I just finished reading the article The Secret Life of Mother Teresa , the cover story of Time magazine of September 3rd, 2007 written by David Van Biena based on Mother Teresa’s letters published posthumously in the book titled Mother Teresa…Come Be My Light.

          After reading the article and excerpts from her letters my impression is that in Mother Teresa’s life Heavenly Father was conspicuous by His absence. She experienced a mysterious darkness in her soul and a painful emptiness in her heart as she could have no communication with God most of her life. She felt abandoned and rejected. Being a Catholic nun she had accepted Jesus as her spouse. She remained faithful to her spiritual spouse although the spiritual marriage was not consummated. She remained celibate physically, emotionally and spiritually. It shows how committed and dedicated she was.

          Being a Catholic she believed in suffering. Alongside physical and emotional suffering, spiritual suffering was part of her suffering to become a saint. I am impressed that she was honest to herself and her confessors, who were like her psychotherapists, about the emptiness in her heart and darkness in her soul. She might have craved that human emotional and romantic touch that she never had being a nun.

          Mother Teresa’s suffering was a mixed blessing, a curse for her but a blessing for humanity. She served the suffering humanity by serving the poor and the disabled and the hungry men and women of Calcutta as she saw Christ in their faces. In her mind by serving them she was serving Christ. She brought the dying men and women home and nursed them till their death as she did not want human beings to die alone. She filled other people’s lives with peace in spite of the emptiness of her own soul.

          I found it interesting that she did not want her letters to be published as they were private, like confessions to a therapist, but her confessors and disciples did not respect her wishes. She did not want her admirers to doubt her sincerity or her mission to suffer. She did not know that her letters might be a testimony of doubt in a saint’s heart that would make her personality more realistic. She did not know that her admirers might love and cherish her more for her honesty and candidness. I have no idea about other admirers but I love her more after reading these letters. She was honest to acknowledge that God did not exist in her heart and wondered whether God was a myth and a metaphor rather than a concrete reality that could be experienced with our senses.. Being a nun and a Nobel Prize winner she could not share those doubts publicly and had to lead a double life.

          I hope there are more believers that could be honest like Mother Teresa and keep on serving humanity in spite of their doubts in their religion and God. Jean Paul Sartre, the existentialist philosopher, said that we do not need to believe in God to love our neighbor.

          For me it was a fascinating read and it inspired me to order the book and read all the letters of Mother Teresa. She was a saint who became a beacon of light for suffering humanity in spite of her own inner darkness.

How wonderful!

How sad!