Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Saints are people too

I doubt therefore I am...close to God. Mother Teresa knew and didn't know. It is not a sin to not be unwavering.
When we shuffle off this mortal coil, most of us, I presume, would prefer angels and bliss to the alternatives.

Nothing. Or worse.

That’s one reason I’m thrilled that the terribly depressing “God is Not Great,” written by spoil-sport Christopher Hitchens, is headed down the best-seller list. Meanwhile, “Eat, Pray, Love,” Elizabeth Gilbert’s sillier but hopeful mystical-quest-at-the-ashram memoir, remains No. 1 among paperbacks for the 28th week in a row.

It is this eternal question - hopeless vs. hopeful - that made me feel hopeless indeed when I heard that Mother Teresa, of all people, lived life as a Big-Time Doubter. What hope can there be, then, for the rest of us?

But yesterday I took heart.

For nearly three years Gina Scalcione has led a vigil to keep open Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in East Boston. She compared Mother Teresa to Doubting Thomas, the apostle who practically lived with Christ yet doubted his Resurrection.

“So why can’t Mother Teresa have doubts?” Besides, she said, “Every time I lose my car keys I pray to St. Anthony, the patron saint of finding things, and I find them,” says Gina, “and he didn’t do much, compared to Teresa.”

The Rev. Bob Bowers, who lost his own Charlestown parish and now serves at downtown’s Paulist Center, said he “identified with Teresa for the first time ever today, a fellow seeker like I am, filled with questions. I’m in good company.
She was asking the right questions and found the right answer.
Meanwhile Hitchens is still probably looking for his keys.

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