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"Thus says the Lord:
Lo, I am about to create new heavens and a new earth;
The things of the past shall not be remembered or come to mind.
Instead, there shall always be rejoicing and happiness in what I create;
For I create Jerusalem to be a joy and its people to be a delight;
I will rejoice in Jerusalem and exult in my people.
No longer shall the sound of weeping be heard there, or the sound of crying;
No longer shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not round out his full lifetime;
He dies a mere youth who reaches but a hundred years,
and he who fails of a hundred shall be thought accursed.
They shall live in the houses they build,
and eat the fruit of the vineyards they plant."
This first reading for Mass today, from Isaiah 65, sums up what is happening right now.
Am I getting all apocalyptic on you? Not a bit!
I'm just thrilled to read that God approves of our new crazy adventure with Little Way Books, coronavirus, Plenary Indulgences, FREE BOOKS, falling in love with Him again and again, and, shall I simply add: rejoicing in what He creates! Because WOW, He's been creating a lot lately, and it is so beautiful and good!
Our Father in Heaven says He creates us to be a joy and a delight; He wants to rejoice and exult in us!
He doesn't want weeping any more, or crying, or any sadness or pain.
Well, we can't necessarily wipe out all sadness and pain - this is a valley of tears as they say - but we can provoke each other to laughter, to joy, to delight, and to exultation!
Yes, even in the midst of toilet paper panic, ubiquitous (or worse, disappearing) hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial soap, and the unknowns that surround us even as we attempt to keep praying and trusting, even in the midst of all this we can provoke laughter, and inspire delight. Yes, even when our praying and trusting takes on a new form as we are in the unprecedented (for us in the U.S.A.) situation of being deprived of personal attendence (in 3-D) at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and the simultaneous deprivation of Jesus in Holy Communion. And yet still, with Jesus and Mary and Therese, I insist God creates us to be a joy and a delight, and it is He Himself who will rejoice and exult in us, and He wants us to rejoice and exult along with Him. This is, according to the Little Way of Therese and Marcel Van, not to mention St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, a perfect description of Love, in fact!
Sigh.....(of love)......So what are we to do?
Sometime about the day before yesterday, I think it was, an idea hit me like a ton of bricks. Lucky for me (and for you too, as you'll soon see), it was just LIKE a ton of bricks, but not even very much like them, so I didn't get knocked unconscious or anything, I just shared my idea with a couple of terrific ladies, and then I asked my husband's permission. (Tell first, ask second. Miracles are an addictive way of life!)
My good and darling husband. He's been understandably distracted lately, what with pandemics and cross country travel, poodle arrangements, online college (!?!?!) about to start up, and living apart from me (quarantine can hit in the unlikeliest places; though praise God we are all just being safe, not infected) . . . So it took him a day to say yes to my latest nutsy idea, and that meant it took two days to pull it off . . . but here is the fact, Jack, and you are going to LOVE IT AS MUCH AS I DO!!!! Rejoicing and exultation all around! No more tears, just LAUGHTER and DELIGHT!!! . . but please indulge me in a little backstory before I tell you the particulars on this shower of Heavenly roses with free home delivery . . .
* * *
Four years ago on February 25, 2016 (so technically 4 years and 26 days ago now, if I'm counting right) I went to a talk and book giveaway by the kind and clever Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC. He was kind because he gave away his book 33 Days to Merciful Love, and he was clever for the same reason, but also because he wrote it in the first place (which actually covers kind again, too).
I have loved St. Therese of Lisieux, that is, the Little Flower, or St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, O.C.D. (all those are one person, by the way!) for a very long time. When I heard Father's talk, I'd say I had already loved Therese for more than 30 years. Really loved. Read about. Prayed to. Read more about. Prayed to more. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, as the King of Siam would say.
And so I was quite astounded when Fr. Gaitley's book, which he gave us, was not only excellent (that wasn't too surprising) but also changed my life. I mean come on! How much more can you learn or love a Saint when your friendship has been going on for 31 years?
Like in a marriage, the answer to both those questions is . . . infinitely more?
So I fell in love with Therese all over again, and I began the quest to pray her Act of Oblation (which I remembered writing out and praying with great joy and intensity on its 100th anniversary in 1997!) and mean every word - and the next thing I knew, she whispered a secret to me, and it was so outrageous that I thought I must have mis-heard.
So I listened some more, and then went to pray before the Blessed Sacrament. There was a Discalced Carmelite priest visiting where I was praying, and he happened to be an expert on St. Therese, having as he did a degree in French and being the translator as he was of her poetry for the Institute of Carmelite Studies. So it made sense to ask him if I was losing it. Especially since I'd imagined Jesus saying, "Go for it. Focus on this crazy idea. Run with it! Run to me with it! Let's go!"
I got to have lunch with the Carmelite friar (along with a lot of other people), but then everyone cleared out and I found myself, just as I had hoped, with a chance to ask this holy priest my question.
"Father, if you have a minute . . . I have been captivated lately by this thought, this discovery, this secret in St. Therese that is just COMPLETELY OVER THE TOP!!!! And I think Jesus is telling me He wants me to pursue this idea, and I'm wondering if you, on behalf of the Church, could tell me if I've gone bonkers and made this up entirely, or if this is perhaps truly in St. Therese's teaching and message for us."
Being a compassionate priest, Fr. D.K. said, "Shoot!" (or something to that effect.)
So I told him what she had told me, what Jesus seemed to be enjoying my knowing . . .
And he, this wise and knowledgeable priest, said to me:
"Suzie, you understand St. Therese very well. Go deeper."
As I write this, tears spring to my eyes. Sure, I'm sleep deprived, but wow, he did. He said that right then, and so I did. I went deeper, and I discovered my mission. Besides being a Catholic wife and mother and cheerleader for Marcel Van - though that last role came the day I finished writing what I was soon to write - my new mission from Jesus was to share this secret, this Something New I had discovered in St. Therese, with the whole world. But first, to live it.
So I told Jesus, repeatedly from then until now, that I wanted to live this crazy idea I'd discovered, but I also wanted to share it with others. He confirmed that He was inviting me to live it (not that I know I do, and the one thing I do know is that if I do, I do it badly!), and Therese stood behind me and PUSHED! I mean that girl was in such a big rush for me to write a book about this idea, this Something New of which my husband fully approved, as Father had, saying (as Father did again later) - Yes! This is Something New in St. Therese! and Yes, you must write about it!!! Certainly Therese knew what a short attention span I had, and she wanted me to write FAST, so I did.
I wrote, Therese pushed, and I shocked Father by handing him a draft to review merely 2 months after he'd told me to go for it. He read the book as soon as he had time, and he approved. It was, he said, true and important. And it made him smile on every page. I liked that smiling almost best, though I like true and important a lot too!
He said, finally, to hurry and get a BIG PUBLISHER because this was REALLY IMPORTANT.
So I tried to get a publisher, and tried and tried and tried.
And each publisher would say, typically, YES! WOW! THIS WILL CHANGE THE WORLD!
But then I wouldn't hear back for a long time, and finally the publisher would say, Um, No, we can't publish this.
Collectively, the publishers I tried had lots of different reasons, but finally, no one was willing to commit like Father and my husband and myself - because the idea seemed to them just as crazy as it actually is!
And so, we decided to start a publishing venture and publish it ourselves. Talk about the little way!
And then, we had the chance to publish, simultaneously, a really fun book of Stations of the Cross with Our Sister St. Therese. And then, this morning in Costco, I got permission from the dear publisher of my previous books. Permission to make available along with these two Little Way books, my romantic comedy of vastly hilarious proportions!
Which leads me to the source of delight which Our Good Lord is opening up for you, dear reader, like a Living Stream of life giving water, in order that we might all become sources of delight for Him!
Remember how I said that I'd been praying He would let me share this idea, but first that He'd let me live it? Well every time a publisher said Yes and then No, I would praise His Holy Name, sure that He would let me keep trying to live this dream, touching one person at each publishing house at a time, inspiring them to try to live this grace too, and all the while I was sure that when He was ready to share His secret, He would.
Have I mentioned there's a little pandemic going on? And no easy access to Mass? And thus no Holy Communion?
We know how we feel about that - it's awful! A cause for tears and sorrow! We are separated from our Beloved!
But how does HE feel? He who delights in us? He who made us for perfect union with Him, a union we're pathetic at even when He comes to us in Holy Communion - oh, but how sad to think of how badly and poorly we will love Him without His precious Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity uniting us to Him as often as possible! What happens when "as often as possible" may be once a month? Or longer? What a time for knowing the longing of the Saints for Our Lord, when so many of them lived - as Therese herself did - in eras when there wasn't easy and frequent Holy Communion!
But enough of sadness and tears. Really, enough, because that isn't the Little Way. Our fearless leader, our sister St. Therese refused to be sad, and we're following not just any little way, but hers! When her dear novice, Marie of the Trinity, asked Therese - sick in the infirmary - really sick and in pain and nearing death - "Oh, isn't life sad?" - Therese responded: "Life isn't sad. It's very, very happy. OH! - Unless by 'life' you mean this exile! But this isn't life! Real Life is happy, very happy!"
St. Thomas Aquinas teaches us that the Eucharist is a foretaste of Heaven.
Jesus is the Way, the Truth, the Life. It is He who is Life, and we need to continue to unite ourselves with Him now, especially when we are seemingly deprived of Him in the Blessed Sacrament and enduring times that would fill the bravest heart with a smidgen of fear - not to mention the likes of us!
Therese does not leave us alone, any more than Jesus does, who said He would not leave us orphans. And though spiritual communions are wonderful, His Real Presence after Holy Communion is what we long for, and what He longs for!
So . . . St. Therese and Jesus have conspired at exactly this moment in history to reveal a secret known first by our Blessed Mother, and later by such Saints as St. Margaret Mary, St. Anthony Mary Claret, St. Faustina, and St. Padre Pio. It is a secret, a Something New, which has been hidden a long time, though it has been hiding in plain sight in Therese's Act of Oblation to the Merciful Love of the Good God ever since she wrote out her beautiful prayer 125 years ago this June.
What perfect timing! For the 125th anniversary of the most decisive moment of her life, Therese is sharing with us, now, at a decisive moment in our own lives (when we are deprived of Jesus in a way unlike any we have experienced before), the solution, the answer, the union we had thought was beyond our reach.
Jesus is never beyond our reach, and doesn't want to be beyond our reach even now, when He is seemingly locked away in the tabernacle in locked up churches. At best it seems we can only adore Him but not dare approach Him any nearer than that blasted 6 feet of safety, even though He, for One, is not at risk of disease!
Never mind. We can thank Him even for this, because He now has a reason to reveal Something New, the Eucharistic grace and miracle that He would like us all to request.
Enough stalling. You can download the book Something New with St. Therese for free.
And lest I take any credit, let me admit that the ton of bricks that hit me was not some brilliant idea of my own, but a comment from two friends who had read this book in manuscript. They both said, separately, "What a propitious time for your book! It's just what everyone needs!"
This book that is just what you need is at last available right here on our website.
If you have a kindle, the free ebook will soon be available on amazon.com (right now it costs 99 cents there, but is free here, and we're working on getting it free there too).
If you have a nook e-reader, you can get Something New right this moment as an ebook for free at barnesandnoble.com, but also from us, here and now too.
If you are reading this blog on a computer or phone or tablet, you can download the pdf version of Something New onto your device and begin reading as soon as we say our closing signature prayer!
But wait! There's more!
We're also prepared to send you (or rather, you can download this too) a lovely little ebook of Stations of the Cross with Our Sister St. Therese. It even has the very latest from the Vatican (from last week, St. Joseph's Day) on how you can gain plenary indulgences in this coronavirus time without fulfilling any of the "usual conditions" (since so many of us can't receive Holy Communion, which is one of the usual conditions). But I'm keeping you from your books. You'll find out how wonderful they are when you start reading them as soon as I stop writing.
But wait! THERE'S EVEN MORE!
You'd think, like I had thought, that I couldn't be more excited than I am about releasing our 2 new books for the whole world to enjoy simply, happily, and at no cost whatsoever. But this morning (and darned if it wasn't the same friend who reminded me of this 3rd book, which she hoped to read to cheer her, but couldn't find because her teen daughter keeps absconding with it and re-reading it!) - this morning I realized I could ask for permission to share The Paradise Project, the best Catholic novel ever! Okay, sure I wrote it, and yeah, it's not quite an epic classic like The Betrothed, but man, it is FUNNY! I'm looking forward to re-reading it myself! This is the book that of all my books has caused me the most annoyance - because those who read it continually pester me to write a sequel! They loved it so much they didn't want it to end, and so bid me to begin again!
Am I singing my own praises? Hardly! I have no more idea how I wrote that book than you have of how you birthed and raised such lovely children! It's all a great mystery! But a mystery of love, just like the man behind me in Costco agreed: that this is a pandemic of love! (Hint: buy a bunch of roses at Costco, then help Therese bring joy to earth by giving several away before you reach the checkout. You'll still pay for them, but you'll get in return A LOT OF HAPPY PEOPLE surrounding you in Costco!!)
Okay, I gotta get dinner, and more importantly let you get your books! Please contact me if you don't know how to download them - I'll be glad to help you find your way to the Heart of God, rejoicing Him as He rejoices you.
Darling Jesus, You have chosen Your moment to invite many others to share St. Therese's wonderful secret. Now will You please do me one more favor?
Draw me, we will RUN!!!!!
p.s. All 3 ebooks will be available at both amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com, and on your ereaders, soon for free. Meanwhile, you can download from the links embedded in the typewriter area above, or on our Welcome page or our Books page here at suzieandres.com. The pdfs can be printed out or read directly on your phone or computer or tablet . . . and the print copies of the book will be available soon too, from the usual online providers (though not for free, since they cost us something new to make!). And please share these books and this shower of roses to your heart's content with everyone you think might enjoy them - and even those you aren't sure about, like the 2 couples ahead of me in line at Costco, who turned out to be thrilled!
St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, pray for us and keep us close to Little Jesus, your Divine son!
Prayer to St Joseph in Every Difficulty
With childlike confidence I present myself before you, O holy Joseph, faithful foster father of Jesus! I beg your compassionate intercession and support in this, my present necessity. . .
I firmly believe that you are most powerful near the throne of God, who chose you for the foster father of His well-beloved son, Jesus Christ. O blessed Saint, who saved that treasure of heaven, with His virginal mother, from the fury of His enemies, who with untiring industry supplied His earthly wants and with paternal care accompanied and protected Him in all the journeys of His childhood, take me also, for the love of Jesus, as your child. Assist me in my present difficulty with your prayers before God. The infinite goodness of Our Savior, who loved and honored you as His father upon earth, cannot refuse you any request now in heaven.
How many pious souls have sought help from you in their needs and have experienced, to their joy, how good, how ready you are to assist. How quickly you turn to those who call upon you with confidence! How powerful you are in bringing help and restoring joy to anxious and dejected hearts! Therefore, do I fly to you, O most worthy father of Jesus, most chaste spouse of Mary! Good St. Joseph, I pray you by the burning love you had for Jesus and Mary upon earth, console me in my distress and present my petition, through Jesus and Mary, before the throne of God! One word from you will move Him to assist my afflicted soul. Then most joyfully shall I praise Him and you, and most earnest shall be my thanksgiving!
Prayer to St. Raphael
O Raphael, lead us toward those we are waiting for, those who are waiting for us: Raphael, Angel of happy meeting, lead us by the hand toward those we are looking for. May all our movements be guided by your Light and transfigured with your joy.
Angel, guide of Tobias, lay the request we now address to you at the feet of Him on whose unveiled Face you are privileged to gaze. Lonely and tired, crushed by the separations and sorrows of life, we feel the need of calling you and of pleading for the protection of your wings, so that we may not be as strangers in the province of joy, all ignorant of the concerns of our country. Remember the weak, you who are strong, you whose home lies beyond the region of thunder, in a land that is always peaceful, always serene and bright with the resplendent glory of God.
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Did we surprise you?
Happy St. Joseph Day!
Here is our spiritual father who is full of surprises!
One minute he's making apparently good decisions, the next he is taking a well-deserved nap, and finally, just when you thought you knew what was next again, VOILA! Good St. Joseph is ceasing to be afraid, taking Mary into his home as the angel bid him, naming our Savior - JESUS - and facilitating the calming of our every fear through the enactment (the original happening) of the rest of the Joyful Mysteries!
And before you know it, he's got us saying not just a confident prayer in his fatherly help, but a prayer to the great Archangel Raphael, who we need to guide us into each new uncertain day with the kind of angelic lead that God sent to this ultimate patriarch, St. Joseph, Spouse of Mary.
Happy St. Joseph Day!
Could we ever justly appreciate the just St. Joseph?
Happily, no! But what a joy to try!
Dear reader, I wonder where you are as I write.
This is a time of unprecedented (for us) grace, because on this very feast of the father of the Holy Family, we are being called to go home and stay there.
Where is your home?
I have 3 sons. Well 4, really. Or rather . . . once one becomes a mother, especially of sons, they do tend to multiply exponentially! If you are reading this now, do not be afraid to let those you love multiply exponentially!
For myself, though, the number increases like wildfire. You know, like the kind of wildfire that raged through my neck of the woods - or desert - in sunny southern California only a little more than 2 years ago almost exactly.
Take the day before yesterday, for instance. I was minding my own business trying to purchase a few groceries to hoard - haha, just kidding! I was buying only $256 of absolute necessities, except maybe those 4 banana cream pies, but honestly, they were mini ones, two to a box, BOGO (that's buy one, get one free, which really should be BOGOF, but BOGOF doesn't roll off the tongue quite as smoothly) - and believe me, I've become an expert at the grocery store lately, and there is NOT a run on banana cream pies, difficult as this may be to believe!
But let's get back into the checkout line in our little docudrama so you can see what I did.
I'm tempted to post here the photo I took (really, I did), but it was taken as a direct head shot of the three of us, and the day before yesterday that wasn't my best angle....So let it suffice for me to tell you in words (rather than in a picture is worth a thousand - ) about the two new sons I met.
Although I am, URL (that is, Under Relatively Legal adopted name, or URLan), MISS MARCEL, I think it is fair today to reveal that I am also URL/IRL as they say (or IRRLL, as we might say: In Remarkably Real Looking Life, though not exactly REAL LIFE which is Eternal Life), often called Suzie ANDRES.
I cap all those last letters of my surname, my married name, my treasured spousal name (St. Joseph's was "of the Blessed Virgin Mary" which I think may have been his favorite title too) because getting back to those banana cream pies, when I was in the checkout line at Publix the other day, I was kibbitzing with the checker and the bagger, as we love to so colloquially call them, when suddenly I noticed the checker's name tag. There in large capital letters on a pin on his chest (don't worry, it was stuck through his black Publix apron) I read ANDRES! Well, no exclamation point, but there was my name on his name tag!
I told him of our near relation, and though I forebore to hug him, which forebearance is my social distancing measure (for those of us who are unrepentant huggers, 6 feet = no hug, just barely), I couldn't help laughing and explaining that he should be my son: Andres Andres!
I turned to laughingly explain this to the bagger, who had perhaps missed my first explanation in his haste to hide my banana cream pies for me and save me the embarrassment of failing to hoard anything like masks or gloves (don't worry, I might have, but the store was out), when what to my wondering eyes did appear? No, silly, not reindeer but another nametag, this time on the baggers apron, and I KID YOU NOT - it said ANDRE!!!!! (again, sans the exclamation points, but otherwise clear as day: ANDRE).
I did, then, semi-legally adopt them on the spot (by taking a selfie, and I'm afraid we may not have been 6 feet apart, but then again, we were FAMILY!), and so I do confess that my sons are multiplying more rapidly than bottles of corona at a quinceanera!
Which brings me, however, to sons 1, 2, and 3 . . . (and I will need to check on 4 later today, but it is early yet as I write).
It is, as I mentioned at the outset, just under our prayers or in that general area of today's celebratory post, a time of unprecedented (for us) grace, because on this very feast of the father of the Holy Family, we are being called to go home and stay there.
I then asked, "Where is your home?" You can tell as you are reading this by checking on where you are standing, because most of us are standing, or sitting, or lounging hopefully in a comfortable chair with a good book or this blog post at present, at home.
My home looked like California, but the moment it occurred to me (along the rest of the nation) that we might be called to STAY PUT at home, I found myself magically transported by hollow metal tube high in the sky to my Real home, as it turns out, namely my in-laws house in south Florida.
Son #2 is winging his way here as we speak - though his home is as yet undetermined, being as he now suddenly is, a "rising freshmen," that is, the school year as we know it having abruptly changed beyond recognition even for homeschoolers, he's just as much ready for college (where he'll go in the fall) as he'll ever be!
Son #1 had to stay in Denver, so we are calling that his home for now.
But Son #3? He is on his surprised but obedient way home to Nigeria for the first time in 7 years, leaving today, under the protection and guidance of his father St. Joseph and the dear traveling companion St. Raphael who assists his own guardian angel in getting him across the world safely and smoothly.
My goodness won't his #2 mom give him the biggest hug anyone has seen in at least 2 weeks, what with all this social distancing, but once you are home in your mama's arms, who can stop you from being embraced by her loving arms, come what may?????
His mom #1, Our Blessed Mother the Immaculate Spouse of good St. Joseph, has never left his side these last 7 years (or the previous ones since his birth), just as she refuses to leave ours.
For myself, mom #3 or "American Mom" as we call me, I cannot help but rejoice with Moms #1 and #2 as our boy goes to his birth home and is encircled by his family. What a brilliant move on God's part to send him on the feast of his dear father and guardian (and His father and guardian, come to think of it), good St. Joseph.
Hooray for St. Joseph!
Hooray for little Jesus, God Himself, his son!
Hooray for unexpected changes in plans, hooray for homes, hooray for Moms, especially Mother Mary, and reunions, especially with sons, and hooray for this unprecedented time of grace.
Just when we thought St. Joseph was sleeping, he's wide awake and ready for action.
And remember how I promised to send you St. Joseph sleeping holy cards?
Well that is a project put on the back burner, you might say (since we're now in a virus, not a fire, I think that image is acceptable! Though my, how these crises do come and go! This too shall pass.......)
The cards got made all right, but darn if I haven't been packing, flying, seeking shelter, entering a retreat house, and finally settling in at my Florida home with my in-laws, God bless them, and I haven't found a moment to pick up those cards from Staples and pop them into the mail to those who requested them. I'm so sorry! Let's just make of it another sacrifice for the common good, and know that St. Joseph will do better than send you a card through me, he will bestow upon you his unique and irreplaceable fatherly hand and blessing! And who couldn't use that about right now? So if you haven't done so yet, request of him (and me too, if you like!) a gift of love from Heaven. The Saints, and especially one so universally in charge of us as good St. Joseph, guardian of the Heavenly Father's greatest treasure, never forget us and never let a single sigh go unanswered or rewarded. And I bet you've had your share of sighs lately like the rest of us!
Whether you've made it home yet or not then - and for all of us still firmly in this life of exile, I can tell you we haven't really made it HOME no matter what square inch of earth we currently inhabit! - I wish you the happiest and most blessed of St. Joseph Days ever!
And in his honor, let's quote the consoling words of his beloved and Immaculate Spouse, Our Lady of Guadalupe:
Hear and let it penetrate your heart, my dear little one:
Let nothing discourage you, nothing depress you.
Let nothing alter your heart or your countenance.
Am I not here who am your Mother?
Are you not under my shadow and protection?
Am I not your fountain of life?
Are you not in the folds of my mantle?
In the crossing of my arms?
Is there anything else that you need?
Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain.
Jesus bid us (you can find it in black and white in St. John's gospel, Chapter 14 and following):
Let not your hearts be troubled . . . Let not your hearts be troubled or afraid,
and this same Beloved Disciple St. John was the one to tell us, God is Love, and Perfect Love casts out all fear.
My prayer for you today and ongoing, as it has been for a long time, but all the more so on the day we rejoice in the guardianship, the love, the fatherly care and spousal wonder of St. Joseph, is that you BE NOT AFRAID, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the Kingdom.
If you can't find milk or eggs or Lysol at your local store, just grab a banana cream pie or whatever is handy and will put a smile on your sweet face, and be assured that the Kingdom is yours, if not various products we may or may not really need.
What comes next? Well, we may have to wait until May, but I'd say the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker comes next! And well before that we will be celebrating the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of our adorable Jesus, so be not afraid, simply snuggle close to His merciful Heart (as He told St. Faustina to tell us), and let Him love you more than ever before. He is so good, so meek, so humble and gentle, just like His earthly father, St. Joseph, chaste spouse of His Only Mother, dear Mary, Immaculate spouse of Joseph.
Thank You, Jesus, for every single thing Your beautiful hands bestow upon us.
Please cover the world in Your love and cast out all fear.
Remind us, through each other's smiles and laughter, as well as through the gift of Your Saints and angels, of Your all-powerful protection, so beautifully imitated by and shared with our dear St. Joseph. May we rest in the peace of the Holy Family, a peace so joyful and true that it shone out from them to all they met, even amidst the greatest trials and unsettling times through which they lived together and traveled, first to Bethlehem, then to Egypt, and finally to Nazareth.
Draw me, Jesus, we shall run!!!
Dear St. Joseph,
As we rest with you in the Lord, confident in His absolute power, goodness, gentleness, and love, look upon us kindly as you so often looked upon Little Jesus, our Brother, and Mary, your Immaculate Spouse and our Mother. Please take our needs and requests . . . into your dreaming heart and present them to your Son, Who was so quick to obey your every word. Help us then, good St. Joseph, to hear the voice of God, to arise peacefully, and to act with joy and love. Amen.
Isn't this exciting! We're starting our novena to St. Joseph today, and you remember what that means, don't you? It's a time-and-and-eternity-honored tradition here at Miss Marcel's Musings that our novenas are both little and HUGE!
This novena, like all those up to now, is little because we are little, just like our sweet and funny little brother Marcel-Jesus (the name he loved to call himself after his religious profession, knowing they had become one in some mysterious way). But this novena is also HUGE - Ginormous, really!! - because our policy is that ALL those who hear of it and/or see news of it anywhere or/and say the prayer once, more than once, or even participate from start to finish (wow! that is gold medal novena-ing, and we little souls can appreciate the heroism of those who manage it with God's compassionate grace!) - ALL of these people are included, and all their intentions, and the intentions of those they love! And did I mention it doesn't matter when they hear, see, or join the novena? Early? Half-way through? At the eleventh hour? All are welcome and included, and this encompasses those intentions we may remember or come across or have commended to us on Day 9 just as surely as on Day 1. It's the way of Love, ever diffusive of itself (just like goodness) and ready to invite everyone to the party (which thankfully is mostly a spiritual party, so introverts can each get their own mansion!)!
A rose from Carmel emailed me last night to let me know the St. Joseph novena starts today (or yesterday for those who like to finish on the Vigil, but I'm a finish-on-the-feast kind of gal, so we start today)....and this morning, thankfully, my angel was all about my remembering - and you will never guess the mischief he's got me into!
Somehow, after deciding to try out the devotion to Sleeping St. Joseph (since St. Joseph heard God's inspirations in dreams so often, and I know so many, myself included, who could use a dose of angelic inspiration these days), I found a statue of him at the San Buenaventura Mission (thank you, St. Junipero Serra! Thank you, St. Anthony! Thank you, St. Bonaventure! And thank you, lovely ladies who work there and had one in the back, having sold the one in the front yesterday!)!!
Then I took a photo of him (which you can see above), and also happened to think of calling my awesome Catholic print manager at Staple's near us.....Can we make a St. Joseph holy card? Yes, we can! And very economically if we put it on a business card and order ONE THOUSAND!!!! WOWIE ZOWIE, this is FUN!
So please do whichever of the following things your own angel inspires you to do:
1. Consider yourself part of our novena! Your intentions and those of your loved ones are IN!
2. Spread the news of this glorious novena to this glorious and so fabulous Saint!
3. Send me your name and address via the "CONTACT ME" button, and I can send you a few St. Joseph holy cards via the postal mail.
4. If you want a shot in the arm for devotion to St. Joseph, do yourself a favor and get (if you don't already have it, or read and pray with if you do) Fr. Donald Calloway's awesome new book on Consecration to St. Joseph. One thing I love about this book: even if you are kind of a dope, like me, and forgetful, like me and Marcel, and so you're challenged in doing the 33 day full consecration, you will love the book for the prayers, artwork, and especially (oh, how I love this!) the quotations from all the Saints about the greatness and goodness, kindness and love of that so silent, but always willing to help us, St. Joseph, dad to Jesus our brother and beloved pure spouse of Mary Immaculate, our own Mama! Yes, you got it - these relationships make him our dad too! And what an image of the Heavenly Father he is, what an outpouring of gentle compassion and mercy you will find when you turn to him. AND I must add, because I forgot to correct a dear friend who said "But St. Joseph does take his time," that in my experience, he is (as a favorite prayer says) very prompt and quick in answering our prayers. You see, as our simple novena prayer says above, Jesus was prompt in obeying St. Joseph - and I think St. Joseph is a sleep-talker, so don't worry if it looks like he's napping! He's going to take care of us, and pronto!
I'm thinking of this (for myself and my intentions) as a bit of a "discernment" novena. My husband and I, our two sons, and a handful of really dear friends scattered across the country - all of us have decisions we might make. Golly, I bet you do too, even if it's something as small (or big!) as "Shall I try again with my Lenten resolutions? Should I choose another instead of giving up entirely?" (But don't let me project! That's part of my discernment now for sure!!) Don't you think good and sleeping St. Joseph - who heard, at least thrice, angels in dreams whom God sent to enlighten him regarding what to do - will be the perfect intercessor for us? He's so peaceful too - and I'm sure he'll share that peace with us, who so often need it badly!
Welcome to our St. Joseph novena of 2020 (or whenever you happen to read this on the timeless internet), and may our dear father, guardian and protector of the whole Church and us, bring us happily to his feast day, and peacefully to good decisions! And now, to his Divine Son, we pray:
Draw us, we will run!!!
We've been having the most beautiful triduum lately - March 7 was the old feast of St. Thomas Aquinas (a beloved Doctor of the Church known for writing many great books), and a solemnity where I live, on account of the anniversary of the dedication of the chapel at Thomas Aquinas College; then March 8, though hidden behind the 2nd Sunday of Lent, was the feast of St. John of God, patron of book sellers and book printers; and today (as I write), March 9, though on the universal calendar it is the feast of the lovely St. Francesca of Rome, it is also - and celebrated with great joy in my family which boasts 2 sons named for him - the feast of St. Dominic Savio, student and spiritual son of the great educator and book writer-printer-publisher, St. John Bosco!
Wouldn't you say that it's a great time to launch a new publishing label?
So we are!!!
I'm pleased to announce, on behalf of St. Therese (the Little Flower) and her little spiritual brother Marcel Van (the other Little Flower), that these past weeks have been a flurry of activity and the culmination is upon us - Little Way Books is now up and running, and the crew busy upping and running it is pleased as punch!
We'll have lots more to tell you in upcoming days and upcoming blog posts, but for now, there must be something you haven't given up for Lent, so fill your bowl with millet seed, popcorn, or jelly beans (yeah, you probably gave those up, didn't you? So how about raisins? or apple slices?), and raise a glass - of water? with ice? - to join in our rejoicing at the wonderful, little, tiny, and super duper fun adventure that is Little Way Books!
Although I haven't seen it yet, UPS delivered a package to my home about 45 minutes ago, and my husband reports that yes, there is a box from UPS which he received. Can you guess what it contains?
Nothing less than 2 preview copies of our first print offering (i.e. real, honest to goodness, hold in your hands and read by the light of the moon, or any other light available book!) from Little Way Books!!! It's a book I wrote 3 and 1/2 years ago, and have been working on perfecting ever since. We finally decided, with a little help from our friends, that perfection is great when it comes to abandonment, love, and cheesecake (or millet seed, if it's Lent), but for books, one might decide to stop just short of perfection and provide, instead, the published product before the next millenium arrives!
And so, more coming soon on Something New with St. Therese: Her Eucharistic Miracle, and as a delightful bonus offering, we're publishing the ideal Lenten devotional: Stations of the Cross with Our Sister St. Therese, about which we'll wax eloquent any day now as well.
I'll let you go now so you can hurry and read all those spiritual books on your bedside table, because before you know it, you'll have 2 more to enjoy! Meanwhile, don't forget to join us in a prayer of thanksgiving to our Heavenly Father for the joyful enterprise that is now, happily, Little Way Books!
We haven't shown up on amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com yet because we're doing some last minute fine-tuning, but I promise you'll be the first to know when you can order our books directly from them. In the meantime, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or through the contact button on this page. And in gratitude and love, we conclude with our all-encompassing prayer of confidence:
Draw me, darling Jesus; we will run!!!
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.