Sunday, September 02, 2007

A Very Human Struggle

As some of you may recall, the diaries of Mother Teresa were published this past week. The most shocking revelation: that the holiest of holies questioned her purpose in life and even doubted the existence of God himself. The implication seemed to be that we should think twice before we heap platitudes upon any human being, particularly one for whom canonization as a Saint by the Vatican seems to be a fait accompli.

In contrast, I don't look upon Mother Teresa's internal struggles with her faith as proof that she was somehow less pious, somehow less than. Instead it proves that there are times in all of our lives where we question our faith and feel utterly disconnected from our higher power. The fact that such a person as Mother Teresa had deep internal struggles should come across as a relief rather than shake our very devotion to the core. Crises of faith are common place to each and every human being, it appears.

After all, did not Jesus of Nazareth call out on the cross: "My God, why have you forgotten me?"

God prefers to work subliminally rather than overtly. To act otherwise would interfere with our own free will. But I add my name to the chorus of believers who wish we could receive direct communication from him. As for me, I've been privy to no burning bushes and no direct revelations though I have wished for them.

The side of me that is very much indebted to comparative religion still retains a touch of cynicism regarding Mother Teresa. Her stances against abortion and divorce are sticking points. In addition, she took a missionary's zeal towards Christianity which left no room for other religions. I've never believed that the vast majority of the world who are non-Christians ought to be automatically doomed for the Lake of Fire. I never will.

Yet, this fact shouldn't at all detract from the good work that Mother Teresa accomplished in her lifetime. That she revealed her inherent humanity ought to give us a great deal of faith. I think often times people don't strive for Godliness because they feel so intimidated by those who live lives of decency and unselfishness. They think, How could I possibly ever be that good?

If even our stars prove themselves to be prone to the same kind of soul-searching as the rest of us, then there must be something about humanity that is constantly searching and probing for meaning.

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