Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Still Mother Teresa clung to Christ

From Touchstone Magazine, an excellent commentary by Anthony Esolen in reaction to Time's recent article on Mother Teresa and her faith:

. . . But it turns out that Mother Teresa's life in Calcutta was not a life of what we would recognize as joy. I hesitate to claim that she did not know joy: as I would hesitate to claim that anyone so thoroughly abandoned to the call and life and grace of Christ could ever really be separated from Him, regardless of whether the affective response of her heart, how she felt her union with Christ, was what we call happiness. The world thought it knew her, and thought it could dismiss her charity with a smile at her naive belief and childish enthusiasm. But it cannot do that now, so it dismisses her by claiming her as one of its own -- not seeing that Mother Teresa's life looms as an even greater and more inexplicable mystery for those who say in their hearts, "There is no God.". . .

. . . What is mysterious is that after her visions of Jesus ceased, after all the inner consolations were taken away, after the locutions, what my evangelical brethren call "words of knowledge," fell silent, still Mother Teresa clung to Christ. She retained her faith without the emotional accompaniments (and here let married Christians take heed). She continued to serve the poor of Calcutta even though the nagging little viper at her shoulder must have whispered to her, constantly, "This is all absurd." Let us be absolutely clear about this: outside of the ambit of Christian culture, no one goes to Calcutta. What Mother Teresa did, no one does, not even for a year, without having been influenced by the message and example of Christ. And to live there for good, no one does at all without the virtue of faith. . .

. . . Here with Mother Teresa we have even more: a great goodness united to quiet suffering, unspeakable patience, and a kind of bright and steely charity, for how easy would it have been for Mother to try to salve her sores by "sharing" her feelings with her fellow sisters? A worldly man may enter the Peace Corps because he "believes" in it and wishes to do good; he will not stay there one month after he has ceased to believe. Mother Teresa never ceased to believe, even in and through the silence. . .

Read it all.

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