Monday, February 26, 2007

"The cross is not negotiable, sweetheart..."

Mother Angelica's Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality by Raymond Arroyo
The apostles were dodos, dummies. But all the smart people in the world at the time wouldn't take chances. That is the same problem we have today. The world is looking for intellectuals and the Lord is looking for dummies. That's why I'm here.
Mother Angelica is known for her down-to-earth common sense. Flipping through this little book of excerpts and sayings I was not immediately taken with what I saw. Frankly, it seemed too basic, too ordinary, to be of much interest.

When I turned to the beginning and began to read it as a regular book, however, all the quotes began to hang together and a surprisingly coherent message arose that was not at all ordinary. Partially, this is due to Raymond Arroyo's groupings of these various sayings and insights into categories such as Eternal Perspectives, Living in the Present Moment, Everyday Holiness, Overcoming Faults, and so on. Most of the message, naturally, comes from Mother Angelica's single mindedness in understanding of how to find God's will and live it in everyday life.

As I read quote after quote, I was drawn into a great appreciation for the concept of living in the present moment which is one of the main themes of Mother Angelica's teachings. Drawn from the work of Brother Lawrence, this has become a central way that she practices living God's will ...
We have to ask God: What are You calling me to do now, in this Present Moment? Not yesterday or tomorrow, but right now. God's will is manifested to us in the duties and experiences of the Present Moment. We have only to accept them and try to be like Jesus in them.
I have seen this concept before but never in such practical applications as given in this book. It is something that I found myself remembering throughout the weekend as I was caught up in an angry memory or dreaming of something that I needed to do in a day or two. The present moment would pop into my mind and I'd shake myself and move on. It is rare to find quotations that can help improve my life at all, much less so quickly.

Naturally, there is more in this little book than the concept of the present moment and most readers will find something of value. Part of Mother Angelica's charm is the afore mentioned practicality. I appreciated knowing that despite her faith in God (and all she has accomplished as a result), Mother Angelica is never far from the Maalox bottle that soothes her nervous stomach. Reading about her impatient nature and quick temper, I felt more than a twinge of recognition as well as reinforcement that we can reach for the highest goals if we step out on faith.

This week's daily quotes will be coming from this book.

Highly recommended.

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