Today we celebrate one of the great days in the Catholic Church – the Solemnity of All Saints. It is also the first All Saints’ Day when Mother Angelica could be a resident of the Heavenly Kingdom. I say could be since she might be there or still making her way there, but nevertheless, for today’s blog post and the humor that lies within some of these quotes from her, we will say that she is there. And, if she isn’t there by now, God help the rest of us. Ha!
If you don’t know, Mother Angelica was pretty hard on the Saints, particularly the Apostles of Jesus. And although she had a great love for the Saints and wanted everyone she encountered to achieve sanctity as they did, she didn’t sugarcoat their lives, since many of their lives were just like ours – they suffered, they sinned, and they were just miserable at times. She would often speak her mind on the saints, so often she knew that when she did get to Heaven they might have a special place for her. She said,
“I love to pick the saints apart, but I fear there’ll have to be a solitary confinement in heaven, just for me. I’ve been telling the truth about the saints for so many years, nobody will want to talk to me when I get up there.”
I don’t know about you, but that quote made me laugh out loud the first time I read it. Come to think of it, it should have been included in my first blog post about her. With that being said, I am so glad that she told us the truth, the weaknesses, and the shortcomings of the saints for so many years, since it gives me hope that I have a chance “to get up there” someday too.
So for today’s blog post on the Solemnity of All Saints, here are 10 quotes from Mother Angelica on the Saints – some are funny, some will give us hope, and some will allow us to see that the saintly life isn’t all that far from where we are now.
I. “A saint is one who empties himself and takes on the image of Jesus, so that person and Jesus are look-alikes. We should not aim to be a great saint for the purpose of being a great saint. A saint is the last to admit or know that he is a saint [boldness mine]. A saint’s goal is to get as close to God as he can, not for his sake, for His sake. The aim is to give honor and glory to God, and to totally forget the self.”
II. “Being a saint is being who you were meant to be: a frail human being keeping the Commandments, especially the last one. It’s loving when you are not loved in return. It’s being patient when you want to hit somebody on the head. It’s loving you family as they are, not as you want them to be. It’s not letting the disappointments in your life crush you.”
III. “Canonization is nothing more than the Church saying publicly that they know for sure that this person is in heaven. I mean, there are millions of people in heaven who are not canonized. That why we have All Saints’ Day…”
Speaking on not finding saints like her since she like to eat, sleep, sit in bed, sit in comfortable chairs, Mother said,
IV. “But I came to the conclusion that the saints weren’t the problem, it was their biographers. I’ve often said that I wish every biographer of every saint, who did not depict the truth, would go to purgatory for forty years, because they have made the saints unreal. You’d swear these people were holy when they were conceived…the saints would be the first to tell you: they struggled like you do. They ate, and drank and slept, and were frustrated, and victims of injustice. They were like you!…they had their faults and eccentricities.”
V. “Our saints had faults. There’s only one Immaculate Conception and there ain’t any others.”
VI. “The saints suffered. Therese had tuberculosis. Teresa of Avila had cancer of the stomach. Padre Pio had perpetual diarrhea and asthma. Bernadette had asthma too. Mother Cabrini had high fever to malaria she contracted during her travels. Holiness is not for wimps and the cross is not negotiable, sweetheart, it’s a requirement” [Boldness mine].
I particularly loved this quote by Mother because I can be grouchy and I’m Italian too –
VII. “Did you ever see a statue of grouchy state? I saw one once. It was the most gorgeous statue I ever saw. It was Padre Pio, who was a grouch, you know…he was a typical Italian grouch – which I can relate to!…See that’s my kind of saint. I want a saint who struggles like I do. There’s no such thing as perfection. There is only the struggle for holiness.”
VIII. [St. Peter] “was so holy that his shadow healed (Acts 5:15). Can you imagine a shadow healing? He was a big, blustery fisherman – just like you, without the fish. He was a man who always spoke before he thought. He was convinced he could do everything better than everybody else, then he forgot to do it. Peter should give us great hope.”
IX. “If you are going to be holy, for God’s sake, aim for the top. I wouldn’t aim to get in the gate. Your faults and weaknesses and sins have absolutely nothing to do with achieving holiness. Many a great sinner became holy.”
X. “I think these are times for great holiness and great saints, greater than any time in the past because there is more evil, more temptation. The fighter is greater…God is not mocked and this world is not going to pot. You can save it. You can change it by being faithful to the duties of your state of life with holiness.”
I pray that some, and even all, of these quotes have given you some hope in your striving for holiness and being saints – I know that have done so for me! One of the reasons why I like Mother Angelica is because of the plain way she speaks – straightforward, no nonsense, and she loves Jesus.
All Holy Saints of God…Pray for Us.
Angelica, M., and Raymond Arroyo. Mother Angelica’s Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality. New York: Doubleday, 2007. Print.