Mother Angelica Shares the Blessings of Reading Scripture
BOOK PICK: ‘Living the Scriptures’
LIVING THE SCRIPTURES
By Mother Angelica, edited by Daniel Hopkins
EWTN Publishing, Inc., 2021
150 pages, $17.95
To order: EWTNRC.com or (800) 854-6316
Do you ever wish someone might teach you how to read the Gospels, how to meditate on Scripture, or how to open your eyes to the riches of God’s word?
Through Living the Scriptures, a compilation of chapters based on content from Mother Angelica’s EWTN television program by the same name, and edited by Daniel Hopkins, Mother Angelica does just that.
In these pages, Mother doesn’t share a particular system of meditation, but rather shares the benefits of a careful reading of Scripture united to prayer, attentive to how the Lord might be calling the individual to enter into dialogue with a passage, not as a mere intellectual exercise but as a call upon one’s life — at times a challenging one!
She slows down one’s reading of Scripture, drawing attention to particular details, and even surprising ones, present in the passage. Through the chapters of this book, each devoted to a distinct New Testament passage (at times more than one) and with a particular focus on the Gospels, one not only encounters the Scriptures with a fresh perspective, but also the Person of Christ and the various personalities of the apostles.
Sometimes in being presented with the same passages of Scripture over and over again, we can lack the proper sensitivity and receptivity to what the Lord, in his word, is placing before us. Here, Mother Angelica, in her typical bold proclamation of truth, doesn’t shy away from waking up her audience with such challenging words as the following addressed to ministers and priests:
“I know some of you ministers and priests really advise people to do sinful things just to please them. You don’t say what the Church teaches, because you’re afraid. … Why don’t you ask the Lord to give you the courage to stand alone if you have to, but to tell the truth with love and compassion?” (p. 136).
One passage particularly applicable in the difficulties of living through a pandemic is the following:
“When you think you’ve been pushed to a point when you can’t take it anymore, you cry out to Him and He’s going to say the same thing to you. ‘Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid’” (p. 81, citing Mark 6:50).
Rather than share some favorite quotes, here are some further incentives to “Pick up and read” (a nod to St. Augustine’s account in his Confessions of his conversion to Christianity after he hears a child’s voice tell him to read from Scriptures). In Living the Scriptures, Mother Angelica shares whom she names as “an apostle who gives us great courage and strength” and why (p. 3), which Gospel she “think[s] next to John” is her “favorite Gospel” (p. 75), what she considers “one of the saddest passages in Scripture” (p. 89), and even how those who watch Mother on EWTN are given a particular mission “to go and multiply” and how this is to be done (p. 39).
Along the way, readers will encounter action items, little suggestions of simple prayers and even significant challenges, such as the call to “[b]e a person of the present moment” (p. 146) or to “confess your sins and get them forgiven” in confession, “hear[ing] from Jesus, ‘I forgive you’” (p. 61). Even the raising of Lazarus, the topic of the last chapter of this book, is shared in such a way that it has an implication regarding “how we can apply this to our daily lives” (p. 140).
Why should one read Living the Scriptures?
Mother Angelica invites the reader to encounter the Person of Jesus in his word and his call on the reader’s life.