In his biography, Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and a Network of Miracles, author Raymond Arroyo recounted a time in mid-August 2001 when Mother felt tired. After Mass on August 20, Mother began having problems recognizing people and words (pp. 313-314):
Shivering in her bedroom, Mother wanted to test her reading ability. Sister Faustina randomly chose a book from the shelf- the Navarre edition of the Gospel of John- and handed it to the abbess. Angelica flipped the book open and read aloud the first verse she happened upon, John 11:4: ‘This illness is not unto death; it is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by means of it.’
A blood test later revealed that she was suffering from a kidney infection. Antibiotics and a period of rest were prescribed. But days later she still felt weak and lethargic. During a bright spot in her convalescence, Mother claims to have seen the child Jesus dashing down the halls of the monastery. But by no means was this an isolated event. Again and again, the history of her order cites instances where the Divino Nino not only appeared to Mother but spoke to her in the ‘voice of a child.’ Though the sisters saw nothing, they believe their Mother did. As the saying goes, For those with faith, no evidence is needed; for those without it, no evidence will suffice.
Jesus spoke to her in the voice of a child.
As we know, the Gospels tell us very little about Jesus’ childhood. With the exceptions of the Nativity, Visitation, and Mary and Joseph “losing” Him in the temple, we are fast-forwarded to His public ministry. Once there, we witness the “calling” of the apostles, listen to the teachings, and are left to ponder the many miracles. As we travel with Jesus, we are led down a road whose end is deception, crucifixion, death, and resurrection. Despite the rough terrain, it is a blessed path!
In our own life journey, we are left to speculate and wonder about those “hidden” years. What would it have been like to be in the presence of the Divine Child? Today, however, such speculation and wonder appears mindless to a culture increasingly content living outside of a relationship with the Lord. With a heavy focus upon rationalization, utilization, and doing, we seem to have supplanted our eternal role as creatures created in the Divine image and likeness. We wonder why so many have lost the sense that “being” in the presence of the Creator is what matters most.
Perhaps the hiddenness of those years is a blessing in disguise. With our adult propensity toward black and white, we are left to wallow in shades of grey. As such, our contemplation of the Divine Child provides us space to wonder about what an encounter with the young Jesus’ voice might bring. Maybe it would remind us about the Kingdom.
Most certainly I tell you, unless you turn, and become as little children, you will in no way enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Whoever therefore humbles himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. (Mt. 18:3-4)