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Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light

Product no.: 978-0307589231
During her lifelong service to the poorest of the poor, Mother Teresa became an icon of compassion to people of all religions.

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Publisher's Synopsis
Little is known, however, about her own spiritual heights or her struggles. This collection of letters she wrote to her spiritual advisors over decades, almost all of which have never been made public before, sheds light on Mother Teresa's interior life in a way that reveals the depth and intensity of her holiness for the first time.

A moving chronicle of her spiritual journey–including moments, indeed years, of utter desolation–these letters reveal the secrets she shared only with her closest confidants. She emerges as a classic mystic whose inner life burned with the fire of charity and whose heart was tested and purified by an intense trial of faith, a true dark night of the soul.

"Come Be My Light is that rare thing, a posthumous autobiography that could cause a wholesale reconsideration of a major public figure – one way or another. It raises questions about God and faith, the engine behind great achievement, and the persistence of love, divine and human. That it does so not in any organized, intentional form but as a hodgepodge of desperate notes not intended for daylight should leave readers only more convinced that it is authentic – and that they are, somewhat shockingly, touching the true inner life of a modern saint."      ~David Van Biema, Time Magazine

"Personal struggles with faith fuel great literature and grand theater, especially when the chronicles concern high-profile figures. Brian Kolodiejchuk, M.C., director of the Mother Teresa Center and postulator of Mother Teresa's cause for sainthood, has pulled together one such account with his unusual new book, Mother Teresa, Come Be My Light.

A mixed bag of biography, correspondence, journalism, and history, this noteworthy volume unveils its subject's clandestine affliction. For the last 50 years of her life, Mother Teresa (1910-1997) suffered a sense of abandonment by God, a 'darkness' that began just after her order, the Missionaries of Charity, was launched in India in 1948. This literary mosaic assembles pieces of her private correspondence, her personal essays, and her public addresses with the author's reports and interpretive analysis.

Kolodiejchuk's technique proves effective in building a context around her letters, although Mother Teresa's plaintive eloquence could stand alone in many instances. Her letters to trusted clergy startle with revelations of an inner spiritual agony and sing with simplicity in their entreaties for guidance. The interpretative discourse, though far from pedantry, periodically slips into redundancy.

One senses gaps in her edited letters, and there are traces of patronizing tones evident in several responses from confessors dismissing her plight as a sign of God's favor. Mother Teresa's troubles were kept from all but a few clergy, and she never allowed them to cast a pall on her cheerful performance or to grow into a physical or mental debility (as in clinical depression). She eventually accepted the dour darkness as a longing for God and a sign of solidarity with her rejected poor. In 1979 her heroic work was honored with the Nobel Prize for Peace. By the time she was in her late eighties, Mother Teresa's missionaries labored in 77 countries, many of them well beyond the borders of Christendom.

The central concern surrounding this bittersweet book, of course, is the publication of material that Mother Teresa offered in confidence to her superiors. She repeatedly begged for her personal correspondence to be destroyed, and her words indicated hope that her requests would be honored. Readers may struggle to understand why her personal shroud of anguish is now laid bare before a world so voyeuristic that even the most innocuous thoughts, words, and deeds of famous people are savaged by misinterpretations. Kolodiejchuk sums up his justifications for denying Mother Teresa's requests for privacy in this sentence: 'Her spiritual directors decided to preserve these documents for future generations, offering a precious testimony of Mother Teresa's unique holiness.' This may be so, but such a position pales beside the majesty of a singular truth: It is by her fruits that we have known her, and it is by her fruits that future generations will fully receive her precious testimony. Requiescat in pace."       ~New Oxford Review

“I will continually be absent from heaven—to light the light of those in darkness on earth.”

"For me, the silence and the emptiness is so great, that I look and do not see,—Listen and do not hear—the tongue moves but does not speak."

"Such deep longing for God—and … repulsed—empty—no faith—no love—no zeal.—[The saving of] Souls holds no attraction—Heaven means nothing."

"What do I labor for? If there be no God—there can be no soul—if there is no Soul then Jesus—You also are not true."

"Do not think that my spiritual life is strewn with roses—that is the flower which I hardly ever find on my way. Quite the contrary, I have more often as my companion 'darkness.' And when the night becomes very thick—and it seems to me as if I will end up in hell—then I simply offer myself to Jesus. If He wants me to go there—I am ready—but only under the condition that it really makes Him happy. I need much grace, much of Christ’s strength to persevere in trust, in that blind love which leads only to Jesus Crucified. But I am happy—yes happier than ever. And I would not wish at any price to give up my sufferings. But do not, however, think that I am only suffering. Ah no— I am laughing more than I am suffering—so that some have concluded that I am Jesus’ spoiled bride, who lives with Jesus in Nazareth—far away from Calvary… Pray, pray much for me—I really need His love."

Mother Teresa (1910–1997) was born in Skopje (present-day Macedonia) and joined the Sisters of Loreto in Dublin in 1928. She left the Loreto order in 1948 to begin the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta. Her service to the poorest of the poor became her life’s work. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and was beatified in 2003.

Editor of Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light, Brian Kolodiejchuk, MC, PhD, was associated with Mother Teresa for twenty years and is now director of the Mother Teresa Center, which has offices in California, Mexico, India, and Italy.

Editor Kolodiejchuk, M.C., Brian
Author Teresa, Mother
Commentary Kolodiejchuk, M.C., Brian
Book Type Trade Paperback
Page Count 416 pp.
Publisher Image Books 2009
Browse these categories as well: The Church: Doctors, Saints and Mystics, Spiritual Biography and Autobiography, Holy Woman and High Priestess, Noteworthy Releases 2009

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