"Pray, hope, and don't worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer." - St. Padre Pio
The Littlest Novena
"Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert . . .
to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself
that they might declare my praise." (Isaiah 43: 18-21)
Last year and the year before, here at Miss Marcel's Musings we rejoiced in triple novenas that brought us to the Exaltation of the Cross (September 14), then to St. Padre Pio (September 23), and finally to St. Therese on her feast of October 1st.
If any readers here have been inspired to pray the triple novena this year - Hooray!
For ourselves, we got into the saddle about the time the novena to Padre Pio needed to start. I do find it so marvelous that by saying a novena to the dear Padre to end on the 23rd, we are then just in time to begin Therese's novena (with hardly a breath in between) and invoke her intercession, remind her of her promises, and glory in her roses for the nine days of a real traditional novena (even if in our littleness we usually manage to forget a day here or there).
And so, in our typical better late than never fashion, this year Marcel and I are at last bringing you a special prayer to Padre Pio that you can say from now until the 23rd (or as long as you like!) because even when we are not up to the glory of former days, God is ready to do new things for us and always delighted when we turn to Him through His (and our) friends, the Saints.
Plus as the days roll along, the news of much suffering reaches our ears, and we are grateful to be able to pray for all those we love, all those whose crosses are heavy, and more recently, too, all those who have lost someone they love. There are no words capable of doing what we so desire to do - to console the afflicted in such a way that we take away their pain and suffering - but then again, there are words that can help immensely and perhaps even as much and more than we hope: namely, the words of our prayers. God's love is infinite - so very infinite! His mercy is everlasting and ever new, and He longs to pour it out upon us. He does so even before we ask, but when we ask, we delight His Heart as well as Him delighting ours.
And so, in the spirit of the previous novenas here, know that ALL your intentions are included. Marcel and I have been praying for Padre Pio's intercession since last week, and we invite you to join us for the duration. We found a most beautiful prayer and as we continue to say it, we are moved by its absolute fittingness to the situations we and those we love find ourselves in these days.
Since we like to do even little things a little big here, I'm going to start our novena prayers with our petition to Our Blessed Mother for everything and everyone - as our hearts grow bigger, this prayer seems to include the whole world - and then I'll give you our prayer to St. Padre Pio who, along with little Therese, cherishes the opportunity to make Jesus' love known to us by being very near.
You can say these prayers 9 times at once, or 3 times a day, or once a day, or once altogether! In fact, when typing out the prayer to Padre Pio, my angel and I found a way to divide it into 9 petitions, so just reading-praying it over once means you've covered the numerical requirements of a perfect novena! For simple souls, there must be no complicated ways, and for forgetful souls, sometimes all-at-once is our best hope of reaching the finish line!
One of my prayers today is that you know that you are loved and are part of something much bigger than yourself: that is, the Mystical Body of Christ whose Heart is ALL Love! I pray too for your confidence, because as our sister Therese taught us, it is confidence, and nothing but confidence that must lead us to that Love, but I know confidence can seem hard to find. My best suggestion is that if your confidence feels low, join us in co-opting Pio's and Therese's! Our brother and sister in Heaven have no need for their enormous confidence now that they SEE God face to Face, so I ask them to bequeath that confidence to us! And now, not worrying about the former things except to praise God for them, let us RUN together, and see what Our Father has ahead for us in this spate of new things, this torrent of His infinite Love which makes the desert of our hearts into very watered and flourishing places . . .
Ready? Asking our guardian angels to help us pray, let's go:
An Old French Prayer for Friends
Blessed Mother of those whose names you can read in my heart, watch over them with every care. Make their way easy and their labors fruitful. Dry their tears if they weep; sanctify their joys; raise their courage if they weaken; restore their hope if they lose heart, their health if they be ill, truth if they err, and repentance if they fall. Amen.
Prayer to Padre Pio for Help in Difficult Situations and Hard Times
Padre Pio, the Lord has given you the gift to carry out extraordinary works, I ask you in prayer to obtain, by your intercession, His powerful help to overcome this difficult moment.
Padre Pio, the Lord's faithful servant, the Church honors you as one who shares in the Divine Mercy; help me, come to my rescue, free me from this moment of overwhelming difficulty.
O Padre Pio, you have always been consolation in human suffering; you've given relief and peace, joy and favors, hear my voice, my prayer; I'm truly in need of your help to come through this difficult situation that is putting a strain on my life.
Dear Padre Pio, help me in this time of trouble, as my efforts seem vain . . .
I plead with you, guide me and strengthen me; let me not be abandoned in my desperation.
Padre Pio, I turn to you in prayer to seek refuge and protection, be a father to me and those I love.
Fill the emptiness in our lives, fill us with joy and hope.
Show us yet again your love, oh dear Padre Pio, and bring us before our omnipotent God so we may have all the help we need (make your particular petitions now with great faith and confidence - and remember, you can use Therese's and Pio's own confidence to supplement yours).
Renew each day my faith, body, spirit, and will - O Padre Pio, a Saint among men, intercede on our behalf and obtain for us peace, joy, and Jesus abiding in our hearts to banish all anxiety and fill us with Himself. Amen.
Draw me, we will run!
More Roses From Mary
I had the joy of seeing the gifts of Mary visible to a larger audience today on Catholic Exchange, HERE. That made my day, but unfortunately I didn't realize until the day was almost over that my previous post below was missing Mary's special birthday gifts - her words - which had somehow wandered off into some unknown empty place on the internet!
Thanks be to God for kind readers, one of whom thoughtfully wrote and asked where those words might be. Without finding out their longitude and latitude, I was nonetheless able to find them (with the help of St. Anthony and the angels) and put them back where they belong - namely under the picture of presents in the post below! If you haven't had a chance to read them yet, they await your visit. We'd hate to leave Our Lady's gifts to you unopened!
And now, the only reason I can think why the angels let the words escape in the first place is that Our Lady, Queen of the Angels, sent her messengers to sweep them under the rug for a few hours so that when the loss was made known they could be retrieved, but with an additional few roses, that is words, from her to us. And there's a very dear reason for more gifts! Have you ever known families that celebrate a birthday week? I'm always one for at least a birthday triduum if not an octave, and I've discovered that Our Lady is too! So let's celebrate again the gift of being her dear children, the gift of our brother Marcel's Conversations, and most of all the gift of Our Lady (and her words of Good Counsel) to us . . .
In addition to the Five Gifts of Our Lady's Good Counsel in the post below, then, here are three more, in honor of the Blessed Trinity and in order to make a total of eight, just like the lovely Eighth Day of September. And when you count the ultimate gift (again, in the post below, now that it's been restored to its rightful place), you'll reach nine, in honor of the choirs of angels! And so without further ado:
The Sixth Gift of Our Lady of Good Counsel:
"My child, just listen to me a little. Your soul is really a living room; and in this room, what dust and untidiness . . . It is I who must sweep it and make everything tidy; it is I who must make sure to open and close the door so that you may breathe easily and be comfortable. In short, it is impossible for me to favour you more than I do." (590)
"There is only one job I find tiresome. I have even asked little Jesus and your sister Therese to help me in this, but it seems that we have not yet fully succeeded. Do you know what it is a question of? Bearded Jesus, himself, has not been able to bring it to a close; I mean that he has not succeeded in ridding you of anxieties. This spider's web is very difficult to remove, but I have the firm hope that one day you will be relieved of it. I know that this spider's web, in which consist your troubles, makes breathing very difficult for you. However, remain at peace. I am going to do the chores for you and so you will be very happy." (592)
"Listen, I am going to tell you a new method of sacrificing yourself. Each time that you are troubled, even if only for the span of a breath, say this: 'Little Jesus, I offer You this worry as a sacrifice.' Then remain at peace. Thanks to this sacrifice, you will be consumed in the fire of Love, which will act freely in you. Thanks to this sacrifice, how many sinful souls will be able to avoid an occasion of sin that would expose them to falling into despair? . . . Always remember this method, all right? Little Jesus loves this kind of sacrifice a lot; He even prefers it to the joy of being able to pull you from the hands of the devil, since it is the devil who gives birth in you to these anxieties with the intention of misleading you. Consequently, if you offered your anxieties to little Jesus, naturally the devil will be ashamed to see that the net that he holds out to you to drag you along has fallen into little Jesus' hands. Then, little Jesus will make use of it to draw you to His heart, and then He will make use of it to draw many other souls . . . What a blessing for you! What a benefit for little Jesus! Oh, my child, it is impossible to express the extent of this great benefit. And yet, to obtain this result, you only have to say: 'Little Jesus, I offer You this sacrifice." (596)
Although we love to add, as always, our tiny prayer with St. Therese as well:
Draw me; we will run!
Happy triduum, happy octave, happy birthday of Our Blessed Mother!
Birthday Presents from Our Lady
I do realize it's most typical to get birthday gifts for the birthday girl, or if one is the lucky birthday guy or gal, to receive gifts on the special natal day. But luckily for us, Our Lady already has every good thing in abundance, and as the quintessential mom, she's happy to share her gifts with us on her birthday as well as on ours. So although this post is in honor of Our Blessed Mother's birthday, open wide your heart because this is the occasion on which she wants to spoil you!
If you look at the picture that tops this post, you'll see the most obvious gift she has for you, and yet wonder of wonders, as many times as she gives Our Lord to us, He is always doing something new.
The second gift Our Lady has is her Good Counsel. A friend recently asked me if there was a picture of Mary that I particularly loved. She hadn't yet found one that was just right, and I replied that this image of Our Lady of Good Counsel (also known as Mother of Good Counsel) is the one for me. I never get tired of gazing at Mary's beautiful face, though I must admit little Jesus gives her a good run for the money - I love gazing at Him in this image too!
But since this Mary is Our Lady, Mother of Good Counsel, she has more than her serene and pacifying beauty to share, more than her Divine Son to share. She has, too, the best of motherly advice and wisdom no matter what situation we find ourselves in or what difficulties we are facing.
Our Lady's most famous good counsel comes in the gospel of John when she tells us, "Do whatever He tells you." But beyond that, I find her most wonderful counsels to me in the pages of Marcel Van's Conversations.
Because I've not been the personal recipient of heavenly locutions (thanks be to God, I always say, since in that case I'd have to get a serious spiritual director and really find out what's going on before I fall into the deep end and drag others with me!) - I've been befriended by our little brother Marcel, who did receive such heavenly locutions from Jesus, Mary, and even St. Therese. His spiritual director and novice master Fr. Antonio Boucher ("bearded Jesus" in the Conversations) confirmed Jesus' request that Marcel write His words (and Marcel's responses) down, and thanks to Fr. Boucher's tireless work translating Marcel's writings from Vietnamese to French, and the later dedicated efforts of our friend Jack Keogan translating from French to English, we now have easy access to the most delightful conversations a lover of Jesus and Mary and Therese could desire. Hooray!
For Our Lady's birthday, then, I'm happy to have this chance to share some of her words with you, words originally spoken in the 1940's to Marcel, but as fresh and true today as when she spoke them. Think of these as the sparkly ribbons and wrapping paper that you can open to find the birthday gifts Our Blessed Mother has for you on the feast of her nativity. She wants to share every good thing with you, and these passages will get you off to a good start.
First Gift (after Jesus and Mary) of Our Lady's Good Counsel:
"My dear child, if you wish to please little Jesus, accept cheerfully things which inconvenience you slightly; by that you will be able to stop the stones that sinners, today, throw at Jesus . . . Little Jesus is your true friend; if you love Him, try to protect Him by your sighs of love. . ." (383)
"My child, continue to tell me quite simply your little problems; by that you please me, and I, I can only love you more. My child, I love you a lot . . ." (383)
"My child, candour is a natural characteristic of children. The naive child is simple and sincere; he shows himself as he is; he does not know how to distinguish between good and evil since, being still too young, he does not have the use of reason. . . My child, if your soul possesses this candour, it will be closer to me. In the same way that the young child remains always with its mother, you will remain always close to me. I wish that there may be more souls like yours, so as to be able to freely imprint the lips of little Jesus on the forehead of each of them; so as to be able to unite their hearts to that of little Jesus and, at the same time, be at peace with Him." (384)
"My dear little one. You have been looking at me. It is not surprising therefore that I hasten to ask you this question. It is something really astounding. My child, by a simple glance you have drawn to yourself my compassionate gaze. So, what do you want and what is it that little Jesus has just said to you? Are you very troubled? That is very unfortunate, my child. I am very sorry for you. Today, the recreation day, when you should be relaxing, all you do is worry yourself. It is very painful. But, my child, why trouble yourself in this way? I was once in the same situation as you; my soul also needed to believe, to hope and to love like you. Although aware of the wonders that God was working in me, I had, nevertheless, to believe, since I had no conception of the graces that the divine Father was granting to me. If, at that time, I had not had the need to call on the virtue of faith, I would no longer have been a humble creature like you, my children. If, therefore, I still had need to believe, with much greater reason have you, my child . . . (426)
"My dear child, remain in peace, all right? Little Jesus has not scolded you; neither have I. Our sole intention, both of us, is to get rid of your troubles. Do not worry, I love you dearly. See, I have more pity for you than for little Jesus. In that case, it is He who should be sad; but you, what reason have you to be sad? Come, my child, I am kissing you, I am giving you twice as many as I am giving little Jesus, nevertheless, little Jesus is very happy with that." (426)
"Do whatever He tells you . . . " (John 2:5)
And what does Jesus tell us through our dear little brother Marcel? Ah, the icing on the birthday cake is right here in the words of Our Lord to Marcel and us:
"How many times have I told you not to get so perturbed, and you still have this defect. Come, little brother, since you do not wish to cause me any pain in anything, what is there to trouble you? I tell you that I am happy with all that you do; why do you not believe what I say? All your actions, all your sighs, all the feelings of your heart, you have offered them to me already. All that is my property and no longer yours, so why trouble yourself? . . . Little brother, remain tranquil. I am giving you a kiss and another to our Mother. Regarding Jesus with the ginger beard, has he not said these very true words to you: 'Since you have Mary for your real Mother, you should never disconcert yourself.'" (385)
* * *
Incidentally, those parenthetical numbers are the original page numbers of Marcel's sheets of paper, and they serve to indicate where in Conversations one can find the above words. These numbers go up to 773, so you can imagine that Our Lady has a lot more Good Counsel in the pages of my favorite book! If you need more presents, Our Blessed Mother and I suggest you get yourself a copy of Conversations for her birthday - or if you already have enough copies, just flip one open to find more of this her heavenly wisdom, tenderness, and consolation. Our sweet Mary never tires of our reading the words of love written by her dear Marcel at her and Jesus' bidding.
Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Good Counsel, may this birthday of yours on September 8, 2021 be your happiest yet because we, your little ones, hearken to your counsels and snuggle nearer than ever with Jesus in your Immaculate Heart!
Draw me . . . 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. To receive new posts, enter your email and click "Subscribe" below.