Mother Angelica on Suffering and Burnout
EWTN’s recently-released ‘Mother Angelica on Suffering and Burnout’ is written by someone who truly understands those two topics.
It was difficult for me to imagine a book by Mother Angelica on suffering and burnout.
That’s not because she didn’t work hard – she most certainly did. It’s because she was always so filled with energy and vitality that I couldn’t imagine her ever reaching the point of burning out. She was always so filled to overflowing with joy that I couldn’t imagine her succumbing to the weight of suffering. And I couldn’t imagine her writing about suffering and burnout that would be from the perspective of someone who really knew what it was like to experience those things.
I was wrong.
EWTN’s recently-released Mother Angelica on Suffering and Burnout is written by someone who truly understands those two topics. It’s packed with spiritual nuggets that address suffering and burnout and get deep into the heart of the matter – you.
Mother Angelica on Suffering and Burnout (EWTN Religious Catalog, $15.00) is a 288-page volume that contains six ”mini-books” written by Mother Angelica and published by Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in the 1970s. Mother Angelica wrote each book by hand on a pad of paper while adoring our Lord in Eucharistic Adoration in the monastery’s chapel. The manuscript received minor stylistic editing, so its content comes directly from EWTN’s foundress and spiritual mother without significant changes.
The included books are His Silent Presence, Jesus Needs Me, Dawn the on the Mountain: The Gift of Dryness in Prayer, His Pain – Like Mine, Spiritual Hangovers, and The Healing Power of Suffering. By the mid-1970s, the Nuns of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery were printing upwards of 25,000 copies of Mother Angelica’s mini-books and others per day. This operation would one day lead to the creation of EWTN – the Eternal Word Television Network.
While the book certainly can be read cover-to-cover, I preferred to open it randomly and be surprised by what I would find on the page. Below are a few of the treasures I found within.
His Silent Power
“… When man initiates any kind of change, he does so with great fanfare and confusion – but Infinite Love initiates and accomplishes the transformation of finite human beings into sons of God, through Grace – in powerful silence.
“If we spin anything around, or move a gear to turn a mortar, it is done with great effort and noise – but God has the earth and planets spinning, revolving, and moving forward at fantastic speeds – and quite silence.
“We are creatures of sound and noise, and we find it difficult to communicate with and in silence. But God works silently: His Grace is silent and imperceptible; His sustaining Power is silent; His Providence is silent; His daily miracles of creation are silent; His Mighty Hand, as it guides nations and men, is silent; and His Presence surrounding us, like the air we breathe, is silent.
“It follows then, that since we, as creatures, are noisy, and He, as God, is silent, we must communicate on His level, in His way, in His Light, as intelligent human beings. It is in our soul that we resemble Him, so it must be in the soul that our union with God, as Spirit, is accomplished.
“Our lives resemble a search, a hunt for the pearl of great price, and all our thoughts and actions must be geared towards the finding of the treasure we seek.”
Dryness Leads to Detachment
“Attachments to spiritual experiences lead to spiritual gluttony. We seek consolations, become disconsolate without them, jealous of those who possess them, and are never satisfied with God’s plan in our lives. We demand from God or bring upon ourselves consolations the fruit of which is a repugnance for suffering in any form. We run from the pruning hand of the Father, and in so doing deprive our souls consolations at the heights of prayer. We are not willing to give up the sweetness of being aware of the Presence of God for the growth of Faith in our lives.”
“The Christian who is unafraid to admit his Personal Sufferings will hear the Voice of God speaking to his soul. The pruning may be bitter, but the dead branches will be cut away as the Vinedresser lightens the weight of the cross we carry.”
These are just three examples of the nugget after nugget after nugget of wisdom in the pages of Mother Angelica’s book. The more I read, the more I realized how wrong I had been to assume that Mother couldn’t have experienced suffering and burnout on such a deep level.
Truly, a book such as this could only be written by someone who absolutely understands the subject matter and is able to joyfully and fruitfully relay it to others.
A must read.