Posted by: Tony Carson | 1 September, 2007

The doubting Mother Teresa

It is indelicate to comment on the inner turmoil of Mother Teresa.

But it isn’t indelicate to comment on the commenters.

Religion, we know, requires a blind act of faith to stick with us. That faith can be hard to find, shaken when one finds it and subject to rejection over the long haul.

Not so humanism. We all have the capacity to recognize the beauty, majesty, goodness, intellectuality and inspiration in the acts of others. And in these, Mother Teresa was an exemplar: she can be seen as a saint by all of us who care about our fellow man and the possibilities of our spirit.

Too bad we can’t leave it at that; leave her faith to herself and her actions to history.

The Christian Science Monitor in an article entitled The doubting Mother Teresa tries to spin Mother Teresa’s doubt into affirmation. It does it well but one can’t help but squirm at the effort:

Her refusal to give in also inspires – not only because of the immense good that came from her perseverance, but because it is only persistent striving and loving that can relieve the burdens of the human experience. Imagine what the world would be like if doubt – of faith, of ability, of purpose – were allowed the upper hand.

No one can know the inner workings of another’s mind;, but we can all interpret another’s actions. That’s the dilemma not only of Mother Teresa but of religion itself.

That’s why religion, faith in a private God, should be kept private.

But, indisputably, for Mother Teresa to act as she did enriched and enriches all of us because it shows us our own possibilities if we would only tap into the potential of our humanism. I think that’s the message of Mother Teresa, not looking at her actions as acts of faith.

Mother Teresa may have believed she had no faith, but was not her persistence an act of extreme faith?

Or maybe her persistence was simply an unshakable belief that we all belong to each other.

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