Wednesday, March 16, 2016
The news is out, the late Roman Catholic nun known as Mother Teresa of Calcutta will be declared a saint on September 4th of this year. This is certainly a significant acknowledgment by the Church of a remarkable woman with a passionate desire to care for the lowliest of Indian society. Her 4,500 Sisters of Charity carry out the work she began as an individual and one of their vows is to give "wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor."
I deeply admire Mother Teresa but not everyone does. The late Christopher Hitchens despised her, but he had a hate on for all things and people religious, it would seem. In India there are lingering criticisms that she did not respect the culture in her efforts to proselytize. And others feel that she took an authoritarian approach to leadership that was less than Christian.
Don't you figure this is what happens in a culture where we know just about everything about anybody who is anybody. And we have developed such weird values anyway. Some defend the right of celebs such as Kim Kardashian to post naked pictures of herself with such vigour you might think she had achieved something heroic. Sport stars are virtually worshipped no matter how reprehensible their personal behaviour. Released by one team for beating up your partner? It's okay, you'll catch on somewhere else.
Even though I have served three "saint" congregations and enjoy speaking about the Celtic saints I wish we would dispense with the notion of sainthood as a form of spiritual superstardom.We're told that sainthood has actually become a business, and a rather suspect, money-driven one at that.
I prefer the apostle Paul's notion that we are all saints when we are Christ's people, in our frailties and our faithfulness.
Should we just "go commando" when it comes to saints? Maybe we are better off going saintless.