On the PBS News Hour with Jim Lehrer, Richard Rodriguez had a powerful essay about Mother Teresa's anguish over what she considered the weakness of her faith, which has led some militant atheists to crow that they were right all along, and that she was a hypocrite. Rodriguez said that the contrary is true - that not only did many great Christian saints wrestle with doubt, "the dark night of the soul," but Jesus Himself, on the Cross, cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Although Mother Teresa did not want these private letters and journals published, the Mother Teresa Foundation decided to print them, believing that they could help others who struggle with doubt. Mother Teresa believed, Rodriguez said, that if she were ever a saint, she would be a saint for people in darkness.
This resonates with me. To me, a faith that faces doubt and goes on believing, having faced doubt full in the face, is far more vibrant than faith which never knows doubt. Dostoievski said, "My faith is not that of a child, for it was forged in a furnace of doubt." And the experience of these great believers resonates with mine as an obscure one. I have had blessings which made me feel, at the time, that it was literally impossible for me ever to doubt again - and though I once was puzzled why I received such blessings, I now realize that God's mercy gives blessings to those who need them, which may be the opposite of those who would merit them. But despite these blessings, they did not prevent, at later times, darkness closing in, and the terror of wondering if I might be deceiving myself surrounding me.
Saint Therese of Lisieux, considered by some the greatest modern saint, was tormented by horrible doubts almost until shortly before her death. And Julian of Norwich, in her book of mystic revelations, tells of how just after each of the moments of amazing ecstasy she received from God, diabolical temptations to despair and surrendeing to emptiness swept over her.
To me, the fact that Mother Teresa is like modern humanity as a whole in not having been able to escape the darkness, but persisting in believing in the Light despite that - and, far, far, far more importantly than believing, acting to share the Light with others, even if she doubted it herself, for their sakes - does not make her a hypocrite, but a heroine whose heroism is an exemplar of the heroism of so many modern people who also have outstared the darkness.