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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Charism of Blessed Mother Theresa

Reacting to analogies between dark nights of the souls for Dr. Martin Luther and Bl. Mother Theresa, someone objected in this way:

  "Martin Luther's despair and feelings of abandonment from God, are as different from that experienced by Mother Theresa, as darkness is from light. Why? Luther's dryness did not last for 50 years like Theresa. Theresa was a devout Catholic, consecrated her life to the 'Immaculate' heart of Mary, prayed to Mary, instead of through the 'Sole' Omnipotent Mediator, The Lord Jesus Christ. She was known to have held dying 'Hindu's' and 'Muslims' in her arms, and said to them, '...believe in your god...' I ask, is this what a 'true' Christian, who knows JESUS as personal Saviour and Lord, DOES? Certainly not! No wonder she did not feel the presence of God in her life for 50 years! When you give this kind of credence to Roman Catholicism, you do a terrible disservice to the Lord Jesus Christ, and His Word, which are all vitiated and invalidated by the utterly unchristian doctrine and dogmas of Catholicism. This is just not right!"

This was my response:

  "1 Corinthians 13:8 - 13 tells us: "Love does not come to an end... In short, there are three things that last: faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is love." Blessed Mother Theresa's preaching has effectively been through action, not words. Hers was the charism to care for the sick, the dying, and the neglected. Perhaps she shuns arguments over religion, but preaches love and the Gospel by caring for those who need it. Perhaps she felt that it would be ineffective to hold a dying person, preaching the Gospel to them insistently and expect them, at that moment, to come to faith with their dying breath. Perhaps she is the neighbor who, finding someone close to death on the road, comes to the victim's aid, regardless of his religon."

I'm not saying that all religions are equal. I don't think Bl. Mother Theresa does either, who was indeed a faithful Catholic. I might baptize them (if they haven't been), but I probably wouldn't go preaching into a dying person's ears either. A terminally ill man, yes, definitely, but someone at the point of death? Show them faith, give them hope, and lavish them with love: I think Bl. Mother Theresa does them all throughout her life in Calcutta. These readings from today's Liturgy of the Hours (via Universalis.com) are probably apt:

  Mid-morning reading (Terce) 1 Corinthians 13:4 - 7
  Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offence, and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.
  Noon reading (Sext) 1 Corinthians 13:8 - 13
  Love does not come to an end. But if there are gifts of prophecy, the time will come when they must fail; or the gift of languages, it will not continue for ever; and knowledge – for this, too, the time will come when it must fail. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophesying is imperfect. In short, there are three things that last: faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is love.
  Afternoon reading (None) Colossians 3:14 - 15
  Over all these clothes, to keep them together and complete them, put on love. And may the peace of Christ reign in your hearts, because it is for this that you were called together as parts of one body. Always be thankful.

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