On September 4th, 2016, Pope Francis will canonize Mother Teresa a Saint. When she died in 1997, it didn’t take long for Pope John Paul II to waive the five-year waiting process to become a Saint. He along with the rest of the world recognized her as a modern day saint, she was beatified in 2003. Soon after her beatification, Missionary of Charity Fr.Brian Kolodiejchuk published her letters in a book titled “Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light.” This book took everyone by surprise when it revealed she had suffered for many years what some call the “dark night of the soul” or the “absence of God.”
This was a shocking revelation to many and increased the cause of her sainthood. It also proved to us, laity, that we too could follow in her footsteps. It may explain why her order Missionaries of Charity which started with 12 sisters in 1950 have increased in numbers throughout the world. There are now 5, 161 sisters and 416 brothers, and a movement of lay missionaries of charity. The Missionaries of Charity serve with sincere passion the poorest of the poor, the unwanted of society, the homeless, the hungry, the diseased, and the dying.
Pope Francis on August 21, during the Angelus address, reflected on Matthew 7:13
New Living Translation
“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.”
He said, “the gate to salvation is narrow but open, Jesus Himself is the door. Why is it narrow? “It is a narrow door not because it is oppressive – no, but because it asks us to restrict and limit our pride and our fear, to open ourselves with humble and trusting heart to Him, recognizing ourselves as sinners, in need of his forgiveness,”“For this, it is narrow: to contain our pride, which bloats us.”
Mother Teresa certainly embodies the way to enter the narrow gate with humility. Especially, given the fact she didn’t feel the presence of Jesus in her life and continued to press on with her mission. There was no ego holding her back pointing her toward the wide gate, and I am confident in my spirit, Mother Teresa felt Jesus when she held the dying babies. She felt Jesus when she touched the lepers and soothed their wounds. When she fed the hungry, hugged the lonely, and housed the homeless.
Mother Teresa had an unquenchable thirst for Jesus and found him in the face of the poor and discarded. She traveled down dangerous roads risking her life to find them and give them her love. She gave love so naturally and generously that the poor was able to see the face of God in her face, as she radiated Him to them. The truth may be that Mother Teresa could not feel Jesus because she was not expecting Him to be submerged so deeply within her.
The canonization of Mother Teresa is and exemplary way to approach the end of the Year of Mercy honoring a woman who worked so tirelessly in the works of mercy. There are many stories to be told about Mother Teresa and I could not possibly write them all in this blog. I will end by sharing with you the miracle that sealed her canonization.