Let's face it, who can resist her?
And so, on this feast of St. Louis de Montfort (also feast of St. Peter Chanel, feast of mama St. Gianna Molla, and vigil of the feast of the great Dominican St. Catherine of Siena) - anyone want to join me and Marcel for a 33 day immersion into preparation to consecration to Jesus through Mary?
Wow, that was a mouthful, but this is quite an idea that a dear friend suggested to me today. It turns out that if we start today (and what better day than St. Louis' feast?) we will end and consecrate ourselves (or re-consecrate ourselves) on the Feast of the Visitation!! That is May 31, a Sunday this year, and - HOLY MOLEY!!! - actually Pentecost!!! And the next day? Feast of Mary, Mother of the Church! So....do you feel it? That breath of the Holy Spirit? Do you hear it? That small voice that is Wisdom? And do you sense it? A push in the small of the back - that is usually St. Therese, in my experience, but may be your guardian angel....
So in the interests of Love, I'm going to share a letter I wrote to friends on this topic and have been sending around this morning (without the crazy fun news of Pentecost right in there and Our Lady hiding behind the Holy Spirit, just where she is happiest). And then I'm going to share the words of Our Lady of Guadalupe to us (through St. Juan Diego) because, as two friends reminded me on Our Lady of Good Counsel day: Don't forget who butters your bread!
Actually they said it in other words entirely, but what I understood from their two sweet messages (one with a gorgeous hand-painted image of Our Lady of Guadalupe attached!) is that my trying to set Our Lady's True Image aside - as expressed on Juan's tilma and preserved perfectly to this very moment - well, that would be like forgetting my mama altogether! So welcome back, dear Mother Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and please shower us with even more Castilian roses than ever!
+ + +
Today is the feast of St. Louis Marie de Montfort, and a dear friend in Carmel just wrote and mentioned that it is also a great day to start a 33 day consecration because this would end on the Feast of the Visitation (May 31).
I am thinking I could really use to renew my consecration to Mary.
My original consecration date is December 8, in honor of the Immaculate Conception, but golly, the Visitation!? How about asking Our Lady and little Jesus in her womb to grant all the necessary miracles to end social distancing (because they end the plague)?!
Anyhow, I do know that in this time I need Our Blessed Mother to guide me and be in charge of me (and mine) more than ever....so if you would like to join me, let's start our 33 day preparation for Consecration to Mary!
I love Fr. Michael Gaitley's 33 Days to Morning Glory as a guide (and I know many of you do too) and I will use that - which I happily just discovered already on my kindle! (I am not at home with all my books!)
Here are a couple links if you want to order either the ebook or paperback of this book if you don't have it but want to use it for the consecration (and preparation):
On amazon, for kindle e-reader (this is instant gratification!) - if you don't have a kindle, you can click on that page, right under the box that says "kindle" and the price - click on "Read with our Free App" and you can easily download the kindle app onto your phone or your computer (amazon will show you how if you click that):
33 Days to Morning Glory for kindle
Or you can buy the paperback on amazon here:
33 Days to Morning Glory paperback
May your guardian angel (and Padre Pio's angel) inspire and accompany you through these next 33 days, whether you are preparing to consecrate yourself to Jesus through Mary, renew your consecration, or just count His blessings and rest in Our Lady's love for you during plague time!
with much love,
p.s. Oh! Here are some other preparation books that you might like to try instead of Fr. Gaitley's, if you want something else:
This one includes St. Louis' masterpiece True Devotion to Mary and costs only 99 cents on kindle or kindle app!
True Devotion to Mary and Preparation for Consecration included - ebook (for kindle or kindle app)
Here's one that works through the Rosary!! What a great idea, and the priest-author is wonderful:
Total Consecration through the Mysteries of the Rosary
This one looks great "for little ones"! -
Consecration to Mary for Little Ones
Here's another one for children, this one from TAN:
Marian Consecration for Children
If you decide to buy one of these, be sure you are buying the right edition - ebook or paperback....
+ + +
It's always good to know who it is to whom you're about to dedicate all you have and are, so here are the words from Our Lady that most express (for many of us) her truest identity - that of our mother. As she spoke them to St. Juan Diego, but for all of us:
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.
* * *
Sending lots of love from Marcel-land, and if you are reading this, please say a tiny prayer (maybe, "Mary, help!") for my interview with Michael Lichens at Catholic Exchange - this will be a podcast I'll share with you when it's posted. And I'm pretty silly to ask for a prayer, because Michael is so much fun to talk to that it will be a blast - for us, and I hope for you later! But hey, prayer is always good! A sigh, a glance, a smile, or how about our own from little Therese:
Draw me, sweet Jesus in Mary; we will run!!!
Lots of love!!!!
Can you ever get enough of these two faces? I can't! And Marcel (in his delightful Conversations with Jesus, Mary, and St. Therese) explains - or has explained to him - just why this is so. Of course, as little Miss Marcel, I can't find the passage for you now, try as I may, but give me a couple of decades more of immersing myself in the consoling, true, and illuminating words of this favorite book, and I will have the words not only at my fingertips (which they are in the book which is forever near me, thanks to God's kindness), but in a post for you to read too! If you can't wait that long, feel free to click on this magic word Conversations and impulse buy! I'm confident it will be the best purchase you've made in plague time, and just to let you know I'm not the only one highly recommending the second St. Therese and his masterpiece, let's give a shout out to the master of helping us find what we are missing:
Good and dear St. Anthony, pray for all of us who are so often at a loss!
Meanwhile, the idea is this:
Just gazing upon our dear Mother and darling Jesus is enough to call their compassion down upon us!
Isn't that marvelous?
And here is an example:
My favorite image of Mary - I know, I'm fickle and I've often mentioned Our Lady of Guadalupe in this regard, but forgive me if I now know myself better today and have more candour, relegating Our Lady of my Mexican heart to second place, because my favorite image of Mary has just got to be the image above of Our Lady of Good Counsel. And to prove it, I'll offer it again as the image below in a more moderately sized version that turns Our Lady's veil into a gorgeous blue, and even better, shows us Little Jesus' adorable divine hand resting sweetly on His mommy. He's our exemplar and showing us the Little Way!
Well the delightful news is that today, April 26 (and this year the joyful 3rd Sunday of Easter), day after the wondrous Feast of St. Mark on April 25, is - hold on to your Easter bonnet or fedora - The Feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel!!!
Despite my calling on her just about every day and often multiple times a day, I manage to forget this recently acquired (in the last decade or so) info about her own lovely feast - and so I thank my dearest Padre V for alerting me very first thing with a much needed simple email that said: Happy Feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel! And I extend these felicitous greetings to you as well, dear reader! And I can even offer - what an embarrassment of riches! - a Litany to Our Lady of Good Counsel which I discovered about 5 moments ago when I found the picture of Our Lady of Good Counsel in a blue veil. So . . . in the interests of Sunday joy (and my other little duties), I will leave you with a link to the magnificent and very miraculous story of Our Lady of Good Counsel of Genazzano.
(If, like Miss Marcel East, you find you don't love that image in Genazzano, well no worries, we have the images above in your choice of veils, but the true history is to die for - I mean I would! - and so cool that I must give you that link).
Exactly like Our Lady and Little Jesus tell Marcel, the message of Our Lady of Good Counsel is that gazing upon them is a prayer in itself which delights their hearts, and this image in Italy (to my understanding, the reason for the fame of Our Lady of Good Counsel) illustrates the power of this simple prayer of gazing in multiple ways. Not only was the image in Genazzano transported by angels from a far away place (and witnesses at the time attested to having seen it both places), not only does it have a science defying eggshell thin thickness, not only does it hang miraculously an inch or two away from the wall it fronts, not only has it been the cause (secondary) of tons of miracles (I was going to say countless, but many have been counted in the careful records kept at her church in Genazzano) - but also and perhaps most wonderfully of all, when pilgrims pray before this special image, Our Lady's and Little Jesus' so lovely faces often become fuller and suffused with an exquisite rose color when they are about to grant a request! Which shows us how happy they are to answer all our prayers! WOW!!!
Without further fuss, then, here is the link to the article about Our dear Mother of Good Counsel:
OUR LADY OF GOOD COUNSEL (OF GENAZZANO)
And here is our Litany! In case you find it too long, let's say our little happy prayer first, and then we'll be sure to have prayed together on this so sweet feast. I love you, dear reader, and my love is only the faintest glimmer of Our Lady's and our all-loving Lord's infinitely tender love! So bask in their faces today, and may St. Therese and her little brother shower you with their trademark roses!
Draw me, we will run!
Our Lady of Good Counsel, pray for us!!!
LITANY OF OUR LADY OF GOOD COUNSEL
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven,
Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God,
Have mercy on us.
Beloved Daughter of the Eternal Father,
pray for us.
August Mother of God the Son,
pray for us .
Blessed Spouse of God the Holy Ghost, etc.
Living temple of the Holy Trinity,
Queen of Heaven and earth,
Seat of Divine Wisdom ,
Depository of the secrets of the Most High,
Virgin most prudent,
In our doubts and difficulties,
In our tribulations and anguish,
In our discouragements,
In perils and temptations,
In all our undertakings,
In all our needs,
At the hour of death,
By thine Immaculate Conception,
By thy happy nativity,
By thine admirable presentation,
By thy glorious Annunciation,
By thy charitable Visitation,
By thy Divine Maternity,
By thy holy Purification,
By the sorrows and anguish of thy maternal heart,
By thy precious death ,
By thy triumphant Assumption,
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.
V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God,
R. And obtain for us the gift of good counsel.
Let Us Pray.
Lord Jesus, Author and Dispenser of all good, Who in becoming incarnate in the womb of the Blessed Virgin hast communicated to her lights above those of all the Heavenly intelligences, grant that in honoring her under the title of Our Lady of Good Counsel, we may merit always to receive from her goodness counsels of wisdom and salvation, which will conduct us to the port of a blessed eternity. R. Amen.
This is the picture that accompanies me through Easter every year, alongside the song that IS Easter to my family. Tears come to my eyes as I think of His merciful Love, so readily poured out for us in all the little and big Easter moments, from the time of His Resurrection around 33 A.D. to this day, Divine Mercy Sunday, 2020.
What can one say? If one is me, one can say a lot. But then again, sometimes silence reigns (believe it or not!) even in my heart, soul, and mind. And then, on that rare occasion - as on any other occasion I can drum up - it's time to let Marcel and Jesus speak to us from Conversations, the book little Marcel Van, Vietnamese Servant of God and spiritual brother of St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, wrote for his spiritual director and for us (thanks be to God, along with thanks due to Fr. Anthony Boucher, C.S.s.R. and Jack Keogan for their years of translating).
Take today, for instance.
I've long held that it is easier (unpleasanter as it is) to live the 6 weeks of Lent than to celebrate for 7 weeks of Easter. 40 days of restraint (or restrained indulgence, for those of us who seem inclined to break our resolutions one by one when we are really good and not blowing them all at once together!) vs. 50 days of holy dissolution - which do you find more suited to our mortal frames?
I personally can't wait for Heaven, when all penance - in fast or feasting - will be over! But like St. Paul, I happily wait - because we get to love Jesus and be loved by Him either and both here and/or there! So no worrying, any more, ever, about anything at all. And if you don't believe me, whether your words are coming fast and furious this Divine Mercy Sunday, or slow and steady, or not at all . . . well in any case, it is time to open Conversations! If you don't have a copy, I can only say that it is high time we get you one.
If you are destitute, and not only don't have a copy of Marcel's masterpiece yet, but also don't have the means to procure one, perhaps I can help if you Contact Me by clicking the Contact Me button you'll find somewhere or other on this page.
If you are merely impoverished, because you don't yet have this best-book-ever but could click amazon.com just as easily as clicking Contact Me and then keep clicking until the book is ordered and on its merry little Marcelian way to you - well then CLICK HERE to order now! Do I get some sort of remuneration for all my free publicity for Marcel? I sure count on it! I'm looking for heavenly kisses, since earthly ones are harder to come by these days, what with social distancing and all that annoyingly necessary rot!
Okay, so now that I'm confident you're on your way to reading Marcel not only through me (or through this dear and happy blog of our musings) but also with me ("Class, open to 28 April 1946. Miss Marcels Michigan, please begin reading for us, alternating paragraphs, starting with the fly."), let's get going!
If you just ordered your copy (and what with shipping speeds slightly slower in plague time, it hasn't yet instantaneously arrived), or if you can't find the copy that should be at hand but was perhaps stolen by another in your household who has also realized the brilliance of our little brother - or rather his wonderful dullness and Jesus' glorious LOVE shining through their pages - no worries (remember our motto!), simply read our post for today (this one!) and then download any of the free ebooks at the top of the page - I said before they were in the typewriter section, but delightfully discovered that on a phone they are in the rose section, the typewriter having been left in California, apparently. We wouldn't want you left without Easter treats, and these are abundant in every one of the books we're offering for fun and for free, as you can see by their descriptions HERE. Not only that, but if you haven't yet read The Paradise Project (or have, but not since yesterday or the day before), you'll want to dive in because Elizabeth, our heroine, also has some difficulty with Lenten resolutions. I can't quite remember myself what happens to her in the Easter season, though I'll need to know before embarking on the sequel! Like Marcel she is so darn human, though unlike him she is a figment of our imaginations.
Happily, just like the Risen Jesus whom the terrific Thomas doubted (where would we be if he hadn't? Thank you, Thomas the Apostle, for your humanness too! These perfect imperfections help the rest of us survive life in exile and have hope for our own Paradise in His good time!), Marcel is very real. And the two of them - Marcel and Jesus - have the most wonderful 9 page dialogue on Divine Mercy Sunday, 1946! Thank You, Heavenly Father, for providing such abundant nourishment for our sugar-filled souls. We need that spiritual milk St. Paul talks about, as well as our Easter chocolate!
If you know me (and even if you don't know me yet, welcome to my world - I wear my heart on my sleeve so it will take you about 30 seconds to see my inner self if you read on!), you'll know I could joyfully and quickly type out the whole 9 pages of today's Conversations, but in the interests of brevity, I'm going to practice Easter restraint and just give you some highlights. That way you can make it on time to your online Divine Mercy Mass, or say a Divine Mercy chaplet - which will gain you or someone you love a plenary indulgence! You can find info on the special plenary indulgences in coronavirus time in the document put out recently by the Apostolic Penitentiary - but still no worrying allowed, because Holy Mother Church has made it super simple and so have we! You can read the document HERE, or in the back of our Stations of the Cross with Our Sister St. Therese book (downloadable for free with one click, here on this blog - above - or at amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com, or even directly on your kindle or nook by searching in the Store for the title or my name).
But meanwhile, here are some highlights of Jesus' words to Marcel on this Divine Mercy Sunday, 1946 - though back in our little brother's day, it was merely the Octave of Easter. How our Jesus does manage to pile on the blessings and graces as the years accumulate!
Marcel on this day accuses Jesus of being a miser, saying:
"The more I offer You souls in great numbers, the more You want. How can one explain such a strange attitude? I do not really understand how the will of a miser can penetrate Your heart to such a point that it is impossible to get it out. That is a very unattractive defect, little Jesus; the more I offer You souls in great number, the more You say to me: 'I still want more.' So, when will this end? It is probable that it will only cease for good the day when You will no longer be able to receive any at all. And, after all that, You reproach me for having the acquisitiveness of a miser. It is Yourself, Jesus, who has such a yearning and You still thrown the fault in my direction. Are You not afraid of being ashamed? Certainly, our Mother Mary should feel like laughing."
To which Jesus responds:
"Yes, Marcel . . . And whatever you might say, you also have a little of my defect, since the more I give you kisses and caresses, the more your miser's appetite grows. Even though I have exhausted all the means of indulging you, this strange desire always demands more. . . "
Ah, it is true, dear Jesus! We DO demand more, and we thank You for revealing this more to us through our sister Therese!
I have been pushing books on you today, primarily because that is where we find words, and the words of Jesus and His Saints best of all!
Have you yet read our Something New with St. Therese? There you will find the craziest idea yet, the nuttiest and most extravagant indulgence that Jesus has come up with to this point in history. It is NEW, it is WILD, it is (if I might quote myself) OUTRAGEOUS! And it is for you, and He can't wait another second for you to find it out if you have not found it out yet.
Have you been feeling a little low lately? Or maybe your high (like mine) comes from all those orders you're placing with amazon.com, but you know that even when the pringles arrive, they won't really satisfy . . . Jesus alone will satisfy you, and if I might be so bold, I will tell you that Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, the Sacrament of His Love and Union - only this union of Holy Communion will satisfy you!
Now don't cry. I'm not being cruel to mention this just when you most likely can't receive Him.
Because the good news this Easter is that YOU CAN receive Jesus, our Love!
No, not by climbing over the boundaries that keep you from Him today (civil law, Church ordinances, Covid 19) - but precisely by climbing under them! Therese taught this to her sister Celine, and Celine and Therese want you to learn the lesson too. We are little ones. We don't have the power to make or break laws and ordinances, nor (tempting as it may be) would it be a good idea to hold up our favorite priest at gunpoint in order to demand Jesus from him!
(Lest my parentheses obscured the meaning of that last sentence, let me reiterate: Please DO NOT hold up anyone at gunpoint, least of all our dear priests!)
No, but if there were a locked gate keeping you from the gorgeous ocean (congratulations, J, C, and J in Arlan! The Resurrection Gate is open!), and if you were a little one determined to get to said ocean, you would not perhaps be big enough to climb over the gate, but you could very likely slip under it. And that is exactly what Therese teaches us to do in this difficult conundrum of how to receive Jesus in Holy Communion when we need Him most this plague time.
No, I don't think I'll explain the rest here. Please Contact Me if you can't manage to download the book Something New with St. Therese: Her Eucharistic Miracle. Or read THIS article to get a hint of it, and then read the book . . . Even my oldest brother - a Very Busy Man (Hi, J.H.! I doubt you have found this blog or have time for it, but if you are here - I love you! Thanks for all your goodness, and hi to the fam!) - even my oldest brother has found time to read (last I heard from him on Easter Sunday morn) enough of the book to Get the Gist and rejoice in Jesus' overwhelming determination to unite us to Himself in the Blessed Sacrament, even now.
But before you immerse yourself in Therese's glorious discovery, let's finish here. What else does Marcel have for us in today's Convos? Our little brother tells us that Jesus said, clear as day, clear as the Light of the World that He is, exactly what He wants us, even in the poverty of our pathetic memories, to keep in mind:
"Remember what I said to you, namely: that you must always be joyful."
and again, Jesus says to us today (through Marcel):
"Because you are wrapped in the flames of my love, on looking at you I see that you are very beautiful and your beauty enchants me so much that I give you kisses without tiring myself; and truly, the more I give you, the more I wish to give them to you without stopping."
Enough already! Padre Pio told us that Holy Communion is all an external and internal mercy, an embrace, and in it Jesus kisses us all over, visiting our whole being, finding delight in us, His creatures. Have you heard this before? If not, you need to listen to it HERE, in the talk I gave for the awesome Padre Pio Prayer Group of Nashville. Then you will understand what Jesus desires. Yes, it is union with you that He desires, now, even as He has desired this union with you from all eternity! Will you become the perfectly imperfect vessel for His Mercy on this Feast of Divine Mercy? I bet you will! You are already it, and need only to hear how in order to open yourself up even more to His infinitely tender and solicitous love!
Let's do it - let's set the world on fire with His love!
Here is what our liturgy told us yesterday, and it is our Easter message of hope and joy:
"Observing the boldness of Peter and John and perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men, the leaders, elders, and scribes were amazed, and they recognized them as the companions of Jesus." (Acts of the Apostles 4:13)
Let's be bold, especially with Jesus, just like Peter, John, Therese and Marcel have been!
And if you need a boost in boldness, let's start with joy, which you can find abundantly in this song I posted last Easter, and thanks to another Miss Marcel and her beauty, was reminded of late last night. Ready? It is HERE, our theme song, Souris et Chante, and more fun than a barrel of monkeys, which is to say, more fun than a barrel of Marcels! Will you join me in a prayer for the sweet Miss Marcel who loves it so much? May she smile and sing, whether in CA, MI, or anywhere her dear Jesus takes her in His abundant love!
And speaking of prayer intentions, let's bundle them all up in one big sigh (of love) and offer them to Jesus now!
Draw me, Risen Jesus, we will run!!!!
p.s. Keep listening after Souris et Chante, and you will hear - Jesus' Divine Mercy gift which I had no idea would play next! - my other favorite Therese/Marcel song! It is about how Jesus does everything in me, and I do nothing! It's a great little way to go, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
p.p.s. I am fixing typos, and to my utter astonishment, Jesus played this song for me eventually, the very song that contains (always to my joy and bemusement) the sentence that unlocks Holy Communion for us instantly at every moment: Remain in me . . . but I won't say more, because it's been said at the links above. Enjoy Him as He enjoys you! Rejoice, He is risen! He is risen as He said!
p.p.s. In honor of the Most Holy Trinity and in particular the Holy Spirit, here is an unprecedented 3rd postscript, because how could I not share with you Fr. Michael Gaitley's Divine Mercy Sunday Message? He too will explain the plenary indulgence available to all of us today. I disagree with Fr. Gaitley on how hard or easy it is to be detached from sin, but thankfully, Fr. Gaitley explains that this is not a condition for the Divine Mercy plenary indulgence....Additionally, the Apostolic Penitentiary's Decree doesn't (I think, though feel free to check), that is, DOES NOT require perfect contrition to receive the plenary indulgence in this time, but only the intention to go to confession when we are able/when it is allowed . . . God bless us all!
Just a happy little reminder that Jesus knows you and loves you! He died and rose for you, and now He is ready to give you your happiest Easter yet!
But how? you ask.
Well, let's just start with our sister Therese's brilliant one-two-three-four) punch.
1. Think of what you truly desire.
2. Ask Him for it in all simplicity
3. Follow your request with, "Are you not all-powerful?"
4. From there, it is all "Jesus I trust in You!"
I heard the most wonderful homily at the Easter Vigil last night. By God's mercy, I was at exactly the right Mass - yes, virtually, but hey, what consolation and solace to realize, as has been said often recently but is SO TRUE that it cannot be said enough: Even if we cannot, individually or collectively, go to Mass, the Mass is still happening! And Fr. Paul Raftery, OP, pointed out last night that Jesus doesn't want us to be afraid. Fear is a sign of some kind of alienation from Him - and He doesn't want any distance between us and Him, but simply to have us (as He told St. Faustina to spread the word) "snuggle close to His merciful Heart."
The latest news from this Triduum is that Our Savior's breast was pierced by a lance, from which point blood and water flowed out. This is good news! This means there's a new little way into His Heart! Let's go there, and let's snuggle with Him - the One who holds all life and death in His loving hands and can thus keep us at a safe distance by drawing us into Himself!
Happy Easter! He is risen, as He said!
I love the Ukranian greeting:
Christos Vos Kress.
Vo Istinu Vos Kress.
(badly in need of a nap, so enjoying that I probably massacred the spelling there!)
Or in the good news for modern man American translation:
Alleluia! Christ is Risen!
To which one replies:
God is so good, and He does not leave us orphans. I have been enjoying making my own prayer for a more-than-spiritual-communion, to go along with Jesus' great idea in Something New with St. Therese: Her Eucharistic Miracle. Download the book for free (if you haven't already) at the top of the page in the typewriter section, and here is a prayer you might want to say with me when you have the beautiful grace of online Mass:
My Jesus, I believe You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally at church, I ask You to come into my heart sacramentally where I am. Are You not all-powerful? I embrace You within me, in hope and with Theresian confidence, and I unite myself wholly to You. Never separate Yourself from me and never permit me, foolish child that I am, to separate myself from You or be separated from You. Draw me, Jesus, we will run!
Happy Easter!!!! May Our Lady of Life, whose feast is tomorrow on Easter Monday, fill You with Jesus!
On this great Good Friday: Litany of Sacred Heart, Divine Mercy Novena begins, Padre Pio loves us, and Jesus gives us Mother Mary!!!
Stop me if you've heard this one.... Or rather join us, because this is really cool!
Archbishop Gomez will lead the Litany of the Sacred Heart at 9 am CA time and noon East Coast time (and somewhere in the middle, in the middle!).
This article gives the links for FB and Youtube for praying along with our Archbishop and the whole country...doing this (praying the Sacred Heart Litany), we can gain a plenary indulgence for ourselves or the poor souls - and that would include someone who died without the sacraments in the pandemic.
Here is another really awesome article that a dear friend sent me (she said she wasn't a big fan of Padre Pio - he is/was scary! - but she listened to part of my Talk on Padre Pio and Therese - and now she likes him a lot!). This article is about the Blessed Sacrament and the Sacred Heart (and Mother Teresa! and Padre Pio! though it is not a long article...)
As if that weren't enough, this kind and generous friend sent this amazing article which brings to mind our asking Padre Pio to heal my father in law, Paul (of cancer) and our young friend Damien Cooper, whose cancer has just returned, but JESUS WE TRUST IN YOU!!!
Today begins the Divine Mercy Chaplet - I can't remember a time when we all, collectively, had so much in common to pray for! May Jesus have mercy and give us back Himself in the Sacraments, especially the Most Blessed Sacrament! Here is today's prayer to start the Novena:
Jesus said: "Today bring to me all mankind, especially all sinners, and immerse them in the ocean of my mercy. In this way you will console me in the bitter grief into which the loss of souls plunges me."
Most merciful Jesus, whose very nature it is to have compassion on us to forgive us, do not look upon our sins, but upon our trust which we place in Your infinite goodness. Receive us all into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart, and never let us escape from it. We beg this of You by Your love which unites You to the Father and the Holy Spirit. Eternal Father, turn Your Merciful gaze upon all mankind and especially upon poor sinners, all enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion show us Your Mercy, that we may praise the infinite power of Your Mercy, forever and forever. Amen.
Divine Mercy Chaplet . . .
* * *
Here is a link to a PDF of THE WHOLE NOVENA - although I always say the prayers for the day before the Divine Mercy Chaplet (and this one advises you to say the Chaplet, then the prayers) . . .
But now Marcel says don't quibble, get to the really good stuff I've got for you! He won't let me close this post, you see, without sharing the beautiful words of Jesus to him (recorded in Conversations) on this very special day of Good Friday - the day when Jesus gave us Mother Mary as our very own Mother forever! Today is the famous day-of-the-socks for Marcel and Jesus (Marcel is wearing socks at Jesus' express command, but they are uncomfortable and so he repeatedly asks to take them off, while Our Lord continuously explains it is a good little sacrifice, since He has our brother wear them for his health - which reminds me of our Slight Inconveniences and Great Deprivation - but all according to His wisdom and in union with His suffering).
On Good Friday, 1946 (which was in that year on April 19), Our Savior explained to Marcel and to us:
"Your little sacrifices are very pleasing to me. You still will have to suffer a lot, but don't worry. Remember today is the anniversary of the day when I gave you to my Mother Mary so that you might be her true child; it is also the day when I gave Mary to you to be your true Mother. Finding myself in the presence of my Mother, I suffered with joy. At that moment, when all the creatures of the world seemed to have abandoned me, only my Mother remained to comfort me. Even God the Father seemed to wish no longer to look at me; but my Mother Mary did not cease to look at me until the time when I escaped from suffering. Oh! Little one, Mary is your real Mother as well as mine. When she sees you suffer, she is closer to you to console you, for all time until you, too, will have escaped all suffering. Mary, you are the true Mother of Marcel, the real Mother of all souls; never be far from your children . . .
"Mary is your true Mother, and you are really her child. Always think of her; she understands you better than you understand yourself. She knows your sufferings, she is always close to you, carrying you unceasingly in her arms and covering you with kisses . . ." (Conversations, 481)
Dear Mother, may we rest in your arms today as we do our very little best to fast, to be with Jesus, to receive your love and kisses. Help us to pray as Therese teaches us, following the words of Wisdom in the Song of Songs:
Draw me, we will run!!!
And Mother Mary, do please take this holiest day as a perfect day to answer (by God's grace and power) all of our prayers, especially for those who are sick, those who are afraid, those who need courage, and those who suffer in any way - ah, and for our priests!
Jesus, King of Love, we trust in Your merciful goodness!!!
Lately I've been laughing with family and friends over the question of my supposedly prolific writing. Or in other words, my gift of an excess of words!
When asked, "How do you write so much?" I've been giving the stock answer (true, as well as fun) that I type fast and I don't think - my secret recipe for writing copiously. But this morning, our sweet Jesus has given me another answer which brings tears to my eyes, for in all our moods He is with us and near us, and His tenderness knows no limits.
Here is the passage in Marcel's Conversations which explains more theologically just how it is that I write so many words (the reason that might be more illuminating than my typing speed and ability to write pages and pages without a thought in my happy little head!). I have been delighted with this passage for some time now, and you'll know why when I transcribe it for you now. It is Jesus' own commentary (in answer to Marcel's wonderfully simple question) on our Act of Oblation to Merciful Love -the very subject of our new book, Something New with St. Therese: Her Eucharistic Miracle (which you can read even before reading another word of this post, by clicking on the pdf, or mobi - for kindle - or ebpub file above in the typewriter area of this page).
As I say, I love this passage and Jesus' words to us through Marcel, words by which He explains our Offering to Love, but as with any particular passage in Conversations, despite the dozens of bookmarks I have to set off favorite entries, I never can find anything without St. Anthony's help! I was so touched, then, when Jesus Himself assisted me this morning as I started my own conversation with Him. He it was who guided my hand to open, accidentally as it were, to this very passage! Jesus is speaking to Marcel and answering our little brother's question: "So little Jesus, tell me what 'Victim of Love' means." To which Jesus replies (on April 30, 1946):
"They are victims who, through love, offer themselves to Love. These victims leave to Love complete liberty to accomplish His desires in them but of themselves, they do nothing to expend themselves; it is Love, that is to say the Holy Spirit who acts spontaneously in them . . . What I have just said to you is sufficiently clear. You already feel tired, little one. Go and rest. Besides, it is time. Go in peace and rest."
So you see, I do nothing to expend myself! It's really that simple! Having offered myself to Love with Therese by reciting with her the Act of Oblation to the Merciful Love of the Good God which you can find HERE (you can click HERE and scroll down the page to her Act which is the last prayer listed - and feel free the enjoy the other lovely prayers and pictures along the way!), I am confident that the Holy Spirit uses my natural Chatty Cathy-ness to spew (Don't worry! These days from behind a mask if we're in public!) words of love just everywhere!
Incidentally, the Chatty Cathy reference is no slur on the sweet Cathys in my life, but rather a reference to a doll, and a nickname my mom gave me as a little girl . . . Something along the lines of, "Well aren't you a Chatty Cathy today," if I'm remembering rightly. Ah, the wonders of the Internet! Do let's redeem it by using it, this world wide web, to bring laughter to ourselves and others . . . for after all these years, I've discovered just now (for instance), thanks to crazy find-anything-on-google technology, that Chatty Cathy, a 60's doll who spoke when her ring was pulled, said wonderful things! Not just, "Let's play house!" but finally and foremost, "I LOVE YOU!" You can see for yourself HERE as long as you promise to come back and finish reading our Musings (and promise to that you'll skip any obnoxious adds that get tacked onto the beginning of the commercial), because we don't want you to miss the wondrous surprise that comes next! Though first, the Chatty Cathy tagline you won't want to miss - my very favorite part of the whole Chatty Cathy comparison (and I'm smiling and laughing to think of my mom giving me this too-appropriate nickname): toward the end of the commercial, the narrator advises: "Just pull the ring: You never know what she'll say next!"
Honestly I never know what I'll say next either! We just have to pray the Holy Spirit and my guardian angel are the ones supplying the words, and again, I'm confident that (usually) they are . . . because I trust Jesus' words to us both in the Gospel and in Conversations. I can't think of two more reliable witnesses and little secretaries than St. John the beloved Apostle and Evangelist, and our little Marcel. On this day of love, this Feast of Love - the very day of the Institution of the Eucharist and the Priesthood to perpetuate the Sacrament of Love - St. John gives us the incomparable chapters of his gospel (John 14-17) on which to meditate and chew, beginning with the greatest words (for me and Marcel) in history:
LET NOT YOUR HEARTS BE TROUBLED . . .
But don't let me start commenting on these words and what follows from Our Spouse's sacred and beautiful lips and Heart, or this blog post will be simply a transcription of those chapters! That would be wonderful indeed, but then I wouldn't have time to tell you the confirmation and gift we received for you today while setting up this post . . . And that we can't miss telling!
Possibly the most fun I have (in life and when setting up a new blog post) is in choosing the pictures that will top the page. Did you like me-as-Miss-Marcel with my birthday cake in the last post? I can't believe how cute I am! But today is even better, and the Holy Spirit being one to breathe where He wills, and St. Therese always being in such a rush to make us love God as she loves Him . . . well almost instantly when I wanted to share Jesus' love with you in this post (the one you're reading now, whenever now happens to be, though I'm writing on the morning of Holy Thursday, the day of Love), I found the picture at the top of our post. It was one image among dozens that popped up when I put into google "archives lisieux carmel holy cards" and then clicked on "Images" under the search bar. Talk about redeeming the Internet! The Lisieux Carmel (Therese's Carmel) has most of their archives online now, in English! Happy Holy Thursday!
And so, I saw the double image above, and my heart melted, and I quickly imported it here to share with you. But amidst my joy and importing, I read the Carmel's explanations for this holy card HERE, and then HERE. Don't feel you need to follow all my bold links, because I'm happy to report the pith of my discoveries in these next few paragraphs, but I also am adding way more links than I usually do because today is the Feast of Love - and Love begets love! How can I keep anything at all from you, little ones, today?
Most important from what the Carmel offered by way of explanation was simply this:
The holy card on the right of our double "Biblical Holy Card" above was originally the holy card from Celine's profession as a Carmelite. This took place on the very second specialest day of her life, namely, the day she made her vows and became the Bride of Christ, Februrary 24, 1896, a year and a half before Therese flew their little dovecote for Heaven.
I guess I'm not the only one who likes to give away gifts on my special feast - this is an old Carmelite and Catholic custom: you see it in priests' ordination holy cards, and in this card of Celine's which would have been given to the Sisters in her community and also to friends and family who attended the ceremony in the public part of the chapel of the Lisieux Carmel (where, by God's unpredictable grace, Tony and I got to pray and pray and pray 11 months ago).
But here is the kicker . . . a two part kicker . . .
First, February 24, Celine's 2nd specialest day, turned out (63 years later) to be the Vigil of her VERY SPECIALEST day - the day Jesus whooshed her into His arms forever to begin her own eternal Day of Love. But Celine anticipated and expressed much better than I can what Jesus had done and would do, so let me just give you what she had written on this card when she gave it to her sister St. Therese on February 24, 1896:
Keepsake of the fine day of my Profession
We have already witnessed two of the greatest days in our lives and we’ll soon witness the third finest . . .The morning and noon of our pilgrimage are gone, and in a few more hours the radiant evening of eternal rest will come in a light breeze to refresh our souls . . .
Little Céline, who wants to be hidden for life and eternity in the face of Jesus with her Thérèse.
In the year of Our Lord 1896 on the Feast of the Agony of Christ in the Garden of Olives.
Wowie zowie! Did you catch the 2nd kick?? Or the full impact of the 1st?
I hope you are reading as quickly as I type, because I would hate for you to think this was a test or quiz. Don't worry, I rejoice to explain the meaning I'm seeing (or, let's say, I rejoice to share the kicks with you just as I receive them!) -
First (again), February 24th, the day Celine gave this image to Therese, the day of Celine's profession, was the Vigil of February 25th (I think it usually is, but I'd have to consult old almanacs and such, would't I? Just to truly employ the historical-critical method :).
Februrary 25th is a day that will go down in history not only as the day, in 1959, when Celine finally left this exile to join her sisters, and most of all to meet Jesus her True Love, in Heaven! But in my own happy history - and yours too, I hope, thanks to free downloads, pandemics of love, and Jesus' awesome unstoppable LOVE for you - February 25th is a red letter day because it was not only the day I received from Fr. Michael Gaitley his 33 Days of Merciful Love, which started me on my adventure of discovering and writing Something New with St. Therese: Her Eucharistic Miracle, but also, you can see if you go to that last link - to Something New on amazon, but again, don't rush to leave unless you're getting restless with your sheltering in the place of our blog (and if you are getting restless, do feel free to hop over and check to confirm my facts) - you will see that beside the title of our new book, paperback edition, amazon boldly proclaims the date of publication: February 25, 2020! Or (they only have so much room to keep their copy sharp, but in full it might say) - February 25, anniversary of Celine's entry into Heaven!
But our second kick is that that this day of Celine's original profession - the day on which she had the big joy of becoming one with Jesus and the little joy of sharing a holy card in HIs honor - was TODAY!
No, I haven't lost ALL my marbles just yet, but rather, I'm delighted that in the liturgical calendar, where Holy Days are often on varying dates depending on, for instance, the full moon and the corresponding feast of Passover, the day (February 24, 1896 and her profession date) that Celine gave this holy card to St. Therese (not the whole double image shown above, but specifically the beautiful image of Jesus in Holy Communion with a beloved soul like yours on the right) was actually - that year of 1896 - Holy Thursday, the same feast of Love we are celebrating today (as I write), though our date is April 9 (third day in the octave of my birthday!), 2020!
If you managed to follow that trail of word-crumbs (an excessive amount of words, no doubt!) all the way to here, let me give you a reward for your labors!
Aren't you - like me, and so many of us - feeling just a teensy bit sad about not being able to receive Jesus' own gift of Love (Himself in Holy Communion) on this Feast of Love, Holy Thursday?
I'll be honest, I have a sense of relief and a burgeoning joy that accompanies my sadness, because in plague time God can do so many things He usually restrains His love from doing. Why do miracles when the ordinary course (even the ordinary course of exceptional sacramental graces, themselves in a sense miraculous) takes care of our every need? But when the ordinary course of exceptional sacramental graces is closed to us through the ordinary means - no Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper! No feet being washed in pairs of 12! No little visits (for most of us) to Jesus at the altar of repose! No singing our dear St. Thomas' hymns with the choir at church, nor hearing them (in our own dear parishes and sung by our own dear choirs) as we go to receive Jesus, reveling in the most magnificent and humble stanza of all hymnody - the translation of St. Thomas' words by our beloved Gerard Manley Hopkins:
Seeing, touching, tasting are in thee deceived:
How says trusty hearing? that shall be believed;
What God's Son has told me, take for truth I do;
Truth himself speaks truly or there's nothing true.
Have you wondered about the other half of the double holy card above? It was the profession card of Therese and Celine's cousin, Marie Guerin, when she became the bride of Christ: Marie of the Eucharist. This dear cousin, also in the Lisieux Carmel with Therese, Celine, Pauline, Marie, and the irrepressible Parisian, Marie of the Trinity, had "the voice of an angel," everyone agreed. Therese loved when Marie of the Eucharist sang for community celebrations, and I think this recording of Godhead Here in Hiding (GM Hopkins, SJ's translation of St. Thomas' Adoro Te Devote) must remind Therese in Heaven of Marie when they were on earth! If you follow the link to listen and find that some imp (no, I'm not blaming you, Marcel, but just in case!) has slipped in an ad before this recording, please feel free to skip the ad - that was unintended by the management here! (Padre Pio, please send your guardian angel to lead us only to lovely things today on this day of LOVE!)
Did I, perchance, digress?
Like my holy mother, Teresa of Avila, I'd like to think all my words hold together in an order, even if not the conventional order! But my point is simply this:
We are in unusual times, so God our loving Father has sent us unusual means. I offer some here to you now (again, if you've been reading the last posts, but with no less love and joy - if possible, I offer these gifts, in the imitation of our Jesus, with more love than every before!).
1. If you can't receive Jesus in Holy Communion today, I am asking Him to give you, through the intercession of St. Anthony, Servants of God Charlene Richard, Carlo Acutis, and our little brother Marcel Van, St. Padre Pio, and St. Therese herself, the grace of discovering and asking for the crazy grace - the Eucharistic miracle - you can learn of in Something New with St. Therese: Her Eucharistic Miracle (free, like the Eucharist itself!) or in case you would rather listen than read, you can learn HERE, through a talk I gave (sponsored by Padre Pio himself) last weekend.
2. For links to all the latest miraculous ways Jesus is using us, His little secretaries of love, to spread His thirst (and invite YOU to invite HIM to remain in YOU today! - as in a tabernacle, even!), check out the amazing article HERE at the website of my alma mater (my sweet mother) Thomas Aquinas College. You'll find plenty of links there to lead you to more free gifts of Jesus' and my love, so I hope you take advantage of Him (and me). It's crazy love today, and we want you to have your fill!
3. Even if you are not (like I wasn't, until circumstances strangely compelled me) on Facebook, you can see my new Suzie Andres Author Facebook page, where you'll find the picture which had migrated to our typewriter area - the picture by Celine of herself, Therese, Marie, Pauline, Leonie, and Marie of the Eucharist - and also you'll find lots of fun! You can get to the page by typing Suzie Andres Author into the search bar at the top of your Facebook page, or if you don't have Facebook, try typing Facebook Suzie Andres Author into google, and I hope Carlo and your angel will take you to my page. You can like or follow the page over there to get continuing news of my posts at the Suzie Andres Author public Facebook page. If just as a matter of amusement, you may enjoy keeping track of (if not reading all of) the amazing amount of silly words I continue - typing fast and not thinking, expending myself as little as possible - to spew! (Virtually, so you're quite safe! Not to mention that I don't leave the house much these days!)
4. If you need an intention, this one is FREE today too! I will be accompanying my father-in-law Paul to his PETscan (no, not the scan of his pet, but the scan of himself to show if chemo has helped stave off his cancer or not really) - but we're all taking a lot of precautions, as you can imagine, due to the need to protect him, especially, from Lady Corona (as Fr. Buckley, S.J. so charmingly refers to her). Prayers, please - maybe the Stations of the Cross with Our Sister? Or sending your guardian angel to Mass, per the prayer at the back of the FREE Stations (thanks to Cardinal Nichols, who offered it through his wonderful pastoral letter HERE). Or maybe a Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3 (or anytime) or a Hail Mary. Other options for prayer-gifts would be a Rosary, or maybe even better - what we all need these days - a Nap! And God reward you for your alms of prayer!
If I keep writing, you won't get to read and share our joy in Jesus' Feast of Love, His Gift of Himself, His Offering of Love - the Holy Eucharist which He invites us to receive today in a remarkably unusual way, with the help of our sister St. Therese. And so, praying that He blesses you and you bless Him too with your invitation that He remain in you as in a tabernacle, I will close for now.
Shall we pray together - the simple prayer that can serve as a perfect substitute for the Holy Thursday traditions we will have to forego?
Draw me, Jesus my Love, we will run!!
p.s. We have decided to save our traditional Holy Thursday lamb chop dinner for Easter Sunday. We're having hot dogs tonight! I hope you, too, find a unique way to celebrate Jesus' Love in this unique Holy Week of the plague. Shall we do it? Yes, let's - let's turn this pandemic of fear into a Pandemic of Love! Come Holy Spirit, and Thank You Jesus, for everything!!!
If you might join me in saying a prayer for the Surgeon General, God bless him, I think he needs it because no one has yet told him that this is (aside from next week - Easter week) the happiest week of the year. He deludedly announced recently that "This week will be the saddest and hardest that Americans have ever experienced."
What an Eeyore! I mean we love Eeyore, but this man needs (like Eeyore did) some good friends to give him a useful pot to put things in, and a broken balloon to put in it! Didn't he get the memo? Doesn't he know that besides Jesus being about to save the world again, it is my birthday week? And so, you might say without doubt, I beg to differ! Happiness for the whole world!
Because, indeed, today is the Big Day! And that means presents for everyone! HOORAY! Let the festivities begin!
I think in honor of the Trinity, I'd better offer 3 gifts today - I mean at least, eh? (Note my Canadian accent? In happy conjunction with some news related to one of the 3 gifts, so let me get to them quickly!)
First off, there is a repeat link of the talk I gave at my Padre Pio birthday party this past Saturday, hosted by the wonderful Paul and Mildred Chen and by the equally amazing Padre Pio Prayer Group of Nashville. HERE is the link (just click on HERE and you'll be THERE).
Second, Bishop Barron, our bishop in the Santa Barbara region of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, is giving the whole world a birthday present for me today, namely a free screening of his new movie on soon to be Blessed Fulton Sheen! Hooray again, and thank you to a Canadian connection who sent me this exciting birthday event! We will be watching Fulton Sheen, the Communicator where I am with my in-laws in Florida (or so I hope) while we dine on chocolate cake tonight (ah, thank you Costco for delivering! though I must say "insh'allah" or If God likes, since we haven't ordered it yet!)....and please join us! No RSVP necessary, though you'll have to get your own cake on account of these dratted 6 feet social distancing rules, but do pull down your mask long enough to beam me a birthday smile and shovel, I mean gently fork, some cake in, in celebration of this festive day!
Third, since I just noticed that the movie is only an hour long, and the image of shoveling and/or gently forking chocolate cake into an open mouth is fresh in my mind, it occurs to me that you'll have time to read aloud a bit of The Paradise Project this evening as well! I don't believe I remembered to put a birthday into the novel for Elizabeth, our heroine (though perhaps I did - I need to re-read it too, especially if I'm going to be writing a sequel, which has recently and finally become a desire of my heart, as well as a desire of the hearts of many of Elizabeth's readers and friends).
I just had the most amazing news yesterday regarding The Paradise Project - tantamount to receiving the National Book Award! No, it wasn't the Nobel Prize for Literature, nor even a Pulitzer, but the beautiful and charming news from a dear friend that she and her daughter had recently read The Novel - and it had brought them joy in plague time!
No, they didn't read it together exactly. My friend is famous (with me at least) for having stayed up all night once in college when she was supposed to be cramming for exams. No, she wasn't cramming for exams, she was reading Clan of the Cave Bear! And no, don't try this at home (I mean reading Clan - not when you could be reading Paradise!)
Well, guess what? Yes, you guessed it! MC stayed up all night recently reading her free ebook version of The Paradise Project, and she said she really enjoyed it (gosh, can you imagine what this would do to our friendship if she had stayed up all night reading and disliked the book? Phew! SPOILER - glad it has a happy ending!!!).
So waste no more time, take a little pause in your reading of this happy birthday to me blog post, and go up top where you can just click on Paradise Mobi (for kindle or kindle app), Paradise Epub (for Barnes and Noble Nook) or Paradise PDF (for reading directly on your phone or tablet or computer)....or.....go HERE to download from amazon.com (for free) and if you don't have a kindle or the app yet, you can take up their offer to download the kindle app. But shhhhhhhhh, don't tell Gretchen, since she is most certainly not a fan of amazon! (and if you don't yet know Gretchen, start reading the novel soon, before you get distracted by the other gifts below! You need to know Gretchen - she is well worth knowing!!)
You can also, if you have a Kindle or Nook, go into the "Store" on your e-reader and search my name, Suzie Andres - then you'll get all 3 of our currently offered free ebooks right at your fingertips. The super fun thing is that I just noticed (when fetching the link HERE to the amazon Paradise page) that we are ranked (Elizabeth, Gretchen, and I) #72 in Teen & Young Adult Contemporary Romance eBooks! What a hilarious ranking! Not only 72, but our category!
If you want to give me a funny birthday gift too, please "buy" the free copy of Paradise at the link and let's shoot Paradise to #1 and make it an amazon bestseller along with Stations of the Cross with Our Sister St. Therese and Something New with St. Therese. Ah, look, more magic links and more books! Yes, get those today too, for fun and for free, and let's see where their rankings end up.
Do you want to hear a really adorably ludicrous fun fact? These two new Little Way books keep bumping each other out of the #1 spot on amazon bestsellers (the other one then goes to number two, like Dominic Badguy in Muppets Most Wanted - another important must-watch for my birthday!). No, I don't mean these two books are THE top bestsellers on amazon, but rather thanks to the wondiferous hourly ranking system, they are One and Two in the rather niche category: Christian Saints and Sainthood, Free Kindle Books. Their race is delightful, because while they are staying ahead of the competition, though just barely, for some reason the top 100 free kindle ebooks in this category actually fall short of 100 at the moment.....there are only 3! Which gives special meaning to our having captured spots 1 and 2! I love this! Talk about the Little Way of amazon bestsellers!
Which somehow reminds me of another gift you can give to me for my birthday - it requires no stamps, no post offices (where one sister of mine had to stand in line for an hour today, God bless and reward her!), and no finding just the right present I'll love - because what I'd love is free and a homemade gift (the best kind! especially if it contains chocolate chips, but no, I digress again) - to put it plainly, I would LOVE if you would, having enjoyed one of my books, leave me a review on amazon! Or rather, please leave a review for potential readers so that they may be lured and enticed into spending time with St. Therese and Jesus, or Jesus and St. Therese, or even simply Miss Elizabeth Benning of The Paradise Project. And yes, all these bold words are clickable links to their corresponding books too!
Before you click your way off the edge of the internet, though, I must announce that we have yet more good news and presents for you (there, at least that bold word is not a link)!
I may have surpassed 3 for the Trinity, so how about we go for 7 for the Sacraments - those precious gifts we are just beginning to appreciate since I've found it true, absence does make the heart grow fonder. Thank You, Jesus, for Your tender solicitude which leads us into Holy Week united to You in such a mysterious new little way. And thank You too, for continually inspiring us to find new ways to find YOU and new ways to keep ourselves entertained in Pandemic-Hunkering-Lock-Down-time . . . like . . . learning Vietnamese!
Admit it. You don't know Vietnamese yet, do you? Or better yet, perhaps you know Vietnamese, but you haven't been finding new books on St.Therese in your favorite foreign (or for you, maybe first) language. WE CAN HELP! You will never believe what birthday gift I was given in the Triduum preceding Our Big Day, but don't even try to guess, because I'm overjoyed to share it with you, if only I can figure out how.
Let's see, how about we start with the cover, and then you can Contact Me for the pdf file that is the Real Gift. But here and now - just to whet your appetite and delight your sense of sight and your imagination which simply must reel at the goodness of God when you see what comes next - let's share the really beautiful cover. Ready? Set? . . . Go!
Okay, sorry. That's a bit of a letdown on my side too . . . I can't get even the sweet cover image here, but let me copy and paste the title on the cover - for yes, this is another new and free book I want to give you, but not just any book - this one is a priceless gem of a book! For it is . . .
STATIONS OF THE CROSS With Our Sister Saint Thérèse SUY NIEÄM ÑAØNG THAÙNH GIAÙ Vôùi Thaùnh Teâreâxa Haøi Ñoàng Gieâsu
Yes! You read that right! It is our new Stations book in a bilingual edition!
A wonderful Vietnamese Dominican Sister wrote to me recently - she clicked the Contact Me book and changed the world forever - and I can't help hoping you'll click that button too, to wish me many happy returns of the day and so that I can meet you and greet you on this auspicious annual occasion! Also, if you would like to know when a new post appears here, you now have the amazing option of clicking "subscribe" and signing up for my email alerts of new posts. Don't worry that I'll use your email for other purposes - I don't even know how to see your email when you sign up! So those 36 of you who are signed up: Hello! nanoo nanoo! And those several of you who signed, up, got cold feet (or annoyed) and unsubscribed: Thank you! I was always worried that if we ever got a subscribe button imported (thank you, marvelous Mimi!), people would be stuck receiving my email alerts forever against their wills - and you have happily for all of us proven it is (I hope) just as easy to unsubscribe as to subscribe. I love quitting things myself, so good job!
But getting back to the gift of Sister Martina - both the gift of her and the gift from her - she wrote and asked permission to translate some of my writings into Vietnamese.
Could she have permission?!?!?!?!?! Wowie zowie! It's every author's dream to be translated into another language. And Vietnamese? Perhaps not what every American author dreams of first, but I'm not just any American author - I'm a Vietnamese wannabe, a happy fan of my brother Marcel and delighted to share my love for him and Therese (and thus, first and finally, Jesus!) with the whole wide world, but especially with my dear brother's (and thus mine) Vietnamese siblings. WOW!
So yes, actually, I said YES!
And then Sister Martina did this amazing thing. She just up and translated the essence of our new Stations book into Vietnamese (namely the quotes from St. Therese to help us stay with Jesus a moment in each of his 14 stops on the Way of the Cross) and shared them with her community. Did you notice that her community is in bold and kind of shimmery? Yep, you got it, that means you can click on Sister Martina's community and visit them! As she said to me, their site is not exactly in English, but you can enjoy your Sisters in Christ without even knowing their language. Gosh, just look at Therese and Marcel!
Okay, Marcel said Therese spoke perfect Vietnamese, but he is also clear that he did NOT speak perfect French, so we're in good company if we share a smile with our newfound Sisters in the Mystical Body even without being able to share a lot of words. Although truly, don't you think bilingual Stations with Our Sister St. Therese may be just what you've been waiting for (much cheaper than Rosetta Stone, and less secular than Duolingo, God bless them all) in order to learn Vietnamese in 4 days?! (Because as much as I'm working on my hard sell and ad campaign re. "Stations of the Cross: A devotion for every liturgical season," I haven't even quite convinced myself yet!
We'll do our best to get those special Stations posted somewhere on this website by the stroke of midnight ending April 7 for another year (sigh....yet there is always the octave!), but meanwhile, if you would like me to send you them via email, again, just Contact Me using the clickable button. For just as I told Sister Martina, "Of course! All I have written is yours: please share freely!" so she too wrote to me regarding her translation, "Of course! All I have written is yours: please share freely!" This is so Theresian, for she - our little sister in Heaven - used to say along with St. Thomas (and many before him whom he was quoting) that all truth, by whomever spoken, is from the Holy Spirit!
Come, Holy Spirit, and through our sharing and translating and being little secretaries for Jesus Our Love, renew the face of the earth!
To my great joy, the Holy Spirit reminded me to send these Stations, shortly after I received them yesterday, to one reader here who contacted me a few months ago - and delighted me with the news that she was Vietnamese and would like to have Marcel's writings in Vietnamese for her family and friends. Now I have at least been able to send her, thanks to Sister Martina, some words of Therese in Vietnamese, and our reader has already written back that she's shared these newly translated Stations with her relatives! God is so good! Thank you, little Marcel!
And now, let me post so you can begin to enjoy your party favors. Welcome to the happiest day of the year (okay, one of them!) and thank you for joining the celebration! Remember, we are turning this pandemic of fear into a pandemic of love, one smile-behind-a-mask at a time :) !!! And if you, like me, miss actual hugs, offer this sacrifice to Jesus (a little inconvenience to stop the stones thrown by sinners from reaching Our Spouse), and be sure to blow kisses and send virutal (((hugs)))!!!
Will you say a birthday prayer of petition and gratitude and absolute confidence and joy with me?
Draw me, darling Jesus; we will RUN!!!!!
p.s. I almost forgot to mention why the Canadian accent. Marcel's sister Anne-Marie Te lives to this day in a Redemptorist convent in Canada, where she is a religious sister and Spouse of Christ. Thanks to Miss Marcel's Musings and that miracle-working Contact Me button, I know a wonderful priest who knows a wonderful priest who took him to visit with the original Miss Marcel - Marcel's blood sister and sister-in-Christ, Anne-Marie Te! Well, thanks again to the Holy Spirit, we are hoping and praying that the Canadian wonderful priest, who lives near the Redemptorist Sisters, will find a way - plague time notwithstanding - to give a copy of the new Vietnamese/English Stations to Te and her sisters for this Holy Week. Wouldn't that be the best gift yet? St. Anthony, St. Raphael, little Therese and Marcel who so captivate our hearts and make the whole world one under the loving gaze of our Heavenly Father: please help our Stations reach Te, and bring immense spiritual joy and consolation to her dear loving heart!
P.P.S. I'm such a Miss Marcel! A real maroon (or is it a meringue?) as my fowl hero Daffy Duck would say! What did I forget this time? I almost forgot to tell you about the gift of gifts I'm offering to share the birthday joy!
There is an exquisitely lovely children's book just out, written by my dear friend and fellow Catholic Exchange author, Maura Roan McKeegan. If you click on her name, you'll find Maura's plethora of magnificent articles at Catholic Exchange. In fact, my guardian angel is playing a joke on me, because just pulling up her articles with the intention of linking them here (right this second, after writing this paragraph and looking for my links to embed, as we say in the biz) I've stumbled upon a brand new Birthday Article which went up TODAY - eternally linking me (because my birthday is April 7, also the birthday of another hero, St. Francis Xavier, SJ, and the feast of the educational maverick St. Jean Baptiste de la Salle, whose French Christian Brothers taught my dad in Lebanon when he - my dad, not St. Jean - was a boy!) with PADRE PIO and the angels!!! Wait till the Nashville Padre Prayer group hears about THIS! (Thank you Padre, and your angel and Maura's too!)
But lest I forget again to tell you about my specialest gift to you (which as you can see, in God's abundant richness of mercy, is turning into a whole pile of gifts), let's get back to Maura's books! If you click HERE you'll find one of her books on typology - these are the coolest ever if you want to learn things about the Old Testament foreshadowings of Christ, and His fulfillment of them - more than you ever knew, with brilliant illustrations by the great Ted Schluenderfritz (whom I was lucky enough to have design the cover of A Little Way of Homeschooling.
But if you want to see Maura's latest offering, her first Saint book, enrobed with a Caldecott medal winning level of gorgeousness by first time illustrator Patty Bergmon, click here on St. Conrad and the Wildfire. And this is where the final gift comes in - if you can't find your way to purchasing one of Maura's books today (hey, budgets are stretched in unusual ways lately, what with the additions of masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer by the vat, to your weekly grocery order) - well let me know!
Remember that Contact Me button? Why not use it now? Contact me with your name and postal address, and I will send you your choice of Maura's beautiful children's books (one per Marcelite, due to constraints on my own budget, but hey, what's a party without party favors?).
When you receive your copy and fall in love with Our Lord, his Biblical friends, and/or St. Conrad - and Maura herself most of all! - you can write a review over at the book's page on amazon. That way more people will know that hope is alive and well, and charity is going to save the day again. As Fr. Donald Kinney, our Carmelite friar-hero, has been fond of saying lately, "These are the trials through which we triumph, by the power of Him who loves us!" (Romans 8) So let's triumph in His love today - and enjoy the marvelous gifts He and our sister and brother shower upon us!
Rejoice heartily, O daughter Zion, shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem! See, your king shall come to you; a just savior is He, meek, and riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass. (Zechariah 9:9)
"See, little brother, the bosom of our Mother Mary is always like the little donkey on which we ride, both of us, to bear witness to our mutual love. Together from this world to heaven we will have only this gentle carrier. Marcel, without doubt Mary will have a strong urge to laugh on hearing us say that her bosom is the back of the little donkey on which we have both climbed. Sister Therese will have to come to meet us; what incomparable happiness! However, little brother do not be sad. If you are sad, tomorrow's triumphant reception will no longer be joyful. Therefore be joyful. Do you hear? Recently it seems that you are more tired than sad. However, you have nothing to fear; normally during this season one is easily fatigued. I still love you dearly and on Mary's breast I clasp you closely in my arms. Never be sad, do you hear?" - Jesus to Marcel Van, Vigil of Palm Sunday, 1946, from Conversations
* * *
I hope and pray you have been finding ways to be joyful even in this time of the pandemic. Thanks to the Padre Pio Prayer Group of Nashville, I have a great joy to share with you - so that even if you're tired (and Lent + plague = tired), we might manage to infuse some love and laughter into your heart and home on this glorious Palm Sunday, 2020. If you are seeing this the very day it begins to exist here forever (ah, the eternal Internet!), hooray! If you are seeing this sometime later than Palm Sunday, 2020, no worries! The message is timeless, and it will only get better, like God's love making its warm way into our cold hearts. Are you ready?
Yesterday I had the great good pleasure of speaking (on zoom) to the Padre Prayer Group of Nashville (thank you Paul, Mildred, and Alice - and everyone there, and all who managed to join in for short or long) - and as is their custom, this delightful group managed to get the link to their monthly talk (which this time was my talk) posted asap - or really sooner than asap! Angels assist them, no doubt, and Padre Pio's chief among them. So without further ado, HERE is the link to my TALK to the PADRE PIO PRAYER GROUP OF NASHVILLE!!! (Yep, click any of these LINKS, these BOLD PLACES, and you'll end up at my BOLD TALK!)
Thank You Jesus, St. Anthony, St. Therese, St. Padre Pio, Marcel Van, Charlene Richard, and the tech whiz of the new millenium, Servant of God Carlo Acutis!
No, this isn't the Academy Awards, but I'd like to thank all the Angels and Saints, because by their help and God's grace, this was by far the best talk I've ever given. I listened to it this morning (hey, this is the privilege of the poster: why share something if it won't help?), and I'm happy to report that I enjoyed it immensely!
It was so much fun giving the talk and hearing it too, but especially in "real time" I loved seeing lots of smiling faces - even my older son's smiling face in Denver, which was a huge gift, and my dear, dear sister Camille's smiling face in Germany - and everyone got to see me too, none of us having to wear masks, and most of us thousands or hundreds of miles apart, keeping well ahead of any future social distancing distances! Yes, we would have been in absolute danger if we'd been together, even six feet apart, because at least on my part there was laughter (and thus possible spewing), and yet what with our hunkering down, each single, pair, or family group in our own homes, we've been mighty good and mighty joyful both!
Incidentally, don't you think that if you could invest in words, we all would've made a fortune by getting in on "spewing" and "hunkering" when they were still fairly cheap on the word-stock-market? I've always been a big fan of hunkering (if not of spewing), and how sweet that it is now coming into its own!
But don't decry the money you haven't made, we'll have fun yet without it!
Besides, I don't think there actually is a word-stock-market in our world, though that might be a wonderful feature of a pandemic-time-novel along the lines of The Phantom Tollbooth. Do feel free to steal the idea - I'll even give it to you like my ebooks - because though my batch of ISBNs burns a hole in my pocket, I've actually-potentially got them more than used up in the counting my chicks before they hatch department.
I'm supposed to be writing a sequel to The Paradise Project (which you can download for free up above - the original, I mean, not the as-yet-unwritten-sequel - and don't tell me you don't have time for a hilarious novel and a good laugh, because I'm well aware of all the places you can't be going and activities you can't be pursuing these days!), not to mention my bio of the teen Servants of God, Carlo Acutis and Charlene Richard.
And then there's the memoir I thought of the other day after having ordered everything we could possibly need and then some from the local grocery store and (wonder of wonders and miracle of miracles) succeeded at getting the whole order delivered, only to have a second delivery car drive up and park right behind the first (it was like a bad heist movie, only in reverse). So yes, my new memoir My Smart Life with my Dumb Phone will feature the time (Friday April 3, 2020) when I accidentally double ordered a trunkful - soon to be a kitchenful - of groceries - TWICE! - and had to restrain my laughter at the vivid image of delivery person #1, who got to the house first, but had to offer many replacement items, having unwittingly followed delivery person #2 (who got every single thing I ordered exactly right) through the store in the now-familiar scavenger hunt for basic unexciting items - only to find each item successively depleted ("Oh no! He took the last of the Sargento Provolone smoke flavored cheese slices too! What's with this guy!") . . .
You may not be having quite so much fun (and may not be supplied with quite so many red roses, for yes, those got doubled too, no doubt a gift from Therese before I babbled about her on zoom), so we want to share our joy! We can offer plenteous heavenly roses, and it all starts by clicking the name of my talk and listening to all the kind advice that little St. Therese and big St. Padre Pio have to offer to us during our coronavirus days . . .
Something New with St. Pio, St. Therese, and the Pandemic of Love
I did promise I would post here the links to the various books I HIGHLY recommended in the talk, and I even have a plan for purchasing - although my own books are free already, I thought I would entice you with a more irresistible offer than simply free.
You know how none of us can resist that irresistible BOGO offer? Well here are the books I suggest you BOGO - buy the first, and get the second (available above in the typewriter area, or directly on your kindle or nook, or at amazon, barnesandnoble, and smashwords, etc.) FOR ABSOLUTELY FREE! No, not even buy the first, and get half of my book for free. (Yes, technically, you are getting half of my currently published books for free, but I mean you have to thank your lucky stars that you are not getting merely half of each of the three books I'm offering for free for free - see, even the words know it's BOGO time!)
So here we go.....links: Buy the first one, get the second for free. And if you consider yourself very clever and have already figured out you can cheat and get the second for free without bothering with the first, I can only say you are cheating yourself and not us! You won't want to miss the paid items any more than you could afford to pass up on the free ones! Just click on the book to be magically transported to it where it is available for purchase (for $ or for Free)
MARCEL'S BOGO SALE OF GREAT BOOKS FOR CHEERING EVERY HEART IN PLAGUE TIME:
BUY: St. Conrad and the Wildfire by Maura Roan McKeegan, magnificently illustrated by Patti Borgman
GET FREE: Stations of the Cross with Our Sister St. Therese
BUY: Marcel Van's Conversations with Jesus, Mary, and St. Therese (best book ever and worth every penny)
GET FREE: Something New with St. Therese: Her Eucharistic Miracle (2nd best book ever and a good Pascal's wager since it's free!)
BUY: Padre Pio and I (memoir by Adolfo Afattato, spiritual son who knew Padre Pio in life and had continuing adventures after Padre Pio entered REAL life)
GET FREE: The Paradise Project (Padre Pio's Favorite Novel! Okay, after The Betrothed, and Leave it to Psmith . . . but those others of his faves are going to cost you 99 cents each!)
As I mentioned in the talk, I'm offering a money back guarantee. Since I'm sure you'll not only love St. Conrad and the Wildfire, (and I recommend the hardcover because it is SO BEAUTIFUL), but am betting that you'll also feel compelled to buy copies for godchildren, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and random stranger kids wearing masks as they bike around the neighborhood (I just bought two more hardcovers last night, one for each corona-time family household where we're hunkering, since I'd left my first copy in California)....and the same is true of Conversations, the Pio book, and even the 99 cent novels that I threw in at 99 cents each .... as I say, I'll be happy to refund you the cost if you are unsatisfied with any of your impulse purchases (although how you can only now be thinking of buying Conversations when I've been pushing it on you for years, I don't know. Hardly an impulse buy at this point. Maybe a harangued-into-it buy, but really, it is THE BEST!) - I only ask that you send me the books you don't want. Because personally, I can't get enough of any of these most essential books! (Okay, I'm doing fine without The Betrothed, but only because I'm not very deep, and I did read it once and loved it, but it is long, and I'd rather keep reading Conversations...) Or if you don't want to pay for shipping, or can't even safely go to the post office (my dilemma), you can simply give the unwanted (oooh, I shudder at the thought, but hey, each person has some defect or other, none of us being perfect!) book(s) to someone 6 feet away, and I'll still refund you - even though I'm not getting a dime. Haha, I am getting the eternal reward due to one who longs to hear Jesus say, "I was hungry (for a good book), and you fed me...I was thirsty (for souls), and you shared my Something New!"
If I forgot to include any links to things I mentioned in The Talk, please email me by clicking on the Contact Me button, and I'll be glad to add the forgotten resources here! In the meantime, you can also download any of my 3 free books by clicking on the links in the typewriter section at the very top of this page.
Have fun! And now, with gratitude and joy, let's pray together:
Draw me, meek Jesus, and we will run!!!
P.S. Fr. Dan, spiritual director to the Padre Pio Prayer Group of Nashville, asked us to begin (or keep up, if you already do this) the practice of saying the Divine Mercy Chaplet daily for all those who are dying, and we can pray it too for a return of the sacraments to us, as well as a return for all those we love to the sacraments. May the angels surround, protect, strengthen, and guide us! Amen!
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.