A Reflection on the Life of Mother Angelica
God’s timing is something else, or as Mother Angelica would often say, “God’s timing is always perfect.” Her passing on Easter Sunday, the Feast of Feasts, is somewhat perfect. For a woman who did so much to bring the Good News to the world, to die on the day that marks that supreme Good News…well…that is pretty great timing.
If you are like me, I was never fortunate enough to meet Mother Angelica and yet she lives one with a feeling like I personally knew her. Her personality was so tangible even through a television set. Her impact on our personal lives, for many of us, perhaps cannot be measured.
Here I just want to share a few of my memories of Mother and the profound impact she had on me.
Many remember the 1993 live tirade during World Youth Day. Every once in a while I like to pull it up and just watch it for fun. As a teenager entering my senior year of high school I attended that WYD in Denver. I remember coming home and my mother reporting to me what Mother Angelica had said. For many in America, 1993 WYD and Mother’s lecture were a tilting point where the world seemed to change forever.
My colleagues, Tony Brandt, Hector Molina and I have been blessed to be on EWTN several times (Tony and I on Life on the Rock and Women of Grace and Hector on EWTN Live with Fr. Pacwa). Before the show the guest is placed in the “green room” to get ready and powder down your face (or in Tony’s case his entire head). Then if you are lucky, they will remind you that this ‘green room’ was Mother Angelica’s old office…the very office where she was healed and able to walk without crutches. I will never forget seating in that room thinking of that moment of healing.
This past year Tony and I went fulltime with Casting Nets Ministries. That decision was one of the most difficult I have ever faced. Not only was I leaving a job that I truly loved in teaching, but to be honest it was a scary financial decision as well. The money was not in the bank account for Casting Nets thus in a very real sense making the decision was one of launching out into the deep.
Many times throughout my discernment of this fulltime decision, stories of Mother Angelica would come to mind, you know those stories of miraculous providence. Like when she ordered a satellite COD without the money, yet in the very last moment a benefactor wired the money she needed.
In Raymond Arroyo’s biography of Mother Angelica she said, “You want to do something for the Lord….do it. Whatever you feel needs to be done, even though you’re shaking in your boots, you’re scared to death – take the first step forward. The grace comes with that one step and you get the grace as you step. Being afraid is not a problem; it’s doing nothing when you’re afraid” (pg 151).
“He expects me to operate on a faith level, not a knowledge level. He expects me to operate – if I don’t have the money, if I don’t have the brains, if I don’t have the talent – in faith. You know what faith is? Faith is one foot on the ground, one foot in the air, and a queasy feeling in the stomach” (pg 153).
We took that step and while the queasy feeling has gone away (which I think is a good sign according to Mother) the bills have been paid.
Thank you Mother Angelica for your witness. If we all could be more like her, as bold, as faithful, as joyful and as strong; how many more people would have the opportunity to hear the Good News of Christ. If we could only become a dodo like Mother Angelica!!!!
“I am convinced God is looking for dodoes. He found one: me! There are a lot of smart people out there who know it can’t be done, so they don’t do it. But a dodo doesn’t know it can’t be done. God uses dodoes: people who are willing to look ridiculous so God can do the miraculous” (pg 149).
Eternal rest grant unto her, O’ Lord. And let the perpetual light shine upon her. Amen
Co-founder & Chief Operating Officer (and aspiring dodoe)
Casting Nets Ministries