Mother Angelica’s Pearls of Wisdom on Suffering and Burnout

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In the 1970’s, Mother Angelica wrote series of short books on suffering and spiritual burnout. Ultimately, she suffered many, many years from many ailments, and she showed us an example how to join our suffering to the suffering of Jesus upon the cross. Here are some pearls of wisdom she wrote before her great years of suffering.

 

Irony of Suffering

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She says:

“Suffering is something we love to talk about when it is ours, but dislike hearing about when it belongs to someone else. We can see it work wonders in the lives of others but have no use for it in our own. We can see the wisdom of God chastising our enemies but think him cruel when we are afflicted.”

 

Preventative Suffering

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Mother tells us:

“How many times have we implored God for some favor with great fervor, only to suffer the most crushing disappointment? Months or years later our hearts break out in prayers of thankgiving when we look back and realize that the acquisition of such a “favor” would have been disastrous!”

 

Corrective Suffering

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She reminds us:

“The Corrective Suffering in Paul’s life helped to change the strong-willed man into an obedient son of God…Paul was one with Jesus, and the Faith, Hope, and Love that filled his soul with grace, helped him to “run the race and fight the good fight” until his whole life was lived in and for Jesus” (2 Tim. 4:7).

 

Pain of Rejection

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She wonderfully spoke to this pain:

“There are many occasions in the lifetime of a Christian when acts of love and sacrifice are not appreciated – when the aged are made to feel they are in the way and when loved ones make one feel unwanted. When these occassions arise, the soul should relate that feeling to the deep hurt in the Heart of Jesus as He was told to go away. He flet as we do – hurt and crushed – and He desires us to unite our pain to His and give it to the Father for the salvation of souls.”

 

Dryness in Prayer

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On dryness she said:

“There are times in our life when God seems very close. The sun of His Love shines brightly… There are times, however, when His Presence fades away like a morning mist and we find ourselves shivering from the cold. Though the whole world were to love and applaud us it would all be as nothing, for the sunshine of our life – God – seems gone, and our sould cannot be consoled except by Him…This dryness is like a spritual anesthetic. It numbs our soul while the Master Sculptor shapes it into His Image.”

 

Overcoming Dryness

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Mother Angelica says in her book:

“Even though distractions plague its prayer time, the soul calmly returns to its seeking of the Lord as soon as those distractions are noticed…The shortening of prayer time is a real danger, for the fear of “wasting” time takes hold of the soul…It is important to persevere in praying, even in lengthening the time of prayer, for the purification of dryness far outweighs the few consolations the soul derives from active works to distract it. To refuse to accept dryness is to refuse growth in the spiritual life. It is the vertical beam of our daily cross.”

 

Purpose of Dryness

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More of her wisdom on dryness:

“Dryness leads us gently from vocal prayer, where we learn to speak to God; to Meditiation, where we think of God; to Contemplations, where our heart mearly gazes upon Him with a love too deep for words.”

 

Spiritual Hangover

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It’s a thing. She tells us:

“Our minds, like broken records, repeat, rehearse, reash, and relive the hurts, the angry moments, and the diappointments. If this attitude continues for days, and days turn into years, we can be sure we are indulging in a bad attitude. The luxury of harboring a resentment has cost us dearly, for we are experiencing a “spritual hangover.” We are allowing something that upset our souls to hang over for months or years and destroy us.”

 

Darkness of Worry

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Never worry, she tells us:

“We may not think of worry as a “spiritual hangover” but it is. Worry is the result of a lack of trust in God’s care and providence. Some souls are in a state of perpetual worry…Their entire lives are spent between dusk and midnight, for they never see the dawn of new horizons or the bright sun of God’s love and providence. This “state” of worry is what Jesus warned us about.”

 

Proper Almsgiving

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She reminds us:

“When we are generous just to be seen by men, we have already received our reward. The Lord is telling us to be generous in imitation of the Father and to please Him, not ourselves. Though our generosity may be observed by others, this must never be the motive of our almsgiving.”

 

Seek God in Darkness

In darkness:

“When we desire to commune with God to strengthen our souls for combat in the battles of life, we can close our eyes. When we have done that, we have closed the “doors” of our senses. We have for a few moments closed out the world around us. Now..it is dark, and if we are quiet and become awre of this silence in our souls, we suddenly realize He is there.”

 

Jesus Needs You

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Even with an eyepatch:

“We need Jesus, but He also needs us. It is not because we can add anything to Him that He needs us, for He is Infinite in all His Prefections. He needs us because He wills to do so; He wills that we cooperate with Him for the salvation of the world. Through our neighbor He reaches out and says, “I need you.””

 

Mother Angelica on Suffering and Burnout by [Angelica, Mother]I don’t know about you, but I can almost hear Mother Angelica speaking these words in my mind just as she did on her EWTN TV shows. She was witty and wise, sometimes funny, and a true blessing to the world through her teaching and storytelling. To read more of her pearls of wisdom, pick up a copy of Mother Angelica on Suffering and Burnout (EWTN Publishing). It is a collection of six “mini-books” brought together under one cover. She might have written them over 40 years ago, but her words are still relevant today, just as it was then.

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