Father Joseph Langford, co-founder with Blessed
Teresa of Calcutta of the priestly community of the Missionaries of Charity, offers an intimate
perspective of the inspiration for Mother Teresa’s worldwide apostolate.
Mother Teresa’s Secret Fire unwraps
the secret of her ability to bring Christ’s light to a darkened
More than a biography, this book is a step-by-step explanation, in simple terms, of
her unique and deeply personal means of relating to Our Lord. If someday Blessed Teresa is declared
a doctor of the church for her spirituality, Mother Teresa’s Secret Fire will
have played an important role in unlocking the secrets of the radiant beauty of her
first of three sections in the book, “Fire in the Night,” describes how Mother
Teresa’s path to spiritual transformation began with a profound experience of Christ at the
age of 38. On Sept. 10, 1946, she received “a call within a call.” This is the catalyst
to the radical change in Mother Teresa’s spirituality and lifestyle. She had always been
reluctant to describe this in detail, yet with his encouragement, Father Langford has her reveal in
her own words what happened in that encounter.
In the second section, “Illumination,” Father
Langford relies on decades spent at Mother Teresa’s side to explain the transformation of
Sister Teresa the schoolteacher into Mother Teresa the worldwide missionary. When she served the
poor, she touched them with the irresistible love of Christ, drawing them to him. On the wall of
every Missionaries of Charity chapel is a life-size crucifix with the words “I thirst.”
Satisfying the thirst of Jesus for souls became her consolation — even when she no longer
enjoyed an emotional intimacy with him in prayer. By the suffering she endured in her inner
darkness, she was able to share the darkness of the souls who did not know the peace of Christ, and
this impelled her to reach out with God’s love even more. People “could feel the
presence of God in Mother Teresa; they intuited her holiness, and were drawn to
Father Langford explains Mother Teresa’s interior darkness: “But what of
reports that suggested that Mother Teresa had undergone a crisis of faith, or worse, that her smile
and her devotion to God and neighbor were little more than hypocrisy? Emphatically, Mother
Teresa’s dark night was not a ‘crisis of faith,’ nor did it represent a wavering.
Her letters reveal instead her hard-fought victory of faith, the triumph of faith’s light that
shines even in the darkness, for ‘the darkness has not overcome it.’”
“Transformation” section, Father Langford goes into detail, explaining the precise
nature of Jesus’ thirst for souls and how to respond to him in deep, intimate prayer. The
reader is offered a powerful means to enter into this relationship, which made Mother Teresa a
readers may be disappointed by the absence of stunning coffee table book-type photographs. But the
purpose of Mother Teresa’s Secret
Fire is to go deeper than the photo
opportunities into the very soul of the 20th century’s most popular saint. Father Langford
teaches Mother Teresa’s spirituality with vividly drawn examples from Scripture and the lives
of the saints.
will engender spiritual children of Mother Teresa rather than distant admirers. By faithfully
fulfilling his lifelong quest to codify Mother Teresa’s spirituality, Father Langford has done
the Church a great favor, leading souls in the footsteps of the little saint of the slums.
Teresa’s Guide to Sanctity
By Rev. Joseph Langford, M.C.
Our Sunday Visitor,
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