Mother Angelica’s Private and Pithy Lessons From the Scriptures

edited by Raymond Arroyo

Doubleday, 2008

237 pages, $17.95

To order: (212) 782-9000

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With her signature down-to-earth humor and practical advice, the founder of Eternal Word Television Network elaborates on Bible passages in Mother Angelica’s Private and Pithy Lessons From the Scriptures.

Choosing various passages for commentary, she provides lots of food for meditation. Through her interpretation of Scripture, she applies many practical lessons. By relating these passages to our own lives, she brings to light any areas that may have been neglected, dusting off our souls in the process.

Usually, she quotes a Scripture passage, and then offers commentary. After quoting Luke 11:9, she comments, “I think the best way to seek the Lord is to search for him in the mundane duties of the present moment. Don’t stare glumly at those egg-stained dishes that you have to scrape in the morning — see the duty of the present moment. Seek God in those dirty dishes, in that rug that you have to vacuum, in that budget that you have to balance. Seek God in the person who bugs you.”

Other times, she provokes us to think deeper: “In our lives we have the impression that after I have said, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ I’ve got it made. I just walk off and shine my halo every morning before breakfast. ... Boy are we kidding ourselves?”

Sprinkled throughout are tidbits of wisdom, such as, “To me if the Gospel is not nitty-gritty and gutsy, forget it. You need to go out there and live it. The Gospel is your marching orders.”

She reminds those who are feeling discouraged or hopeless of the many biblical heroes who conquered a seemingly insurmountable situation, not through their own power, but because of God’s power: David facing Goliath; Moses opposing Pharaoh.

Mother Angelica’s suggestions on how to read Scripture are inspirational. She encourages us, “If you don’t meditate when you read Scripture, you won’t get the point. You’re reading it like a newspaper. Scriptural meditation is really easy.” She adds, “In every meditation you must do two things: You must use your memory (to express what you already know) and you must use your imagination.”

Her explanation of fasting is priceless. As with all topics, she simplifies it: “What does it mean to fast? It means to do without. It can be food; it can be things. If we fasted from our will, for instance, or from our vanity; those are awesome ways to fast.”

Because the table of contents does not include chapter titles, just section headings (The Old Testament, The New Testament, The Epistles), it is not easy to locate a specific chapter.

But the contents are the important thing: Mother Angelica shares her spunky, fresh take on Scripture reading. Her lighthearted humor keeps the reader turning the pages, yet she teaches us along the way. If you have been hesitant to read Scripture on a deeper level, her suggestions offer wit, wisdom, hope and encouragement.

Elizabeth Yank writes from

South Milwaukee, Wisconsin.