A Pillar Of The Church
Reading Charlie Johnston’s Blog, Next Right Step always provides inspiring and thought provoking information and today is no different. In Charlie’s brief post of December 2nd entitled “A Little Hopeful News” he lets us know that he heard from a friend at EWTN that Mother Angelica has improved a bit because of the feeding tube she was placed on just a day before.
As I’m sure everyone reading this Divine Mercy Network blog knows, Mother Angelica is the Foundress of the Eternal Word Television (EWTN), now the largest Christian broadcasting organization in the world. Just two days ago while praying at the Divine Mercy Adoration Chapel in Orchard Lake, Michigan I happen to overhear a woman asking for prayers for Mother Angelica because she had just been placed on a feeding-tube. I thought of the many millions of people all over the world who were hearing the same news and offering prayers for this amazing servant of God, who has lived a life of suffering and service to Christ and His Church.
What a consolation for her to know that so many people have been touch by God through her cooperation – and what a consolation for us to know that even at 92 years old, while being confined to a bed and on a feeding tube, we have our Mother Angelica offering up and uniting her sufferings with Jesus Christ and Him Crucified, on our behalf!
It is the amazing and even miraculous work she has accomplished with EWTN and the certainty that she understands and accepts the value of her suffering that inspired us to give Mother Angelica our Catholic Radio “Pillar Of The Church” award back in 2001. I thought now would be an appropriate time to share that story.
From its founding in 1998 until 2006 I had the blessing of managing and hosting programs on Michigan Catholic Radio WCAR 1090 AM (Detroit) and WOAP 1080 AM (Lansing). Unfortunately that network no longer exists – but each year we were in operation, at our anniversary banquet, we wanted to recognize someone special; someone doing great work for Christ and His Church. So we created the “Pillar Of The Church” award; an idea inspired by the vision or “dream” of St. John Bosco in which he saw the Church as a ship being attacked in the midst of a raging storm on the sea.
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In the saint’s vision the “captain” of the ship is the Pope, who struggles to steer and anchor the ship in between two massive pillars that rise from the stormy sea. On top of one pillar is The Holy Eucharist. On top of the other is the Blessed Mother, Mary Help of Christians. With Divine assistance eventually the Pope is successful in his efforts and as soon as the ship of the Church is anchored to these two pillars “a great convulsion takes place” that results in the defeat of the enemies of the Church. And then “over the sea there reigns a great calm.”
The person who received this annual recognition, staggered each year between religious and lay, was someone we discerned as playing an important role in cooperating with the Holy Father’s efforts to steer and anchor the ship of the Church to these two invincible pillars of the Holy Eucharist and Mary, Help of Christians.
Of course, Mother Angelica is an obvious choice and she was scheduled to return to Detroit in 2001 to receive this deserved recognition; until she suffered her first stroke which made travel impossible. Thankfully Mother’s health was still good enough that I was able to travel to Birmingham, Alabama to present the award to her on camera in the very studio she used for so many years to do the work for which she was being recognized! An amazing experience for me to say the least!
As it turned out this was one of the last times Mother was to appear on camera anywhere. It was not long until a second stroke ended her ability to host her show.
We recorded the presentation and then Mother Angelica gave a beautiful acceptance speech which was played at our anniversary event back in Michigan. That was almost fifteen years ago!
I believe that through the prayers, teachings and works of St. Pope John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI the Church or “ship” of St. John Bosco’s dream-vision has been successfully steered between the Pillars topped by The Eucharist and Mary, Help of Christians. Now, as Pope Francis works to the finish the job, we are watching the storm coming to its peak … and from all indications, including what St. John Bosco said, it’s going to get very ugly before the final ‘convulsion” takes place that causes the enemies to scatter and flee away.
At the conclusion of St. John Bosco explaining his dream-vision he said:
“Very grave trials await the Church. What we have suffered so far is almost nothing compared to what is going to happen. The enemies of the Church are symbolized by the ships which strive their utmost to sink the flagship. Only two things can save us in such a grave hour: devotion to Mary and frequent Communion. Let us do our very best to use these two means and have others use them everywhere.”
The word “convulsion” is defined as: “a sudden, violent, irregular movement of a limb or of the body, caused by involuntary contraction of muscles and associated especially with brain disorders …” Many approved Catholic Prophecies from Saints, Blessed’s and those we call Venerable and Servant of God are consistent in saying that a day is coming which will be “sudden” and “violent” …
The questions for us are simple: Am I ready right now for what is coming (spiritually, physically)? Do I have devotion to Mary, Help of Christians? Do I frequent Holy Communion? Am I helping others to be ready? Am I spreading devotion to Mary and to Holy Communion with Jesus in the Eucharist?
Now is the time to answer these questions with honesty so that each of us are ready at all times to “acknowledge God, take the next right step and be a sign of hope to others.”
We thank God for Mother Angelica and ask His blessings for her and all those who strive to be Pillars Of The Church.
St. John Bosco, pray for us. Mary, Help of Christians, pray for us.