An inconspicuous presence, frail, bent, clad in the now legendary bordered white saree has shaken up the keepers of morality one more time since her earthly demise a decade ago. Mother Teresa’s letters lately released “Mother Teresa : Come Be My Light” speak of her anguish at feeling alone and Godless in a mind littered with doubt and faith faltering with disillusionment.
The soon to be canonized nun universally regarded an epitome of Love and service towards the ‘poorest of the poor’ had spent her life in unswerving belief in her Missions of Charity while being hounded within by demons of darkness. She had the right to question her predicament and perhaps did so in complete trust. Nevertheless do we have the right to question or look askance at her dilemma? No
We ought to accord dignity to the dead and especially those whose Karma we can neither ever hope to better or even equal!
The release of this book and its timing is a tad uncanny. Its ten years since Mother Teresa’s demise and her canonisation is well on its way. Her detractors have much to gloat about whilst for Her believers , another reason to validate the monumental proportions of her contribution to the human race despite serious misgivings she faced spiritually. She said in one of her letters “If I ever become a saint I will surely be one of ‘darkness.”‘ And in another: “If there be no God – there can be no soul. If there is no soul then Jesus – You also are not true. Heaven, what emptiness.”
For who her saintliness was forever a question these revelations provide fodder. For others who can evaluate the journey of this marvellous woman, the letters prove once again how she might have fought numerous battles within and without to carry on the work none before or after her have even remotely considered undertaking.
To be plagued with doubts about the existence of God is only human. After all its not as if He is revealing Himself at the earliest given opportunity. It takes aeons to get a semblance of a glimpse. So why expect Mother Teresa to have had personal sessions with Him in her living room, all bathed in translucent light with angels playing the flute ?!
Sainthood is a symbol of respect conferred on mortals by mortals. In the final analysis it does neither diminish nor embellish the personal journey of a divine being. It may prove to be a beacon for others like us but bears no relevance to those who have transcended material planes.
Time magazine says “In this era of “ethnic cleansing,” identity politics and dislocation of communities, it is heartening that one of the most marginalized people in recent history — a minority Albanian inside Slavic Macedonia, a minority Roman Catholic among Muslims and Orthodox Christians — should find a home, citizenship and acceptance in an Indian city of countless non-Christians. She blurred the line between insider and outsider that so many today are trying to deepen.
In fighting for the dignity of the destitute in a foreign land, she gave the world a moral example that bridged divides of culture, class and religion.“
The ‘period of darkness’ has been one which has been traversed by almost all religious seekers. While the layman falls by the wayside in hopelessness out of severe doubt, saints carry on seeking and questioning, arriving at their Truth through countless incarnations and Karma.
Syllogistic leanings in this case would undoubtedly led credence to prevailing doubts. but this would be sinful if not a shame. There can be no greater proof of her saintliness than in the propensity of her work and the multitude of souls she rescued.
“….In her campaign to win permission to leave her order, the Loreto Sisters, to found the Missionaries of Charity, with the radical goal of going outside convent walls to live among the poor of Calcutta’s slums. “Please let me go,” she wrote in one of many insistent letters to her archbishop. “If the work be all human, it will die with me, if it be all His it will live for ages to come. Souls are being lost in the meantime.”
If the test of time be the barometer to gage the merits of divine work, no further proof is required. Its not as if she made impassioned pleas in her lifetime to be recognised/designated a saint. Neither does the conferring or not of this nomenclature on a pure soul like her make a dent on her spirit. One believes in the innate goodness of humans even today as a matter of principle and not a magical phenomenon. There are so many pristine souls going about doing their bit selflessly, unsung in complete anonymity and peacefully. One only has to read ‘ Autobiography Of a yogi” to know the inference.
For me personally, she had an effect which was mesmerizing. I remember foretelling even a decade ago that she will be canonized as a saint.. The voluminous extent of her mission and the journey was not humanly possible. There most certainly was a divine calling and help accorded . I had also met a lady who had gone to her in extreme confusion, being at the edge of sanity. In her own words” Mother touched the crown of my head, twirled her fingers lovingly and in a jiffy it seemed everything became clear”.
At the end of the day, our doubts either take us forward in quest of greater truth or they shackle us down into abysmal depths, emerging from which is daunting. Not only do some of us doubt our own divinity but are ready to cast aspersions on saints at the first hint of a controversy. Give me a ‘questioning saint’ any day over a bogus one who claims to have met God first hand and then proceeds to mercilessly, guiltlessly rip the innocent of their beliefs and valuables.
If proof be the sole criterion then the number of those who swear by her work even today speaks volumes.
“The order she founded, the Missionaries of Charity, has expanded — the group says it now has more than 4,800 sisters and more than 750 homes worldwide. “
One loses nothing in believing. Disbelief on the other hand solidifies our ignorance and ego..both impediments in the path to final enlightenment.
- I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love.
- Mother Teresa
- Video : Is Mother Teresa a Saint or Human?