Mother Teresa and the Politics of Perfection

The news media have expressed shock in recent week in the wake of the revelation that Mother Teresa of Calcutta had her doubts.
by By Jim Fair | Source:
That’s right. A women seen by most in the world as the most saintly person of our age, experienced a moment of darkness. The moment lasted for years. And to media folks, that is shocking. How could she be a saint?

It certainly is less shocking to practicing Catholics, among whom only a handful of practicing journalists could be counted. To Catholics, the possibility that someone might have doubts seems natural.

The struggle to keep our faith during all circumstances is one result of original sin, which, unfortunately, Mother Teresa suffered from like the rest of us. There were, after all, only four humans in all of history who didn’t suffer from original since at the time of their births.

The first two were Adam and Eve, but what they weren’t born with they certainly got into soon enough. Mary had the next exemption; her son was the fourth, although certainly in the category of a very special case.

So, Mother Teresa, despite all her good works, prayers and service to humanity was, in the end, a human and a sinner.

She had doubts. So did Peter. So did Paul. So do you; so do I.

The difference between Mother Teresa and most of humanity is that she continued to serve God despite her doubts, fears and insecurities. She loved God even when she had trouble feeling His presence in her life, even uncertainty tugged at her heart.

The news media seemed to have expected Mother Teresa to have lived the life she did because she was perfect. They have is backwards. Mother Teresa lived a life of love and sacrifice in search of perfection, seeking God in the midst of her doubts, yet knowing she had to serve Him. That’s what saints do.

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