT]Concerning the specific allegation that she liked watching people suffer, this comes from an ignorance of Catholic teaching on suffering. She said something to the effect that patient suffering of the people brought many graces for themselves and others.[/LEFT]


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