Regarding Mother Teresa's letters

It was reported in the news that Mother Teresa had written some letters (that she wanted destroyed before she died) that she had serious doubts about God’s love and heaven, etc. I would think that many will now regard such a life path as being a waste, and will therefore take the path of materialism and fornication and such as a result of learning about the dispair behind the mask.

It’s quite disturbing (to me) that God would not have given her some encouragement to help her along so that she would have felt great joy instead of the pain and emptyness that she wrote of.

What thoughts might some of you have about this?

P.S. At a CNN link it was stated that she also had an exorcism, too! Wow.

She sure has hell wasted a lot of millions upon millions in donations (many from stolen fortunes) building convents for somebody who had doubts.

I think Mother Teresa was a not-particularly-bright woman who got wayyyyyyyyyyyy over head and never wanted to be a world famous personage and when she did was trapped. I’d feel sorry for her if she hadn’t withheld so much help she could have provided from people who desperately needed it.

Though a warning in case you’re not familiar: MT is a VERY controversial figure on these boards. Those like me in the “Yeah I’m glad she’s dead! I hope she burn in Hay-ull!” camp and the “She was a great humanitarian” faction have had threads go hundreds of post before.

Yeah, it’s funny how he can be sparing with the encouragement. Oh well, mysterious ways and all that.

I’m not sure I buy your argument that people will see this kind of life path (assuming that one even believes that Mother Teresas’s life represents an ideal path) as worthless because she had doubts. If anything, it would probably make her more sympathetic. After all, who hasn’t questioned their beliefs and/or faith at some point?

I guess though, that it could be argued that such things might be an attempt to overcompensate for doubts - sort of “doesn’t seem to be working, must try even harder”.

Re the OP: I can’t imagine how it makes much difference anyway. I thought it was pretty well accepted that doubt is the companion of belief - anyone who switches from their plan to have a really holy life, directly to a different plan to have a wholly debauched life, on the basis of something like this was probably going to fall at the first hurdle anyway. If such people even exist.

Everybody who has faith has doubts about it. There are no exceptions. Even Jesus had his moments of weakness. (“My God, why have you abandoned me?”) The question is, do you allow your doubts to cripple you spiritually, or do you just accept that certain things must be taken on faith and move on?

I think that these revelations make Mother Teresa more compelling, not less. She did good things despite her doubts.

I agree with Diceman. Even us Pagans have moments of doubt. At least she was intelligent enough to realize this, unlike some Fundies who think if you have any doubts about your faith means you’re not a good Xtian.

The things I heard suggest that her doubts and pain were over the course of many years. And so to my way of thinking, I just assumed that God had let her know on occassions that because she had her sleeves rolled up and was working her tail off helping others, that He’d not let her be crushed by the heavy load as apparently she was. Or, to put it another way, how can it be that I’ve read so many porn actress interviews in which so many of them seem to be sincerely care-free and happy (in their demonic lifestyle), and yet the Lord would be so severe with Mother Teresa even though (seemingly) she was doing her level best to do good while setting a fine example of how people should live. I don’t get it.

There are many explanations for that sort of thing–anything from the agnostic/atheist explanation, to “their reward will be in heaven”, to the book of Job, to the deist theory of a god who watches but doesn’t affect.

Pick your poison, take your chances.

Well, the explanation that the pastor at my parish gave last time the readings came up was not that Jesus was despairing (or only despairing), but that he was quoting Psalm 22, drawing attention to the end (line 22 or so onward).

Just goes to show - if you have letters you don’t want published, destroy them yourself or don’t write them. I think it is especially slimy of the Church to allow them to be published after she specifically requested that they be destroyed.

And I think everyone has a crisis of faith at least once in their life. I’m not a big admirer of Mother T. - I’m in the camp of those who think she got in way over her head and wasted a lot of money - but this just makes her seem a bit more human to me.

I hate to say it, because it seems so obvious, but maybe this just means There is no God.

See, go ahead and assume there is no God. Now look at it again. See how it makes total sense? Yea.

Nearly everyone with a predisposition to see Mother Teresa in a particular way will see those letters as confirmation of their previous expectations. Such is the world.

Regarding doubts over years: that will get no traction among believers. “Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul” is a deliberate parody of a long-established concept among believers, expressed particularly in the writings of St. John of the Cross in his poem “Dark Night of the Soul.”
Whether there is no god or whether God is testing his followers, many religious people have experienced long periods of doubt and discovering that one more such person expressed similar doubts will not change the beliefs of many people.

As expected, Wikipedia has articles on both Dark Night of the Soul and Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul.

Look, I am the least fan of Mother Teresa on these boards. Probably even less than Sampiro over there, considering what she did to my mother country.

But everyone has crises of faith. And I prefer a human, flawed character who does admit maybe they’re wrong to someone who blithely travels through life without ever even acknowledging the possibility they may be wrong. Doesn’t mean I like her now, but at the very least even she thought about it.

Besides, hasn’t anyone ever read the book of Job? People have been experiencing doubt since Day 1.

One reason might be that if she felt great joy, she might feel less need to help or empathy for other people. A gift like that might seem like a final reward - “Good work, you’re done” - and so leaving that aside might mean she was encouraged to continue. Plus, what’s better in helping other people through a spiritual crisis than having gone through one yourself?

Besides, a bit of spiritual difficulty can help people out. Take now, for example; her experience is leading you to have questions about your faith (though i’m not accusing you of being in crisis). What will emerge is someone who has a new outlook, or even just new answers. Perhaps she was left in order that people would question things, and so (eventually) arrive at a better place.

Or God doesn’t do that. Or exist. Really, there’s plenty of possible reasons.

The saddest is her letter to Santa Claus asking why he didn’t bring the incubator she asked for “when I’ve been good all year…why Santa, why?”. Of course the fact it was accidentally delivered to Carlos Santana may have had something to do with it.

I’ve been thinking. From the news reports I’ve read, Mother Teresa longed to feel Christ’s presence, and was upset that it didn’t seem to be happening. I can relate to this; it’s been a long time since I’ve felt like God was close to me. And yet, I believe that the cause is a noble one, and I know what needs to be done (at least, a little bit of it) so I soldier on, doing good as well as I can, hoping that eventually I will be rewarded in heaven.

Maybe, the special encounters are given to people who otherwise wouldn’t do God’s will, and really do need that encouragement.

I agree with this very much. I’m not a fan of Mother Teresa either, and I’m neither religious, nor spiritual. But I can relate to someone who has doubts and problems, in general, more than someone who goes through life without wondering. Whether they’re doubts about ourselves, about our faith, or our future, we all experience some kind of fears.

Thanks for the thoughtful replies, All. I’ll think about them and write some responses tomorrow when I’ll have more time.

If you think their lifestyle is demonic, why have you read so many of their interviews? You’d have to go out of your way to read even one.