“ESPN is over there!”
The way things were going this Divine Mercy Sunday, I couldn’t blame the volunteer for making fun of me, covered as I was in mud, having just fallen down on the slippery, snow-covered hill. I was losing hope that I was going to make it down the hill for Mass. I hadn’t planned for this trip well and had walked into a snowstorm at the National Shrine of Divine Mercy on its busiest day of the year not dressed for the elements. And so I pulled my media card in the hopes of getting to Mass and a few decent photos to tweet.
It took about 30 seconds — though in the spring snowstorm it seemed an eternity — for me to realize the volunteer meant EWTN, which was airing the Mass live, and he was directing me to light and heat! Soon, a shrine official was setting me on a path to success as both pilgrim and reporter.
“Jesus, I trust in you” was our Eucharistic focus. In the midst of deep prayer, the mess of daily life here on earth was apparent and never removed, as fleece blankets covered so many during Mass and Eucharistic adoration at the outdoor shrine. The chief populations seemed to be elderly, sick and disabled women and men and large Hispanic families, many having come on buses from New York and New Jersey.
It was freezing and windy, but the 12,000 gathered were undeterred.
I never did get too far removed from my mistakes as many concerned pilgrims and volunteers asked if I needed anything, one even joking as she saw my mud-covered legs in a skirt and heels: “Don’t you wish you went for comfort over fashion today?”
Which got me wondering: “Would Mother Angelica have checked the weather report?”
Mother Angelica was on my mind as I had just returned from her Mass of Christian burial in Hanceville, Alabama, at what resembled more an intimate family funeral than a tribute to a media trailblazer.
That seemed appropriate in no small way because the message of her death wasn’t so much, “Go forth and start major media operations,” but: “Love the Lord your God with everything he has given you. Listen, and do what he tells you!”
Mother Mary Angelica was every bit a Marian voice for our times, inspiring vocations and real Christian living — constant conversion and transformation in Christ.
In a rare moment of rest during a frenzied week, her biographer, Raymond Arroyo, had shared some of her wisdom: Take the first step. Then he will give you the grace to take the next step. But you don’t get the grace if you don’t trust him and take the first step.
How many times do we not do something out of fear?
Jesus, I trust in you.
Mass in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, at the National Shrine of Divine Mercy was for Mother Angelica, and even as we prayed for her eternal rest, the focus was where she always had it: focused on and following Christ.
Let go of the pride that would keep us from the humiliation of falling down and getting back up.
Make that prayer your life: “Jesus, I trust in you.” Stay in his mercy with frequent confession.
Be faithful to what he asks, one step at a time. Grace after grace will move you forward, keeping you ever closer to Christ.
Don’t mind the mud. Focus on the blood and water flowing from his sides. Divine Mercy heals. He eradicates pride. He cleans us up for eternal life.
Trust in him and his word, whether or not you checked the weather report.
Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor-at-large of National Review Online and co-author of “How to Defend the Faith Without Raising Your Voice” (OSV, $17.95).