In Dialogue with Fr. Maurice
Walking into the Shrine of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Hanceville, Alabama, where the nuns were nursing Mother Angelica, I felt deep peace within me. My soul was ecstatic in praise of God for this woman of grace through whom God’s opulent gift is poured out to the world through the media.
Mother was bedridden having suffered a succession of strokes. She could not speak, but her gestures were resounding. With difficultly, she raised her hands towards me, a sign she wanted a handshake. Her smiles were angelic and her face lit like that of cherubs.
I held her tender hand, so warm and soothing. I caressed it and gently laid my head on her chest, and kissed her chin.
She smiled and held me so tightly. The other nuns wondered what was going on. “She has never been this active in months,” one of them said.
Mother wouldn’t let me leave as I shared with her how the Lord must have been pleased with all she had done for His glory.
I told her about the new projects that EWTN wanted me to lead – projects of hosting and producing a number of teaching/preaching series, retreat tours and documentaries with a view of capturing the richness of the African Catholic culture.
She smiled and nodded, lifting her eyebrows towards me, her eyes looking intently at mine.
For me, it was a sign of a nunc dimitis as she acknowledged God’s graciousness and love for His people. (Father Joseph Mary Wolfe had told me Mother had long wanted to extend EWTN to Africa). The meeting lasted for about thirty minutes, and throughout the time, she never left my hands.
Thereafter, three of the nuns, her health care providers, served us (Fr. Miguel Marie and two other Franciscan friars, Randy and Br. John Therese Marie, who accompanied me) with bread cake and rich ice cream. Oh, Mother sipped the ice cream like a deer gulping fresh water.
“She loves ice cream,” said one of the nuns.
During the entire meeting, I felt heaven come down. It was one of a kind holy meeting. There was something about Mother Angelica that is spellbinding and pure.
We prayed for Mother Angelica and the sisters before leaving for Irondale, EWTN headquarters.
Love you Mother Angelica. Requiescat in pacem. Amen
Fr. Maurice Emelu
It is my pleasure to announce to you, my family and friends on social media, that I will be offering a daily reflection on Immaculate Heart Radio (ihradio.com) starting Monday, January 4, 2016. The name of the program is Daily Reflections with Father Maurice.
It’s going to be a brief, four-minute, reflection designed to draw attention to the tenderness of God’s love for us as well as provide tools for a transforming and deepening encounter with Jesus. Hopefully, the reflections will also be a channel of spiritual nourishment, inspiration, healing and hope for individuals and families as they go about their daily activities.
Airing schedule is 9:12am and 9:12pm (Pacific Time) daily on the 19 Immaculate Heart Radio Stations available also online on my page on the Immaculate Heart Radio website. They will equally be available for your free access, both in audio and accompanying blog-text formats through my twitter @revemelu, my official Facebook Page Fr. Maurice Emelu, my ministry websites gratiavobisministries.org and revemelu.com and my blog blogrevemelu.com.
Feel free to share the reflections with your family and friends and offer your helpful thoughts in the comment box as well. Your feedback through the public comment box on my blog as well as email firstname.lastname@example.org would be very helpful in enriching and improving on these reflections. I believe in dialogue and your critique will be graciously welcome.
May I ask for your prayers in order for the grace of God to be abundant as I take up this daily service of the Word of God, for the grace of love, wisdom, knowledge and joyful witness. If you are not a believer, could you please wish me well? Hopefully, my reflections will bring hope, healing and peace to those in need.
Remain blessed and Happy New Year.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
I met a new friend this week; a young man with palpable self-confidence. His demeanor is amazing and his ability to tell the story of his life struggles with a pristine sense of humor was charming. He had been sober for six years and so he shared the story of his battles to overcome drugs and alcohol.
I must confess I am a foreigner to the world of drugs. I hardly like drinking nor do I smoke. Nonetheless, I don’t know why I keep having addicts come to me for spiritual help and prayers, a ministry that is one of my nightmares. Maybe God sees the need to bring healing to them and I happen to be in their path for spiritual support. So, by interacting with them, I am beginning to develop more empathy for their struggles. God cares so much about addicts as he does the sober or the abstinent.
The story of this young man is inspiring. His account of what it took him to be sober was humbling. It was a combination of medical help, systematic withdrawal, and avoidance plus clinical support oiled by divine intervention. I wondered if I could live up to his kind of courage if I were in his shoes. Certain points during his healing process, he claimed to have felt like he was literally dying, because the addiction had made him so dependent that his body seemed to be tearing apart. “Oh my” he recalled, “What have I done to myself?” Many times he wanted to backslide and return to drugs, but because he was constantly monitored he couldn’t. “It was a heck of an experience,” he said. But after the long months, coupled with a deep encounter with God, he was free – he was completely cleansed.
According to him, it was after the cleansing that he realized how much dirt was in his heart, his bloodstream and inside his body. He now feels so light, fresh and free that he alludes living the life of addiction to being in hell. In retrospect he sees the difference because he has been cleansed.
What drugs and alcohol do to an addict is like what evil stuff does in the heart and soul of people. Take for instance bitter resentment, lack of forgiveness, lust, greed, and over-ambition. They simply coagulate, coalesce and congeal in the heart – thus we carry them as a burden, making our hearts bubble within the rough edges of dysfunctional wheels. Release from these burdens is a better choice.
By way of analogy, Jesus cleansed the temple of Jerusalem of it filths as recorded in the Gospel of Luke (19:45-48). There is a temple that belongs within us; it is our body, our soul, and our heart. Detoxification of anything making the heart unhealthy, preventing the freshness of the Spirit is a path to peace.
“How?” one may ask. By opening ourselves to the grace of God, the grace of Jesus, the grace of the Holy Spirit. This really works.
Would you like to join me in praying for all those suffering from different forms of addiction, alcohol, drugs, porn, cyber, etc., as well as all who may have allowed a pattern of life that deprives them of inner joy, causing them to feel like an addict? May the Good Lord grant them freedom. Amen.