Book Review: Mother Teresa’s Secret Fire

Book Review: Mother Teresa’s Secret Fire December 12, 2008

Just in time yet for a Christmas present under the tree, I recommend the book Mother Teresa’s Secret Fire: The Encounter that Changed Her Life and Can Change Your Own by Joseph Langford.

Fr. Joseph is the priest who with Mother Teresa co-founded the Missionaries of Charity Fathers. Thus, he knows her well and has a unique authority to tell her story, one that went untold for a very long time.

Anyone who has ever read about Mother Teresa or watched movies on her, or who has actually met her, will know that no matter where she built a chapel there were always two fixtures: Jesus Crucified and the words “I thirst” directly next to the crucifix. I must say, over the years I have read about her, I always wondered why, of all the words she could have chosen, she chose “I thirst.”

Fr. Joseph explains why in the brilliant, reflective, spiritually charged, yet easy to read book, about why a Sister of Loretto one day on an every day train ride, changed her life forever. According to Fr, Mother Teresa told him that she had a mystical experience with God. Jesus invited Mother Teresa to experience his deep, unending Thirst for humanity. He let her experience his deep yearning and Love he has for each one of us. A love that he fulfills on the Cross in his simple words of “I Thirst.” Those words are not just about a bodily need, but as Mother Teresa discovers, Christ’s need for His Spouse, His people.

The book is an explanation of why Mother felt like she only had one choice but to reveal for the rest of her life to others how much God loved them. He especially called her to the ones who MOST felt rejected by God because of their pain, their suffering, their poverty, the ugliness that surrounded them.

I have not yet read Mother Teresa’s diary, but to me, this book explains not only why Mother Teresa lived as heroically as she did, but also why she experienced the deep darkness–the spiritual desert– in the form she did. She not only had the vision of the Trinity’s Divine Eternal Thirst for our love, but she LIVED the Divine bodily Thirst. Her life was the prophetic, living out, of that Desert Thirst in both forms.
Buy this book. Give it to someone in need of Love. Buy one for yourself and let Jesus’ “I Thirst” challenge you.


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  • RCM

    It’s always good to see books like this — which, if people read this one, they will understand better the misquoted texts of Mother Teresa. In reality, the spiritual darkness is shared by many of the greatest saints — because they are so intune to the work of Christ, they also share, in part, his descent into hades (something we must all do, one day).

  • Mother Teresa is a saint in that she was obedient even in her dark times. For me, it is very easy to give all to God when He makes His presence known and touches my heart with His grace and lovingkindness. If not for that, where would I be? If He did not respond so quickly to my cries for help, I’d be lost. But Mother Teresa daily, hourly, followed Him and depended upon His strength even when she did not feel Him. Now THAT takes courage and faith!! When I am filled with sorrow for the lost of this world, and my tears feel like they will suffocate me, God always knows how much I can bear and His Holy Spirit strengthens and renews me every time. He is faithful.