“Even deep down there is nothing but emptiness and darkness. If there be God — please forgive me.” Guess who said that? No not OJ, freakin’ Mother Teresa. Nobel Peace Prize winning Mother freaking Teresa without a doubt wins emo of year because of that and many other statements discovered in letters she wrote throughout her life.
Dozens of these letters, that have recently been resurfaced, indicate that Mother Teresa doubted the existence of God and the foundation of her faith during her 66 years as a Catholic nun. The glossed “Saint of the Gutters” spent her life serving the poor and sick of Calcutta until her death in 1997 at age 87. Millions if not billions of people have heard and have been moved by her benevolence during which she wrote letters stating: “Such deep longing for God - and ... repulsed - empty - no faith - no love - no zeal. (Saving) souls holds no attraction -- Heaven means nothing -- pray for me please that I keep smiling at Him in spite of everything.” It is believed she went to her grave with these thoughts.
After her death, Pope John Paul II helped send Mother Teresa down the fast lane to canonization (becoming a Saint). She is currently only a few steps shy and now these letters surface. So now what? What’s going to change? My guess: either nothing or now there is an even stronger argument to make her a Saint.
After the appearance of these letters, some thought she was doomed. I even saw one dude on TV saying she is going to hell. Uh…no, fuck face. Catholic officials around the globe have come out to get Teresa’s back including Cardinal Julian Herranz, the former president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts (the Vatican\'s top canon-law body). He explained it best comparing her to all the other Saints who doubt their faith in their lives. It’s pretty common in the Bible too. Christ doubted God’s will, “God, why have you forsaken me?” Even JON BON JOVI questioned in “Hey God.”
[I swear I have a point here somewhere.]
So what is to learn from this? Obviously this shows that it is okay to doubt, but even more prevalent is the lesson in altruism. Doing good for the sake of doing good and not for a God, Heaven, or religion is truly the greatest deed on Earth. Of course doing any good, even for an award, is still amazing. Yet, there’s something about altruism that is just truly awe inspiring. Mother Teresa doubted the merit behind all her labors, so why did she continue for 66 years? Altruism. She sacrificed her life to the service of others, and has become one of the most selfless, charitable people of our time.
Believers and nonbelievers need to follow her example. How often do we act for our own gain? How often do we give and expect something in return? (I’m guilty of this.) We truly know who we are as people when we are called to sacrifice. When we have to give up our money, time, love to another for no gain, we sacrifice. This is one of the greatest virtues a person can have.
For the believers reading this, try to picture a John Lennon “Imagine” kind of world where there is no Heaven, no Hell, no God. Imagine if you can. Let’s say hypothetically that God was proven to not exist and there wasn’t shadow of a doubt in your mind that there is no God and the entire Bible is a falsehood. Certainly we are who we are because of what we have learned in our religions, but if you knew now that it is all a lie how would you act? Who would you be? Remember that Jewel song, “Who Will Save Your Soul?” Recall the lines: “So we pray to as many different gods as there are flowers / But we call religion our friend / We're so worried about saving our souls / Afraid that God will take his toll / That we forget to begin.” You can’t hide behind your religion and call yourself a good person. If you are striped of your faith, who would you be? My challenge to you is to question who you are. What would change? Everything or nothing?