All things work for good, for those who love God and are called according to His purpose (or: Till We Have Facebook)
It is Padre Pio's birthday today! (on earth, where we can Celebrate!!)
So in thanksgiving for him and the graces Our Lord showered upon him (no doubt aided by St. Therese, to whose canonization Padre Pio bilocated in 1925), let us pray to the Sacred Heart of Jesus so loved by our spiritual father!
My petition to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
I need you, precious Jesus,
I need a friend like you;
A friend to soothe and sympathize,
A friend to care for me.
I need your Heart, sweet Jesus,
To feel each anxious care;
I long to tell my every want,
And all my sorrows share.
I need your Blood, sweet Jesus,
To wash each sinful stain;
To cleanse this sinful soul of mine,
And make it pure again.
I need your Wounds, sweet Jesus,
To fly from perils near,
To shelter in these hallowed clefts
From every doubt and fear.
I need you, sweetest Jesus,
In your Sacrament of Love,
To nourish this poor soul of mine
With the treasures of your love.
I'll need you, sweetest Jesus,
When death's dread hour draws nigh.
To hide me in your Sacred Heart,
Till travel safe on high.
* * *
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one!"” - C.S. Lewis
Every once in a while I promise (or threaten, depending on your perspective) to write a sequel to my novel The Paradise Project. And full disclosure, about twice as often I practically vow never ever to do so.
Why the interior controversy?
Lots of reasons, but in short, because sometimes it seems like the most obvious and brilliant scheme in the world for me to write the sequel. And other times it seems like the worst idea (and least attractive project) ever!
Today it seems almost irresistible.
My reason suddenly highlights why I often Don't want to write more of Elizabeth's story:
namely, because the most typical form of the novel, and essential to nearly all story telling, is the age-old bottom line basic premise of (shhhhhh, don't let Marcel or Miss Marcel hear you, for they are NOT fans) conflict.
I don't want to have to embroil dear Elizabeth Benning in one more page of misadventure! We spent the first book getting her into and then out of trouble. And now I'm supposed to get her in again?
I won't do it!
But then again . . . sometimes I have a little misadventure myself. A touch of trouble to dim the sunshine of my smile, and then - whoosh, since I am Miss Marcel, Jesus has to come and smooth my brow, console my heart, cheer me up, or what would happen to my world? I don't mean the world that revolves around me. I mean the world I revolve in. You can picture me, even if you haven't met me in 3-D. (Perhaps picture me a little bigger than you might have before plague time and the need for more sugar.) And so picture me revolving. You know, kind of spinning. I actually got to do this recently on one of the walk-talks that have been a way that Jesus cheers me up in plague time.
No, I wasn't walkie-talking with Jesus Himself visibly beside me exactly, though with my Jesus, you might say. I mean I walk talk with my husband, and we were in a really cool place (no people anywhere to be seen, though it was a very formerly public place, but now a pandemic place) with a kind of round raised up table thing-y (believe me, you can start a blog and write to your heart's content without being a natural at describing physical reality!) - and music was playing, piped in just for us (heavens, yes, just occurring to me now, but just precisely like a scene in one of our beloved Bollywood movies) - and so I climbed onto the round raised up table thingy that was BIG - not too high, but let's say the size of a table for 25 - and I twirled a bit.
Or maybe that was the day I was laughingly dancing . . . the twirling was, come to think of it, on level ground, which is good because I'm dizzy even when I'm not spinning!
But my point is that I was revolving in a most literal fashion (not like, "I have a splitting headache, literally!" - which might not be quite what literally usually means, unless you've been cleaved, but revolving literally, just me and space around me and my husband very kindly waiting until I'd had my twirl) . . . and my goodness, what a boring-er world it would be for those in whose worlds I revolve, if Jesus didn't kindly, often through the kindness of said husband, in fact, indulge me.
Let's take an example.
A really recent one from the last couple of days and now.
I have a public page on Facebook, and maybe it's been plague time for a lot longer than we know, but my posts don't usually have much of a public gathered around them! This is fine with me because the fun is to reach one person, and if I reach two, well that's clearly and distinctly double my hopes, so life is quite expanded!
But since we're trying to be literal today, let me state for the record that I have two public pages on Facebook now. One was started with the help of a couple of lovely women who I'm not sure even know each other. The first is the famous Mimi (I keep thinking she should be famous, she's so awesome, but she's living in Michigan these days and they're pretty locked down, so that might explain the lack of paparazzi surrounding her, or maybe it's her new baby keeping her low profile).
Well Mimi let me use her private page (which you need to have a public page) to set up my public page, and I was a happy parasite, a little barnacle if you will on the side of her FB ship for several years.
The other woman who helped me launch my Facebook career is extraordinary too - all the people I meet are, and I begin to suspect it might be the human condition, which cheers me up to no end! - and she helped me design the Paradise Project page, just because she's kindness and charity and really talented in one smart (both senses at least of the word) package. Thank you, L!
That first public page is The Paradise Project, and if you click on the bold title it will take you there even if you don't personally have or do Facebook. That may be why it's called a public page, and we started it when my Catholic romantic comedy The Paradise Project came out, though the FB page quickly became a place to wish the world a happy feast of Saint What's His (or Her) Fabulous Face, (is that why they call if Facebook?) rather than talk about the novel ad infinitum.
Enter Something New with St. Therese: Her Eucharistic Miracle.
The moment came which L had warned me about right before I forged ahead ignoring her warning:
If you are an author, perhaps don't name your public page after your current book, or you may be forced to have a new public page for each of your books, as opposed to one streamlined and all inclusive author page.
Sure enough, when not only one but our two new Therese books came out this past March (the other being The Stations of the Cross with Our Sister St. Therese), it was time to put up a more inclusive author page, and so the ever-giving-loving-Mimi helped me start a Suzie Andres, Author page on Facebook (again public), and you can click HERE or on Suzie Andres, Author (wow, a trinity of clickable links, three that get you one!) to get there. It's a lovely page with a wonderful profile picture (not of me exactly but more like a handful of my BFFs), and once again, thank you dear Miriam!!
As it turns out, though, the remarkable Mimi is not only amazing, she's also no dummy! She took the opportunity to pry my little barnacle self off her private ship - she's got another little barnacle attached to her these days, and it was time, she knew, for me to fish or cut bait (just to keep the nautical references going - or the proverbial fishy ones anyhow).
So . . . we came up with THIS, my out to lunch page, that is, my Suzie Andres private, normal, just like someone and anyone might have, where you "have friends."
Except that I needed to let people know that I wasn't planning on doing Facebook like a normal person because, well, I'm not quite normal. Or because I am quite normal and I was afraid that if I did Facebook I might not do anything else (Hi, my name is Suzie, and I'm a Facebookaholic, or would be - no judgment, just where my addictive personality takes me if given a chance - if I had Facebook like a normal person.) . . . and if you check out my "private would-be normal if I were" page HERE, you might discover like I just did (though you might not, because I'm awfully vague on what you see and what I see when we go to one of my pages) that I am actually suzieandres.98 - which is lovely because that is the year, 1898, when Therese's Story of a Soul was first published and took the world by storm (a storm of glory, one of the Pope Pii called it).
And I must say, the angels were definitely helping the day we set up this new private page (which was necessary so I could have a public page, and also so that Mimi could be free from the ever present danger of my posting a comment on someone else's Facebook page under her assumed identity), because they helped me concoct this fun explanation of why I was immediately ignoring all "friend suggestions" from the ever thoughtful and somewhat obsessed Facebook elves, determined as they are to connect us to each other in the tangled web they weave.
Not sure I needed any more tangles, I posted this:
"Dear friends, You don't have to ask - you already are my friends! But as to friending on Facebook, I can't actually, for 3 good reasons: 1. old boyfriends :), 2. I literally have 444 unread emails I need to attend to, and I can't imagine adding a FB personal page without losing my grip on reality (I'm already out to lunch, you can see) and 3. I have this page only so I can have my Real Page, namely my Suzie Andres Author Page. If you "follow me" over there, you'll get my posts. Or to have more personal contact, dear-friend-already, contact me through suzieandres.com. I love you! --Suzie"
You see, on a public page, people can like you: how very wonderful! Yes, I have always wanted to be liked and even loved, but moreover, if you go to my Suzie Andres, Author page, and like me or maybe it is something else you need to do - follow me? - I always forget, but if you do it, then you will get notices (maybe?) when I have a new post up. It's all pretty much a mystery to me, which will help explain what happened next. . .
One day in the not too distant past I got tempted by the syren-song of free advertising in the form of "Boost your post! You have $5.00 credit!" blaring at me from the Facebook truck as it drove through my internet intersection.
And I clicked.
And I don't think anything much happened - or I didn't then, but I do tend to ignore all the emails I get from Facebook about new notifications, and I tend to mostly ignore my pages altogether except when I'm posting something new (these days usually about Something New, haha). But I can't entirely ignore my credit card bill, since it must be paid sometimes, and the other day in doing that dread deed, I discovered the dratted Facebook elves had managed to insinuate themselves into my charges. Twice. As in seemingly recurring. But with different codes each time, so the credit card company can't do much to block them. And the charge wasn't (needless to say?) for free!
Did I mention that to have a Facebook public page, you have to give them your credit card? That was such a long time ago, when we first started to design the page, the wondrously talented L and I, and I seem still to remember a moment when I said, "Really? My credit card? Doesn't that seem like a bad idea?" But L knew the drill, and it was totally necessary (according to their requirements for a public page), and who knew that after some years went by, I'd cave to the syrens?
I do know lots of Syrens in real life, and I would cave to them in a heartbeat, they are so wonderful, trustworthy, and got-your-back, salt of the earth people. But the syren song of post boost, well that was something I shoulda known better than to click.
Apparently, it did boost my post, which is why now instead of seeing the names of some old friends (people I already knew) and some new ones who usually are in some way connected to the old ones, now (as in today) when I finally looked at the "notifications" sent by those thoughtful FB elves, I discovered names (with tiny circular photos) of people who have liked my posts or the pictures that go with them, but whose names and photos - I mean of these people who have liked me - seem, frankly, to be made up by the google elves!
And now we're getting to the heart of the matter which prompted me to write a post not on Facebook but here on Miss Marcel's Musings. The thing that makes me think I might need, after all, to get Elizabeth back into (and out of! I promise!) trouble in a sequel. Because in some essential way her experience reflects mine, and I just had an experience she might want to have to, it's so simultaneously startling and reassuring.
Not to mention crazy!
A few mintues ago, looking at the long-neglected FB notifications page, I realized that one of the new people I've been ignoring, someone who has often "liked" my posts and pictures on Facebook (pictures I post of Jesus, Mary, the Saints, etc.), is an Italian who has for his Facebook profile picture (the one that shows up in that little circle) ---------a photo of me!
Okay, the profile picture is me-Marcel, but in sublime Merle Oberon-as-Cathy of Wuthering Heights fashion, I state my truth fearlessly:
"I AM MARCEL!"
And apparently so is this other guy.
And I can't doubt it because check out the logic:
He is Marcel.
I am Marcel.
We are the same person.
(and now recall the iconic moment from Home Alone when Macaulay Culkin, the blonde boy, slaps his hands to his cheeks and screams AAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUGGGGHHHHHHH just like Charlie Brown, but in live action!)
I should wrap up here and get some sleep - somehow this Facebook moment and my writing about it is happening in the middle of the wee hours - but let me explain a titch more, tie up a few loose ends, and then we can all take a well deserved nap. (Though I'm having lots of fun, and I hope you are too!)
First loose end - the FB recurring advertising charges, the rest of the story:
Apparently I must contact FB (maybe I can friend them?) to attempt to get them to stop charging me for something I never knew I signed up for, and then the credit card company will reimburse the lost funds (about 25 bucks so far, and hey, that would buy a nice copy of Marcel's Conversations for a needy child by Friday!) . . .
Second loose end - why I clicked on notifications to begin with or at long last:
My feeble attempt to see if Facebook will give me a clue as to why they charged me or how I might uncharge - especially considering their facility with switching up codes to send to the credit card company and the likelihood that I could find myself embroiled in a life long (life in exile, that is) circle of not exactly life but more like Chinese water torture.
Third loose end, and the one that unravels the whole mess:
This Italian Marcel: who is he and what does he want?
Haha, this is the sequel-prompting-part:
He is me, and not only because we share a name and a photo (both belonging originally to Servant of God Marcel Van, the little brother, spiritually speaking, of our sister the Little Flower St. Therese of Lisieux, who spoke to him and taught him her Little Way which he now teaches us, thank Heaven).
No, Italian Marcel has more to answer for than being me upon first glance. (Cue Twilight Zone music) - When I looked below his profile picture to see if it was really me, I found out that he had posted MY FAVORITE PICTURE OF JESUS which no one knows about except Miss Marcel East, and then, as if that weren't eerie enough, he (Italian Marcel-me) posted a beautiful holy card image that I have in my room with me at this moment, along with (his) posting the accompanying prayer to the Sacred Heart with which we began this post, and which is ONE OF MY FAVORITE PRAYERS EVER (albeit I didn't know it until Jack Keogan sent me the holy card a few months ago).
Why yes, thanks for asking!
It turns out that Italian-Marcel even has the same Italian dad as I do (well of course, since we are the same person how could we have different dads?) - and here is the photo of him (borrowed from Italian me FB page) - our spiritual papa in his gorgeously (and a little crazy cool) incorrupt state:
Anyhow, this may be more than enough musing for one early morning post, but let me conclude with a quote and photo by and of us little Marcels, as originally posted by Mr. Marcellino, and in tribute to the true identity of all little souls in Jesus:
"Only God knows what you yourself will have to suffer. And He will be there to take you by the hand, to go with you step by step, and to support you in all trials." - Little Brother Marcel Văn CSsR (1928–1959)
I hope you are not suffering! And if you are, I sure hope our post today has lightened your load and let you know you are not alone. You may not have a twin in Italy, but then again, you may have one in Poland or Australia! The world is a fascinating place, and if we're honest with ourselves, what better place could there be for us to learn to love and adore Jesus than here?
I'm such a forgetful Marcel that as I was writing this post, I couldn't recall what post I would be supplanting, and just remembered this very moment that it is our Novena to the Holy Spirit post - or at least the post wherein we ended with our novena reflection (from St. Cyril of Jerusalem) and provided our prayer from none other than today's Saint - the darling and dear St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi. I bet you knew the minute her name started with St. Mary Magdalene that she must be a super special lover of Jesus and us! And she is! You can tell by the prayer we will say with her now, and then do take a nap, because if we're to be ready for the Holy Spirit's powerful action on Pentecost, we'd better catch a few zzzzzzzzz's while we can!
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen, Alleluia.
The Spirit comes with the tenderness of a true friend and protector to save, to heal, to teach, to counsel, to strengthen, to console. (St. Cyril)
Come, Holy Spirit. Let the precious pearl of the Father and the Word’s delight come. Spirit of truth, you are the reward of the saints, the comforter of souls, light in the darkness, riches to the poor, treasure to lovers, food for the hungry, comfort to those who are wandering; to sum up, You are the One in whom all treasures are contained. Come! As You descended upon Mary that the Word might become flesh, work in us through grace as You worked in her through nature and grace. Come! Food of every chaste thought, fountain of all mercy, sum of all purity. Come! Consume in us whatever prevents us from being consumed in You.
Draw me, Holy Spirit of Love, we will run!
* * *
p.s. Do visit the post below this one if you want to meet some wonderful new friends among the Saints. Or click HERE to find Fr. Aloysius Ellicuria, the miracle working perfect patron for the archdiocese of Los Angeles at this time when we need Jesus to remain within us as in so many tabernacles! You'll find Fr. Aloysius' charisms, miracles, virtues, and friendship (yes, he wants to be friends with you!) in a spectacular book written by Fr. Charles Thomas Carpenter, who is himself also wonderful (if not quite as full of wondrous charisms, Padre Pio style, as Fr. Aloysius).
Blessed be God in His Angels and in His Saints!!!
St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, St. Gregory VII, and St. Bede the Venerable, pray for us!
And just a day early but always in God's perfect timing:
St. Philip Neri, pray for us! And saintly Fr. Al Hewett, on the anniversary of your ordination, so fittingly on May 26, the jovial St. Philip's day, please pray for us and obtain for us the miracles you prayed for in your life and death and recent Divine Mercy birth into eternal life!
I've written books and articles and even a novel. Now it's time to try a blog! For more about me personally, go to the home page and you'll get the whole scoop! If you want to send me an email, feel free to click "Contact Me" below.