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Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light: The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta Paperback – October 13, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Mother Teresa was one of the most revered people of the 20th century, so it is no surprise that 10 years after her death people still want to know what impelled this poor, humble Albanian woman to give her life to God so completely. Kolodiejchuk, a Catholic priest and friend of Mother Teresas who is actively promoting her cause for sainthood, assembles a startling and impressive collection of her writings, most of which have never been seen by the public. Two themes especially shine through in Mother Teresas letters, namely, her absolute conviction that she was doing Gods will, and a deep and surprising chasm of darkness within her that some would call the dark night of the soul. It is also apparent that this saintly woman was no pushover. In her quest to found the Missionaries of Charity, she aggressively pursued approval from her bishop, fully confident that God desired this work to be done. Kolodiejchuk is at times a bit presumptive in his interpretations of Teresas letters, as no one can say for certain what was in her mind and heart at all times. What we do know, in part thanks to this volume, is that Mother Teresas vocation to care for the poorest of the poor will continue to inspire people for generations. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Come Be My Light is that rare thing, a posthumous autobiography that could cause a wholesale reconsideration of a major public figure – one way or another. It raises questions about God and faith, the engine behind great achievement, and the persistence of love, divine and human. That it does so not in any organized, intentional form but as a hodgepodge of desperate notes not intended for daylight should leave readers only more convinced that it is authentic – and that they are, somewhat shockingly, touching the true inner life of a modern saint." —David Van Biema, Time Magazine
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And that is why this book has been such a blessing. It has given me understanding and answers to some of my questioning. It has helped me to grow in my faith in God again. A God that is loving. A God that is there for me, even when He seems to be ignoring me, and turning His back on me. If you are in a place that is making you feel this way, then I recommend this book for you. It has been a blessing to me, and I pray that it will bless you too.
Now on the other hand, this book was a betrayal. Mother Theresa on many occasions made it explicitly clear that she did not want these letters to be published. She wanted them destroyed upon her death. They were entrusted to her spiritual leaders/advisors, and they betrayed this trust. They published her letters, which are in this book. I know from reading this book that because of her humility, and because of her submission to those in authority over her, that she probably would not see it this way. But because I am not where Mother Teresa is spiritually, that is how I see it. Which is what makes me conflicted about this book. While I am glad it was published after all, I can’t but help feel that her trust was betrayed. Maybe if, and when I get to where Mother Teresa was spiritually, I’ll feel differently. I hope this helps you.
What greater testimony to faith in God than one who perseveres in that faith despite long periods of feeling a complete absence of God's presence, or even any positive reinforcement of any kind? Mother Teresa of Calcutta persevered in this state for DECADES. Now that this persistent state of her "Dark Night" has become known, her intense answer to God's call and her constant, unwavering and undaunted choices to say "Yes," to God at every turn become an heroic example of virtue with truly awesome proportions.
What struck me the most about her was her vow, taken voluntarily and with guidance and permission from her confessor and spiritual director, to " . . . always say "yes" to God, under pain of mortal sin."
Under Roman Catholic teaching, all sin falls into one of two broad categories. The first is Venial Sin, which only wounds and lessens our relationship to God, but does not completely break our relationship with God and therefore is not capable of leading to the death of the soul. The second is Mortal Sin, which does kill the life of Grace in the soul, breaks our relationship with God, and if one dies unrepentant of such sin, does lead to the death of the soul. (For Scriptural underpinnings of this teaching, see 1John 5:16-17. There are others, but in this passage it is quite plainly stated.)
Mother Teresa loved Jesus SO much, and she wished to bind herself so fully to His will, that she was willing to voluntarily risk death of her soul if she ever refused Him the slightest thing. Now THAT'S serious commitment! Although I'm not ready for such a vow, I do hope that she will pray for me, that I too, will refuse Jesus nothing.
I love this book. However, it is not lightly read. It has some real meat to it and takes some "chewing" to fully understand and appreciate.