All the hullabaloo about whether Mother Teresa believed or not, misses the point that all believers, if they are completely honest, feel this way many, many times. There are vast swaths of time in our lives when our perception of God or God “himself” (sic) is indeed absent. SOMA has a good take on it;
It’ll be interesting to see how the faithful respond to these bombshells. A big chunk of Christendom insists that ethics and morality are impossible without belief in God. If there’s no God, why be good? But Mother Teresa’s crisis of faith suggests what any life-loving agnostic or atheist knows: If there’s no God, why not be good? You don’t need the right metaphysics to minister to the poor, sick, and orphaned, or to reap the spiritual rewards that come from helping others. And as Mother Teresa also shows, you don’t even need belief in God to be fast-tracked to sainthood.
I agree. But, I’m not sure about the sainthood part. Protestants believe all the faithful are saints, not just a select few. But SOMA is right. You indeed do not have to believe in God to minister to anyone. In fact, those who feel God the least, but feel deeply this loss of Divine Presence, are the ones that are the most Christlike. The ones who claim to know God the most are the least Christlike. This is the paradox of true vs. made-up religion.
I find in reading books about Catholic “saints” that this is a common sentiment, especially among the women. I’ve read Bernadette’s (Song of Bernadette subject) biography, Sr. Faustina’s diary, and now Mother Teresa and all the women were frightened of not being in the presence of God many times. I find this disturbing. Bernadette especially died unsure of her salvation. In fact, she had horrible visions of hell at her death. This is the one thing about Catholicism that I find is not in keeping with the christian scriptures at all, this constant fear of hell. (Arminian vs. Calvin debates discouraged at this point!) If anything can be learned about the biblical writers, especially Paul, it’s that they were assured of their seeing God at death (Rom. 8:38-39; Phil 1:6) Or, maybe only the men were assured and the women were not; women being the worriers that they are. Perhaps it’s a gender thing. But then, we will never know what biblical women thought now will we?