Eighty-eight years is a good long time! Today, April 20th, Mother Angelica reached this remarkable milestone. This afternoon, we gathered the stunningly beautiful flowers and brightly wrapped gifts that many of Mother’s friends sent her in celebration of this day. She was chipper and beamed brightly as her surprises were unwrapped. Mother smiled and nodded in appreciation when she was told of the many prayers that were offered for her in thanksgiving for her life! Thank you to all who keep Mother in your prayers! She is very grateful.
Providentially, Mother’s birthday falls this year right before Holy Thursday and the beginning of the Easter Triduum. Her long-suffering & patient endurance of a myriad of burdens has certainly allowed her an ever-greater glimpse into the depths of God’s love.
For much of this week, the antiphon that is chanted at midday prayer in the liturgy of the hours borrows from the Gospel of John: Jesus had always loved those who were his own, and now he would show them the depth of his love. The astounding reality of these sacred days is truly this – to be drawn into the unfathomable depths of Christ’s love – his love that lays down his life for us, his love that ‘bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things’ unto the end. When one receives Him at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper – at the very outset of His ‘hour’ – these words of Pope Benedict XVI have a profound resonance: The overcoming of guilt has a price: we must put our heart – or, better, our whole existence – on the line. And even this act is insufficient; it can become effective only through communion with the One who bore the burdens of us all. We too are called to communion and a sharing in this same life giving love of the Redeemer through the Cross - and all the forms that it takes in our lives.