I admired Mother Teresa who is declared a saint today by Pope Francis. He praised the tiny nun for having taken in society’s most unwanted and for having shamed world leaders for the “crimes of poverty they themselves created.” Here are some excerpts from an associated press writer, Nicole Winfield and contributions by Bernat Armangue from Kolkata, India.
Pope Francis admired Mother Teresa: “Let us carry her smile in our hearts and give it to those whom we meet along our journey, especially those who suffer,” Pope Francis said in his homily. He admitted even he would find it hard to call her “St. Teresa” since her tenderness was so maternal.
In his homily, Francis praised her as the merciful saint who defended the lives of the unborn, sick and abandoned. “She bowed down before those who were spent, left to die on the side of the road, seeing in them their God-given dignity,” he said. “She made her voice heard before the powers of the world, so that they might recognize their guilt for the crimes of poverty they themselves created.”
While Francis is clearly keen to hold Mother Teresa up as a model for her joyful dedication to society’s outcasts, he was also recognizing holiness in a nun who lived most of her adult life in spiritual agony sensing that God had abandoned her.
According to correspondence that came to light after she died in 1997, Mother Teresa experienced what the church calls a “dark night of the soul” — a period of spiritual doubt, despair and loneliness that many of the great mystics experienced. In Mother Teresa’s case, it lasted for nearly 50 years — an almost unheard of trial.
Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her selfless service. Yet she felt unworthy to be loved by God and continued her amazing journey of bringing light to the needy while living in her own darkness. She was quoted as saying that the greatest poverty in the world today is the feeling of being unloved. She was amazing and very human, struggling for inner peace and feeling disconnected from her own light. She is a model for continuing to clear our own blocks towards feeling loved and whole.
St. Mother Teresa, may your soul finally be at peace.