In my imagination, I see Mother Teresa as she is portrayed in the movie The Letters. I experience her footsteps, guided by the celestial “order” on a life covered in poverty.
“A, B, C, D”: Mother Teresa was a cloistered nun who dedicated her life to ministering to the poor. She was the founder of the Congregation of the Missionaries of Charity. And yet, “she suffered greatly stemming from her belief that she had been abandoned by God.” That is the message of The Letters: The Untold Story of Mother Teresa.
God called Mother Teresa to give children “possibility,” to create a place of healing for the sick, and yet Mother Teresa was disheartened emotionally. “Her spiritual suffering—the darkness she lived was a central element of who she was . . ..” Her service was her prayer: “Dear God, I know you want me to be a free nun covered with the poverty of the cross, but I have been experiencing doubt.”
As I witness The Letters, I ask my own question: Why would God lead the woman who would be known as Blessed Mother of Calcutta (Kolkata) into such unholy streets to minister? Fragmented answers: maybe poverty has a vein of holiness. As I meditate on the music in The Letters, I find myself reflectively moved by Mother Teresa’s unwavering commitment to the poor. I try to locate the beauty in poverty. Although the movie compels reflection, for me, there is no beauty in poverty–No beauty at all!
What was Mother Teresa dedicated to?
In my imagination, Mother Teresa was not dedicated to the poor; she served out of obedience to the God of the poor—not the poverty of the poor. That is what inspired her work in the slums. That is what drove her to found the Congregation of the Missionaries of Charity. The vow of the nuns as portrayed in the movie speaks, hums, and whispers to my soul: “We vow to care for the hungry, the naked, and the homeless, the cripple, the blind, the lepers– all those people who feel unloved . . ..”
Mother Teresa told a reporter seeking to interview her that she was simply “ . . . a pencil in God’s hands.” What a servant-pencil!
I am having a collard greens’ moment. It owns reflection to The Letters: the Untold Story of Mother Teresa, a movie capturing the life of a woman who delivered life as prayer to the world. Mother Teresa worked beautifully in the worldwide vineyard; I pray she is resting well!