The Passion of Christopher
A Guest Post by Lisa Mladinich
Is it possible that Jesus Christ would approve of Christopher Hitchens’ new article in Newsweek (entitled, “The Dogmatic Doubter,” September 10, 2007)? Our Lord did say, after all, that He despised the lukewarm, “neither hot nor cold,” and Hitchens certainly does not give the appearance of being lukewarm. But what is he in such a red-hot passion about? Poverty? Indifference? Materialism? Why no! The plump provocateur is mad as hell at the cause for sainthood of a little Albanian nun who rose before dawn for over fifty years to pick up and tenderly care for human beings nobody else had the guts to touch. In Hitchens’ scathing indictment of Mother Teresa and what he claims to be a self-serving, hysterical obsession with working off her psychological pathologies he actually calls her “… a confused old lady [who had] for all practical purposes ceased to believe…”
For all practical purposes? For all practical purposes, the Saint of the Gutters got her small, rough hands dirty every single day. For all practical purposes festering sores got cleaned, lonely souls were comforted and withered bodies handled with extraordinary dignity and respect. For all practical purposes, she loved with no emotional payoff for herself. She labored in spiritual darkness with the dedication of a hundred Olympic champions; exhibiting stunning courage, never revealing the slightest glimpse of her own pain. To do so would have aggrandized her and she abhorred anything that detracted from the mission; to bring Christ Himself to the poorest of the poor, the outcast whom no one else would deign to love. Love, Mr. Hitchens should be told, is a verb; the most practical verb in the English language. For all practical purposes, mothers rise in the darkness to nurse their crying infants and delay their own cravings for peace, nourishment and society. Parents rise in darkness to commute to jobs, fighting hard to support their families, while watching their lives slip away in an exhausted blur. Mother Teresa rose before dawn in utter spiritual desolation to faithfully love an endless army of the forgotten, abandoned and unglamorous poor of the world because – in spite of all her doubts – she knew it was right and that for all practical purposes, love demands sacrifice. While others were sleeping it off, she was up and sweating, doing the practical stuff. Hitchens screeches, sneers and slashes at her with more inebrious passion than even his attacks on Michael Moore, who at least deserves it. If he can’t tell the difference between a saint and a political hack, perhaps Mr. Hitchens is working to mask some psychological pathologies of his own. And if, as the incongruity of his claims suggests, there is a lack of integrity at work, his calumnies reveal an even darker image; the egoist attempting to make a saint over in his very own image. In psychology this is called “projecting.” Which, for all his scorching venom, reveals a life – and an equally hollow thesis – that is utterly lukewarm.
Lisa Mladinich is a Catholic wife and mother, writer and religious education teacher living in Huntington, New York. She is the creator of “Paradox Puppets,” a collection of puppet scripts which demonstrate the truths of our faith in a format that engages the minds and hearts of children. Her FREE puppet script ministry is hosted at www.catholicmom.com/puppet.htm.
Related Posts on Catholic Fire:
Fr. Benedict Groeschel: Pressures on the Christian Family and How to Respond to Them – Part II (includes an anecdote on Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta)