Sunday, September 18, 2016
Mother Angelica Has Done Her Part. What About You?
EWTN celebrated the life of Mother Angelica at this years Family Celebration in Birmingham, Alabama. Thankfully I was able to spend some time there on Saturday and Sunday attending some of the talks. This Sunday afternoon Fr. Wade Menezes and Raymond Arroyo gave some great talks on Mother Angelica's life and the work she had done with EWTN. Many converts like myself watched Mother Angelica's shows and took away from them many practical lessons on how to live the Catholic faith. Many of us are grateful for how much she has done for us by giving us a great Catholic media outlet. I think that few of us realize how much she did for us and the Church over the final 15 years of her life when she lived out of the public eye.
Raymond's talk was very interesting because he gave some insight into the contemplative life of Mother. Since most of us equate her with her television appearances it is easy for us to forget that she was a cloistered contemplative nun. Although much her public life was known for getting the network off the ground and putting solid Catholic programming together Mother spent much of her time conversing with God. In fact, in her final 15 years she spent most of that time suffering in the after affects of a stroke, where she could not speak most of the time. This is where Raymond points out that this is where Mother was actually the most effective, and in fact may have carried out her most important work. She suffered greatly during this time, yet she grew closer to Christ and spent much of the time praying for the continued success of the Network.
The lesson I learned here is that I always tend to equate "success" with doing material things, and quickly forget that we only fulfill our part by doing God's will. This can only be done first by much prayer no matter what state or situation He has given to us. It is human nature to always be thinking that when our situation becomes ideal we will then do something. It is easy to say "When I retire I will pray more" or "When I get around to it I will learn more about my faith." We sometimes overlook the fact that prayer and contemplation is expected of us no matter where we may be in our life. Our job or other affairs often distract us from our participation in the prayer life of the Church. Mother Angelica has taught us to be courageous in our faith by engaging both the physical and the spiritual. It was actually her spiritual life that allowed her to build EWTN. When Mother was not able to continue being physically involved with EWTN she humbly accepted her physically debilitated state and sought to continue her efforts in the manner and situation God put her in. Although her efforts were no longer visible, God was doing amazing things behind the scenes. So we too must do our part no matter what situation we may find ourselves. Before we are truly able to do the will of God, we must first of all be men and women of prayer. I give thanks to God for that little Italian nun who with great tenacity taught us how to love God and seek to carry out His will. Mother did her part and then some. What about you?
EWTN will soon be airing all of the talks that were held at the Family Celebration this weekend. Grab a copy of Raymond's new book to read about Mother's final years.