Paul  Edwards

"If anyone is in heaven, there is no question Mother Teresa is there," is a sentiment shared by millions of Americans, believers and non-believers alike. Yet her own words suggest it was a sentiment Mother Teresa struggled with and may well have not believed.

A new book just out from Doubleday, "Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light," reveals a previously unknown side of Mother Teresa through her private letters written over a period of 66 years. It should be noted that this book was not produced by her detractors, but rather by those seeking sainthood for the venerable nun. The letters sound what Time magazine calls "...a hodgepodge of desperate notes not intended for daylight." In the letters, written mostly to confessors, Teresa candidly—and at times with great anguish—expresses not only serious doubts about her faith, but seems resolved that she possesses no genuine faith at all.

Christopher Hitchens, an evangelist for atheism, recently used Mother Teresa's inner turmoil as revealed in her letters to invalidate any and all belief outside of what can be validated by human reason. In a recent piece for Newsweek Hitchens gloated,

Now, it might seem glib of me to say that this is all rather unsurprising, and that it is the inevitable result of a dogma that asks people to believe impossible things and then makes them feel abject and guilty when their innate reason rebels.

Now, it might seem glib of me to say that this is all rather unsurprising, and that it is the inevitable result of a dogma that asks people to believe impossible things and then makes them feel abject and guilty when their innate reason rebels.

Hitchens may be right. If all we have is our innate reason to validate for us what otherwise seems impossible, then indeed our efforts are futile, resulting in a chaos of the soul like that demonstrated in Teresa’s letters. But the ability to believe impossible things—like the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and ultimately in our own resurrection—results not from innate reason, but from faith. And that faith is not from ourselves, it is the gift of God.


Paul Edwards

Paul Edwards is the host of The Paul Edward Program and a pastor. His program is heard daily on WLQV in Detroit and on godandculture.com

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