Excerpts from IN HIS SANDALS
Mother M. Angelica
He Emptied Himself

Jesus left the glory of Heaven to come down and take upon Himself a nature like my own, because He loves me so much.

I wonder if I understand how much of a humiliation it was for Jesus to become human. If being with the Father is something beyond our wildest dreams, just imagine what being equal to God must be like! How could He leave such a position for me?

I am ungrateful most of the time and prefer myself, people and things to Him almost constantly. I do not have much to leave and yet I cling to the little I have as if I were never going to lose it.

What Did Jesus Do For Me?

He left Eternity and lived in Time that I might leave Time and live in Eternity.

He left the Eternal Father in all His Glory to come down as man and acknowledge the Father's supremacy over all mankind.

He came as a humble servant to make reparation for those who say," I will not serve." He was lowly of heart and gave credit to the Father for everything He did and offered His self-effacement as an atonement for my pride and independence.

He was Master of all but never imposed on anyone or forced them to follow Him.

His humility was so great, He understood the hatred of His enemies

and asked His Father to forgive them.

He ruled all creation and yet subjected Himself to Joseph and Mary as an obedient son.

He was content to be considered an uneducated carpenter, yet He created the whole world.

He was subject to two people whom He created because He saw His Father's Will in their commands.

He was the Splendor of the Father, but hid all that would distinguish Him from the rest of the children of men.

He was uncreated Wisdom but did not disdain learning ordinary things from others.

He was content to advance in wisdom and age before men, that I might patiently advance in holiness before God.

He accepted hatred, jealousy and persecution with composure, seeing only the Father's Will in the plan of Redemption.

He was not ashamed to eat with sinners even though doing so belittled Him in the eyes of others.

He watched those He came to redeem abandon Him in His hour of need, without becoming bitter or resentful. He extended to Peter a forgiving glance even before the Apostle was conscious of his sin.

He did not give up His Spirit until He had endured every possible torment—to prove His love for me.

He rose from the grave and appeared first to Magdalene, a repentant sinner, to Peter who denied Him and to the Disciples going to Emmaus, whose faith was weak—to show that He understood their frailties and would not crush the bruised reed.

His Love for me is so deep that He could not bear leaving me alone, so He humbled Himself completely and gave me His Precious Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist as food for my soul.

Love For Love

I look at the Incarnation with awe when I see Jesus conceal His Eternal Wisdom, Power and Majesty and assume human nature—not as an adult, but as an Infant, totally dependent upon two of His creatures.

What would make Him do such a thing? The only answer is Love because only love is strong enough to overcome every obstacle. It is difficult to think of His Majesty and Power as obstacles—and yet they seemed to be. As God, there was no way to identify Himself with me.

He knew I would often be tempted to look at Him and say, "How do You know what it feels like to suffer pain, failure, weakness, humiliations, hunger and thirst?"

Now He Knows

He was satisfied with only a few people—Shepherds and Wise Men—knowing He came into the world.

He waited patiently for Mary to feed Him and Joseph to provide for Him—yet, as God, He fed and sustained them both.

He refused to use His Power to annihilate Herod. Instead, He fled into Egypt with only Joseph and Mary for protection.

He waited until time took its course and Herod died before He returned to His own country. At the age of twelve, He had the courage to do His Father's Will by remaining in the Temple, even though He knew His absence would cause untold agony to His parents. He wanted to teach me that God and the work of God must always come first.

Hidden Life

For thirty years, Jesus never allowed His Divinity to manifest Itself. He was infinitely superior to everyone but never showed It.

He spent thirty of the thirty-three years (91% of His life) in common work and deep communion with His Father in prayer.

He wanted to experience the ordinary, common, everyday life of eating, sleeping, working and praying—to show me that great sanctity is possible by doing these ordinary things out of Love for the Father.

The Way

Jesus knew I would need some definite way to reach the Kingdom, so in the beginning of His public life He gave me eight steps, called "Beatitudes"—which would be like a road map on my journey home.

After He gave them to me, He proceeded to show me by His example every stopping place (prayer), every danger point (pride), every perilous turn (the tempter), every oasis (love), every fill-up spot (virtue), every storm (suffering), every desert (doubt and aridity) and every mountain peak where I could view the progress made, enjoy the promise fulfilled and see the road ahead.

When I realize how much I have offended God and how lacking I am in every good thing, I become Poor in Spirit. God's Love and Forgiveness are such a reality that I begin to hunger and thirst for holiness of life. I imitate His Mercy by forgiving and forgetting all injuries.

"Blessed Are The Poor In Spirit For Theirs Is The Kingdom Of Heaven"

What does this mean? If I am to understand anything in the Gospel and how it applies to my daily life, I must look at Christ and follow Him. That was the whole idea behind His rather unpretentious way of life—to teach, direct, encourage and show me the way to the Father. I will look at His blueprint for holiness and follow in His footsteps.

Jesus was happy when people acknowledged His dignity and saddened when they did not, but He never sought their esteem or regard.

He was never attached to His own will but In everything did the Will of the One who sent Him.

As God, He did not cling to His independence but depended upon the kindness and love of others to supply His every need.

He owned the whole world but had no home to call His own.

I will follow in His footsteps by being unselfish and loving those who do not love me; seeking the perfect accomplishment of God's Will In my life, according to the light I have and being content when I find His Will hard to understand.

"Blessed Are The Meek For They Shall Possess The Earth"

Peace of heart is mine when I am meek and I must look at Jesus to see how meek He was amidst the vexations of daily life in order to understand what it means to be meek.

Jesus showed me how to be Meek—when He forgave those who injured Him—before they asked for forgiveness; when He strove to win the hearts of the people by patience and forbearance rather than force; when He was humiliated by those who wanted to embarrass Him and showed more concern for their weakness than His own feelings; when He was patient with the faults of His Apostles and corrected them, not because they irritated Him, but because He wanted them to be holy.

I will follow in His footsteps by—trying to acquire the habit of meekness by maintaining peace of heart In the midst of unexpected trials and contradictions and making an effort to see God in all circumstances; responding to an angry word with a quiet tone of voice; accepting the loud, blunt and forward talk of those who always say the right thing In the wrong way.

"Blessed Are They That Mourn For They Shall Be Comforted"

How did Jesus exemplify sorrow for sin when He was without sin?

Jesus wept over Jerusalem because it did not know the time of its visitation. He was deeply hurt by the sin of ingratitude when the ten lepers were healed and only one gave thanks. He was saddened by those who would not follow Him because they were so bogged down with possessions. On the Way of the Cross He asked the holy women not to weep for Him but for those whose malice placed Him in such a position.

I will follow in His footsteps by—being truly sorry for ever having offended such a loving God; realizing that even though I may have loved Him too little, it is never too late; recognizing my miseries and sins as they really are and if I cannot weep tears of repentance over them, I will at least accept the trials and sufferings of daily life in reparation for them; staying away from occasions that may tempt me to displease the Lord.

"Blessed Are They Who Hunger And Thirst For What Is Right: They Shall Be Satisfied"

After repentance and awareness of God's Mercy and Love, the soul yearns for virtue and holiness of life and longs for more union with God who is the object of its love.

Jesus showed me what it means to be holy—He did His Father's Will no matter how difficult it was to accomplish.

He imitated the Father by being merciful to sinners, forgiving those who offended Him, loving those who did not love Him in return, and being compassionate with the faults of others.

His love was strong because it was built on sacrifice and not on personal satisfaction.

He spent much time with the Father in prayer, talking over the day's events and plans for the future.

I will follow in His footsteps by—putting God and the Kingdom In the first place; loving my neighbor unselfishly and not trying to make him over into my image; spending more time each day in prayer and planning ways of overcoming my faults.

"Blessed Are The Merciful For They Shall Obtain Mercy"

Jesus showed Mercy when—He gave Judas the grace to choose between attaining great holiness or satisfying his greed; He ate with tax collectors and sinners to give them the opportunity for repentance; His Goodness brought forth from sinners a depth of repentant love they never knew existed; He healed men's bodies in order to reach their souls; He reached out for sinners, the poor, the sick, the ignorant and the destitute with loving compassion.

I will follow in His Footsteps by—not judging my neighbor's motives and giving him the benefit of the doubt; forgiving seventy times seven times because my Father has forgiven me seventy million times seventy million; being kind to anyone who offends me and praying for them as I would a dear friend; being loving to those who offend me because they have given me the opportunity to be Merciful as my Heavenly Father is Merciful; being sympathetic with my neighbor because I realize the depths of my own misery. "Let He who is without sin, cast the first stone" (Jn.8 7)

"Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart For They Shall See God"

To be Pure of Heart is—to be like a child—full of candor, simplicity, confidence, faith and love; to be detached from myself and not seek my own honor, glory or pleasure in dealing with my neighbor; to judge my neighbor with love and not by the way he affects me; to be free of malice, hypocrisy and affectation; to be single-minded, having one goal in mind: the glory of the Father and the good of my neighbor; to take care of the needs of today, completely trusting the past and future to God.

"Blessed Are The Peacemakers For They Shall Be Called 'Sons Of God’"

What can I do to preserve my peace After a Fall? I will use my sins as a means to attain humility. I must exert every effort to be holy, but if at times my weakness overpowers me, I will use the occasion as a springboard to leap into the ocean of my Father's Merciful Love, looking at His Goodness, praising His Holiness and glorifying His Mercy. Humility is the knowledge of what I am and who He is—Peace is the acceptance of that knowledge.

After I am offended?

My soul must be kept free of the least resentment or bitterness.

Jesus told me to pray for my enemies and bless those who curse me.

My neighbor has rendered me a service when he offends me because he has given me the opportunity to imitate my Father who is forgiving and compassionate.

"Blessed Are Those Who Are Persecuted Because Of Justice Theirs Is The Kingdom Of God"

A persecutor renders me a great service by giving me the opportunity—to grow in humility, strengthen my faith, unite myself to God's Will, spread the Good News, portray a gentle and forgiving spirit.

It is no wonder the Master asked me to rejoice when those who ridicule my faith end up increasing it.

Eternal Father, let Your Holy Spirit guide me in the way of the Beatitudes so that the image of Your Son, which I so dimly reflect, may grow brighter and brighter in my soul. Amen.

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