December 23, 2005

All About Mother Angelica, Foundress of EWTN

Recently I have received notification that my original essay for the Mother Angelica Book Contest made me a winner, and so I will share it with all of you. Feel free to weigh in your opinions, but keep it harmless!

It is 6:59 p.m., with only 30 seconds before the airing of another of Mother’s Live Classics. The sun is starting to set, leaving bands of red, orange and pink streaming across the sky. The pine forest is darkening, and crickets are chirping, frogs are croaking and dogs are resting from the hot, humid day. I arrive in my bedroom, after eagerly climbing every other step of the stairway. There is a prevailing sense of excitement, and yet the feeling of peace in the Lord’s presence is shared with it.

This is the typical Tuesday evening for a Catholic teenager who had just moved away from his hometown of 17 years, away from the friendliness of a Catholic high school and a parish named after Holy Father St. Francis. He came to his weekly lesson of the Faith, of its morals and of living his life in Christ, all taught by a living saint known by the name of Mother Angelica. He is beside himself with the amazement that she didn’t complete a single credit hour in college, and yet that was one of the reasons why she became so learned. It was not in the knowledge of the world that she dwelled, but it was the holy Trinity that gave her the abundant graces necessary to reach the ends of the earth as a global beacon of the Light of Christ.

Which is why I am so inspired to follow her lead in life, prayer and service to God. Our Lady said “Yes” to cooperate with God’s will and give birth to the Savior of mankind. Two thousand years later, the humble Rita Rizzo answered “Yes” to the Lord and eventually, as it were, gave birth as Mother Angelica to the “Network of Miracles” (and the name did have a purpose, because she had to bear the crosses of keeping the Christ child alive, you could say). But the miracles not only allowed the network to keep on running and extend its reach, they also helped me keep on running in my relationship with the Lord. If He did not send the gift of Mother’s life into the world, it would have been that much more difficult for me to do the above in my own life.

When I look into her life and think of the many things she has done for the Lord (and continues to do, even in her infirmity), the one observation that comes to mind is her unwavering trust in Divine Providence. She knows that with the grace of God and the will to trust in Him, she can go against all odds to do His will. For me, her example of holiness inspires me to do the same, especially while we are both living in the Bible Belt. And even though she can barely speak right now, she continues to show that all things are possible through God. Her message at the 25th Anniversary Kickoff Show was simple, yet profound; it spoke volumes about her wish for every soul to be united together in love, faith and prayer. And she has certainly done so, from the building of her monastery to the successful coverage of World Youth Day 2005.

Mother Angelica is one of the many blessings in my life, even though I have known of her for only a year. Given everything that I know about her, I am in such awe and wonder of Divine Providence. No words could fully express my gratitude for her, an extraordinary nun doing extraordinary things for His sake. But I have this to say: I thank her for giving us the powerful means to grow closer to God, for her tenacity in carrying out her global mission, and for her first “yes,” the fiat that saved souls.

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