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Leticia Velasquez recommends Mother Teresa’s Secret Fire: The Encounter that Changed Her Life and How It Can Transform Your Own by Father Joseph Langford, M.C.
BY Leticia Velasquez
Mother Teresa’s Secret Fire:
The Encounter that Changed Her
Life and How It Can Transform Your Own
By Rev. Joseph Langford, M.C.
Our Sunday Visitor, 2008
320 pages, $19.95
To order: osv.com
Langford, co-founder with Blessed Teresa of Calcutta of the priestly community
of the Missionaries of Charity, offers an intimate perspective of the
inspiration for Mother Teresa’s worldwide apostolate.
Mother Teresa’s Secret Fire
unwraps the secret of her ability to bring Christ’s light to a darkened world.
More than a biography, this book is
a step-by-step explanation, in simple terms, of her unique and deeply personal
means of relating to Our Lord. If someday Blessed Teresa is declared a doctor
of the church for her spirituality, Mother Teresa’s Secret Fire
will have played an important role in unlocking the secrets of the radiant
beauty of her soul.
The first of three sections in the
book, “Fire in the Night,” describes how Mother Teresa’s path to spiritual
transformation began with a profound experience of Christ at the age of 38. On Sept. 10, 1946, she received “a call
within a call.” This is the catalyst to the radical change in Mother Teresa’s
spirituality and lifestyle. She had always been reluctant to describe this in
detail, yet with his encouragement, Father Langford has her reveal in her own
words what happened in that encounter.
the second section, “Illumination,” Father Langford relies on decades spent at
Mother Teresa’s side to explain the transformation of Sister Teresa the
schoolteacher into Mother Teresa the worldwide missionary. When she served the
poor, she touched them with the irresistible love of Christ, drawing them to him.
On the wall of every Missionaries of Charity chapel is a life-size crucifix
with the words “I thirst.” Satisfying the thirst of Jesus for souls became her
consolation — even when she no longer enjoyed an emotional intimacy with him in
prayer. By the suffering she endured in her inner darkness, she was able to
share the darkness of the souls who did not know the peace of Christ, and this
impelled her to reach out with God’s love even more. People “could feel the
presence of God in Mother Teresa; they intuited her holiness, and were drawn to
Langford explains Mother Teresa’s interior darkness: “But what of reports that
suggested that Mother Teresa had undergone a crisis of faith, or worse, that
her smile and her devotion to God and neighbor were little more than hypocrisy?
Emphatically, Mother Teresa’s dark night was not a ‘crisis of faith,’ nor did
it represent a wavering. Her letters reveal instead her hard-fought victory of
faith, the triumph of faith’s light that shines even in the darkness, for ‘the
darkness has not overcome it.’”
the “Transformation” section, Father Langford goes into detail, explaining the
precise nature of Jesus’ thirst for souls and how to respond to him in deep,
intimate prayer. The reader is offered a powerful means to enter into this
relationship, which made Mother Teresa a saint.
readers may be disappointed by the absence of stunning coffee table book-type
photographs. But the purpose of Mother
Teresa’s Secret Fire is to go
deeper than the photo opportunities into the very soul of the 20th century’s
most popular saint. Father Langford teaches Mother Teresa’s spirituality with
vividly drawn examples from Scripture and the lives of the saints.
will engender spiritual children of Mother Teresa rather than distant admirers.
By faithfully fulfilling his lifelong quest to codify Mother Teresa’s
spirituality, Father Langford has done the Church a great favor, leading souls
in the footsteps of the little saint of the slums.
from Canterbury, Connecticut.