Would you like to join me in a novena as we approach our little brother Marcel's special day?
Just as with his older sister Little Therese, Marcel has many special days of grace, but on July 10, Jesus gave him that first kiss that took him out of this life and into the next! And so, just as we might want to prepare for the greatest feasts of the Church with big and fancy novenas, so we can prepare for this little feast with a little novena, not too big, not too fancy, but said from the heart in gratitude and petition.
When Therese was on earth, she wrote to her missionary (spiritual) brother Maurice Belliere:
"I would be very happy if each day you would consent to offer this prayer for me which contains all my desires:
'Merciful Father, in the name of our gentle Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and the Saints, I beg You to enkindle my sister with Your Spirit of Love and to grant her the favor of making You loved very much.'
"If the Lord takes me soon with Him, I ask you to continue each day the same prayer, for I shall desire in heaven the same thing as I do on earth: To love Jesus and to make Him loved."
Since our dear brother Servant of God Marcel Van loves to associate himself with our dear sister St. Therese, making all of her thoughts, intentions, and prayers his own, I could think of no better novena prayer than this one Therese asked another brother to say for her. Let's say it for her and Marcel, that he, too, may participate in their beautiful apostolate of loving Jesus and making Him loved!
Here, then, is our novena prayer. And as usual, if you only have this one chance to read it and then, like a little Marcel yourself, if you forget to say it again, or do a truly "little" novena and say it only some of these nine days leading up to Marcel's birthday into Heaven on July 10, well, take a page from his book and Don't worry about anything! We've got you covered! I'll do my best to say this prayer for nine days straight, and I know my guardian angel and yours can manage that even if I too fail! Here's to confidence and nothing but confidence leading us to Love! And now, that prayer:
Merciful Father, in the name of our gentle Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and the Saints, we beg You to enkindle our sister and brother with Your Spirit of Love and to grant them the favor of making You loved very much!
What's next? To make this a truly effective novena, let's gather some roses! The roses are a promise from Therese (and Marcel) that our prayers are heard. Our sister and brother are sitting on Jesus' lap even as we speak, yet they think nothing of hopping off for a moment to shower us with roses, or even hand deliver them to let us know Jesus is talking to them about . . . us! Yes, He loves us so much and is busy at this moment instructing many saints in heaven about how to come help us in this valley of tears. Thank You, Jesus!
In fact, rest assured your petitions in this novena are going to be not only heard, but answered. This is what I call a Pre-Paid Novena, and I'll tell you why. I had the joy of attending a glorious Catholic wedding yesterday, and at the end of the reception was bid by the mother of the bride to take home not only one, but two of the gorgeous rose-featuring floral centerpieces. Then this morning, before (and still remaining after) Sunday Mass there was another centerpiece left before our car! There were five white roses amid the other heavenly flowers and greenery in each arrangement, so that makes 15 roses in all that came home with me! And since I am clearly meant to share them with you, that makes 15 petitions you can count on being heard and answered in our novena! Oh, except that is surely not enough petitions! You see, I also handed another centerpiece to a dear friend and told her about the Pre-Paid novena, so that makes 20 petitions we can toss up to Heaven in confidence and love and joy!
So now we have a prayer, lots of roses, a pile of petitions (don't worry if you haven't formulated them yet - your angel has them at the ready and is no doubt presenting them to Jesus for you, and then at the end of reading here, you can offer your own list too) - all we need is a word of invitation and encouragement from the guest of honor, in this case also the one inviting us to his party! Marcel, little brother, tell us what we need to know to have some of that peace in which you so beatifically reside!
The words he has for us today are from his letters, and in particular a letter he wrote on 9 July, 1947. He encourages us:
"I see the route that you are now following, full of obstacles and difficulties; but I know that if God wishes, you will triumph over all very easily. For that, it is necessary that you deliver yourself over to God with total confidence, that you place everything in His hands. It is on this condition that His will can be fulfilled in you. Little sister (and little brother), do not be discouraged, do not preoccupy yourself too much with the goods of this world. It is necessary for you to know that belonging already to Jesus, all that is yours belongs to Him as well. Put everything into His hands with a total confidence and leave to Him the care of busying Himself in your place with all material goods. All you have to do is to love Him. To love Jesus is the first duty of souls which belong to Jesus. Yes, the first duty of the beloved spouses of Jesus is to love Him; and He must occupy Himself with all the rest in our place because His duty is to love us as His children, to love us as one loves a very dear spouse, to instruct as one does for very young pupils, etc. And our duty is summed up in these two words: 'Confidence and Love.' Everything else is Jesus' business. Consequently, dear little sister (and little brother), when you are preoccupied with your affairs, have recourse to Jesus in order to offer to Him all your preoccupations, so that He takes charge of them for you, and remain in peace . . . That is how Therese of the Child Jesus used to act and she avowed: 'that always worked for me!'"
Little Therese, we are pitifully small, and our confidence is often much less than total, so be sure to give us a share in your total confidence (which you don't even need now that you are seeing Love face to Face!), so that we may obey Marcel's orders!
Draw me, we will run!
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