Friday, December 21, 2007

Mother Angelica - Nun, Saint, CEO

I just finished Raymond Arroyo's MOTHER ANGELIA: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and a Network of Miracles.

I'm late reading this remarkable book about a even more remarkable woman. I guess I didn't expect much more than platitudes of an employee about his employer. Big mistake.

The book reads more dramatically than the best crime mystery. And there are crimes in this book, if not by the liberal bishops of the Catholic Church (why can't the Vatican dismiss them as rebellious children they are) or the mafia syndicate bosses Mother gets to fund and build her projects.

But led of God like none other, she is as John Paul II called her has he gripped her face and wimple "The Grand Chief! The Grand Chief!" He couldn't straighten out the liberal church in America, but the nun with only a high school education could.

During the last 1/2 of the book, I felt that if the Catholic Church hierarchy and it's membership in America was 1/2 as true to Christ's calling as this woman was, the anti-Catholic bigotry by some few radical Protestants, and ignorant pagans, would be silenced. The American Catholic Church, in many ways, deserves the bad press it gets. I saw it growing up in Dearborn, MI, I've experienced it in the halls of conferences with arrogant priests who refuse to wear collars, and I've read the columns, and heard the homilies that sound more like moral relativists and Protestants than men of God who have promised obedience to the Pope, and we've all seen it in the recent priest scandals. Now, come the stories surrounding Mother Angelica that reinforce my own experiences.

It is sad, but joyous at the same time. The parallel between some of the American bishops the Pharisees in Jesus' time are perfect. If you don't think the Pharisees exist today, read it here. Aroyyo mentions names, and properly so. But, the joyous part of this book, is to see God mightly at work with someone the world would normally think totally incapable of doing it. God likes using people with little education and making them smarter than the rest of the world. I can say that, I have a earned Ph.D., and I don't think I'm 1/12 as smart or led of God as people like Mother Angelica or my good friend Steve Ray (who, although he has only a formal high school education has written a book being used by seminaries.)

There's a big lesson in all this. Obey God. Give yourself totally to him. Be smart. Study where you can, and learn lessons. And, as in Mother's case, see the great value of physical suffering. If Christ had to suffer the way he did to change the world, doesn't it make sense that we have to be open to it as well.

Read this book. It should change your life, or give you hope. If it does neither, you're dead.