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Mother Teresa: Holiness in the Dark
There is a problem in the life of holiness that for many does not arise at all, for some emerges intermittently, but for a certain number—more, I suspect, than ever acknowledge it in any public way—is virtually lifelong. It is the problem of felt abandonment by God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, within the frame of full commitment to God: in other words, the desolation and seeming desertion of the deeply devoted. The case of Mother Teresa, founder of the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta in 1950 and their leader till her death in 1997 at the age of 87, has recently highlighted this perplexing reality, and the easiest way to present the problem is to review her story.
Darkness: the Personal Distress
Born Gonxha Agnes Bojaxhiu in Skopje, Yugoslavia (now part of the Republic of Macedonia), she loved Jesus and wanted to be a missionary from a very early age. At 18 she left for Ireland to join the Sisters of Loreto, an education-oriented community whose work in India she hoped to share. She went to Calcutta as a Loreto Sister the following year, 1929. She became a nun, Sister Mary Teresa (later, as head of a missionary order, Mother Mary Teresa) in 1931. She took the name Teresa from St. Therese of Lisieux. In 1946, so she reported, Jesus Christ her Lord called her into slum work. “Come be my light” to the sick, the dying, beggars and street children, was what she was sure he was saying to her...
J.I. Packer, Author, (1926 – 2020), known for his best-selling book, Knowing God, as well as his work as an editor for the English Standard Version of the Bible. He was a signer on the 1978 Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, a member on the advisory board of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, and also was involved in the ecumenical book Evangelicals and Catholics Together in 1994. His last teaching position was as the board of governors' Professor of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. He was awarded the St. Cuthbert's Cross at the Provincial Assembly of ACNA on 27 June 2014 for his "unparalleled contribution to Anglican and global Christianity."