Once upon a time, about three or four months ago, a dear friend who has a talent for shopping (more like a super power, really), bought and gave me an antique French medal with the most adorable image of Little Jesus on the front. We knew it was French because not only did she buy it from France (thanks to the wonders of modern technology, i.e. the internet), but on the back of the medal there were French words. Specifically:
(and please mentally insert an accent mark over that final "e" in Bonte!)
Translated literally, this prayer says:
"O Jesus, King of Love, I have confidence in Your merciful goodness."
What a beautiful set of words to go with the truly beautiful image of Little Jesus!
When my friend gave me the medal, she explained that I didn't have to wear it but could instead place it where I would see it often.
"Au contraire!" I replied (though in English). "I must wear something this beautiful. I want it always with me."
And thus my association with Little Jesus, King of Love began. He was a bit anonymous, and I did not often remember to speak to Him in the words of His flip-side-prayer, but He accompanied me everywhere, attached as He was to a rosary bracelet our sister St. Therese had given me on our last day together in Lisieux last May.
Then recently (it was All Souls Day, to be exact), another kind friend sent me a link to a devotion she had just discovered which she - knowing nothing of the medal dangling from my wrist - thought I would love too.
She was right! But add in the dangling medal bearing sweet Little Jesus as my constant companion, and I more than loved the new devotion. I was bowled over, delighted, thrilled, and in a word, awestruck.
I was, in fact, once again overwhelmed with God's tender solicitude, for it often seems that He loves us so much that He can't stop sending new tokens of His affection. Considering that He said twice in the Bible, "Behold I make all things new," (in both Isaiah and in the Book of Revelation), I don't think His ever-new tokens are merely figments of my imagination. Sometimes He sends a new version of something ancient - like each day's sunrise and sunset - and sometimes He sends something entirely new, like this devotion that the Holy Spirit was determined I would "discover," with the help of angels both heavenly and earthly.
For what my dear friends had sent me, each unaware of the other's find, were first the medal with invocation, and then the story of the invocation and subsequent medal of Jesus, King of Love.
The invocation was revealed on August 28, 1922 to a humble French laywoman, Yvonne Beauvais, who became an Augustinian Canoness, a Hospitaller of the Mercy of Jesus, known later as Mother Marie Yvonne Aimee de Jesus, or in English, Yvonne Beloved by Jesus.
And just as when Jesus spoke to Servant of God Marcel Van, and so many other mystics, He promised that His words were not only for the original recipient who then transcribed the message, but for all little souls, so, too, Jesus told Yvonne that the short invocation He gave her was not only for herself but also for all little souls.
Quite understandably, then, Yvonne spent the rest of her life - when she wasn't busy running a convent, serving the poor, singing the Divine Praises, helping priests, advising Abbots, hiding Jewish men, women, and children from Nazi's, and so on - spreading this invocation, gaining indulgences and endorsements from Pope Pius XI, Pope Pius XII, and Pope St. John XXIII, and even painting a picture to go with the prayer.
In 1940, the world was full of sadness and fear as war raged, so Mother Yvonne gave it a cause and source for serenity in the image of Little Jesus she painted. He holds an olive branch in one hand, while His other hand points to His Sacred Heart. He wears a crown on His curly topped boyish head to show He is King of Love, and His gaze looks out, waiting to meet the gaze of each little soul, waiting to fill each dear soul with His peace that passes all understanding.
Since the medal sent me some months ago was antique, when I heard more recently of the story behind it, I thought the devotion must have fallen into obscurity. Who knew of such a lovely person as Yvonne Beauvais? Who knew of the invocation Jesus had revealed to her nearly 100 years ago, and who had seen (besides my generous friend, myself, and the shopkeeper in far-away France who had sold the medal) Little Jesus as Mother Yvonne portrayed Him?
To my astonishment and great joy, I couldn't have been more wrong in my guess that Little Jesus was neglected. Thanks to the links sent by my second friend, I discovered there exists a monastery in Ireland, Silverstream Priory in County Meath, which in 2012 was consecrated to little Jesus King of Love. As if this wasn't enough (and it wasn't!) the monks at Silverstream have started a confraternity for those who wish to unite, simply, in the saying of the little invocation morning and night and in wearing (or carrying on their person) the medal of Jesus, King of Love.
The monks say a Mass for the confraternity members once a month, and also on 5 special days in January and February each year. There are no dues, no fees, no big commitments and no meetings - just a union of prayer under the King of Love, a union of confidence in Him, a union of saying the invocation morning and evening each day. If you want to join, you can click HERE and fill out the form online. I did so a week ago, and lo and behold, I have already received from the monks an enrollment card (with Jesus' adorable picture), a holy card of Mother Yvonne, who is now a Servant of God, and a blessed golden medal of Jesus King of Love!
As for the invocation, I have read varying translations of it. The one sent in the monk's welcoming letter (and the one that is most literal) says in English:
O Jesus, King of Love, I trust in Your merciful goodness.
The prayer on the back of the medal says
O Jesus, King of Love, I put my trust in Thy loving mercy.
Another possible translation is:
O Jesus, King of Love, I trust in Your merciful kindness.
I think each one of those translations does its own beautiful job of capturing in a sentence the invocation Jesus gave Mother Yvonne for us. As she said in her letter to Pope Pius XI when she requested an indulgence for the prayer:
"It is so sweet, so strong, so rich, this little invocation . . . This invocation is appreciated by the sick; it consoles them. They love this prayer because it appeals to the Kingship of Christ Jesus, to His Love, His Mercy, His Goodness; in some way, it compels us to trust. It condenses our familiar invocations to the Sacred Heart and sums them up."
On their website, the monks answer the question "Who may join?" the Confraternity, by saying it is perfect for those who have suffered or are suffering. I would add that this Confraternity, with its devotion to Jesus, King of Love, is tailor made for the scruppulous, for converts, for long-time and cradle Catholics, and finally for everyone! You can't help but notice the similarity between this invocation and the prayer our Savior taught us through St. Faustina, "Jesus, I trust in You." Who doesn't need an infusion of trust, confidence, and peace? And I can think of no better way to attain these desperately needed gifts than by igniting the spark of love in our hearts into a burning flame through the repetition of the cry, "O Jesus, King of Love, I trust in Your merciful goodness!"
If you go to the link for the confraternity (which is, again, HERE), you can follow other links provided therein to more information on this devotion. May God be praised for His infinite solicitude, His unending Love for us, and His mercies which are new each morning.
Draw me, we will run!
From where I sit (on the East Coast for a too-short visit), All Saints Day is ending, and All Souls Day about to begin. But I know that elsewhere (westward, where I usually am) it is still the Feast of All Saints, while traveling toward our friends in the British Isles, Europe, and Africa (in other words, eastward), we find All Souls Day already begun.
I take the Heavenly Liberty, the liberty of bilocation if you want to call it that, of being in All Saints Day a titch longer then. It's so hard to leave this glorious feast, even as I look forward to doing my part tomorrow to release all of purgatory to join Heaven's ranks . . .
What shall I say, then, while I still have the chance to celebrate our known and unknown brothers and sisters who see the loving Face of God?
Marcel would have me quote our favorite sister, little Therese, in one of our (many) favorites passages among those recorded by Mother Agnes (our sister Pauline) when Therese was preparing to enter eternal life.
Our little dying Carmelite said, on her deathbed, some hilarious things, and some prophetic things, and many simply remarkable and memorable things, and we are so grateful they were transcribed by Pauline, Celine, the Maries (of the Sacred Heart, of the Trinity, and of the Eucharist) and later published as her Last Conversations. Though I love this book and frequently search its pages, I have to smile that 99% of the time I am totally unaware that it has nearly the same title as the second Therese's (i.e. Marcel's) book - my Book of books - Conversations.
Be that as it may, I woke this morning with a desire to share with you a very particular passage from Therese's Last Conversations, and so I began to transcribe it asap. Alas, life intervened and delayed my progress, but hooray, now I can finish copying out the passage for you at last.
Here, then, is a gift to you from Marcel and Miss Marcel, in thanksgiving for all the Saints, and in cahoots with our own particular sister-Saint, little Therese. Our gift (Therese's really) is a thought worth musing over, and we hope and pray you will realize its implications. Since it's gotten late, we won't leave these implications a mystery for you to solve, but tell you our hope:
You, dear one, can be the little spark that lights the fire of Love in the heart of a great Saint, or even many great Saints!
Marcel and I love to increase the glory and joy of our brothers and sisters the great saints (and the small too) by saying the short but powerful prayer we presented earlier this week. We're then confident that we'll be told, on the Last Day when all is revealed, that we were the cause of Therese's holiness, as well as the holiness of many other of our saintly siblings!
We've finished our two triple novenas, but the prayers we said or read for the last 50 days (as well as the fruits of these prayers) will be with us forever. Here, then, is the last of those prayers we introduced, presented now as the icing on the cake, or rather the bow tying up our gift to the Saints, even as we await their gifts to us (the answers to our petitions for our needs in these novenas).
Merciful Father, in the name of our gentle Jesus, the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph and all the Saints, we beg You to enkindle every one of our sisters and brothers with Your Spirit of Love and to grant them the favor of making You loved very much.
And now that we've prayed this innocent looking but so powerful prayer together, let me show you what trouble I've gotten you into! Here is the passage I've been waiting all day to share with you, in which St. Therese paints a vivid picture of our meddlesome part in the Communion of all the Saints!
Pauline (Mother Agnes) records this "Last Conversation" from July 15th:
She told me about the following, the memory of which was the source of a great grace to her:
"Sister Marie of the Eucharist wanted to light the candles for a procession; she had no matches; however, seeing the little lamp which was burning in the front of the relics, she approached it. Alas, it was half out; there remained only a feeble glimmer on its blackened wick. She succeeded in lighting her candle from it, and with this candle, she lighted those of the whole community. It was, therefore, the half-extinguished little lamp which had produced all these beautiful flames which, in their turn, could produce an infinity of others and even light the whole universe. Nevertheless, it would always be the little lamp which would be first cause of all this light. How could the beautiful flames boast of having produced this fire, when they themselves were lighted with such a small spark?
"It is the same with the Communion of Saints. Very often, without our knowing it, the graces and lights that we receive are due to a hidden soul, for God wills that the Saints communicate grace to each other through prayer with great love, with a love much greater than that of a family, and even the most perfect family on earth. How often have I thought that I may owe all the graces I've received to the prayers of a person who begged them from God for me, and whom I shall know only in heaven.
"Yes, a very little spark will be capable of giving birth to great lights in the Church, like the Doctors and Martyrs, who will undoubtedly be higher in heaven than the spark; but how could anyone think that their glory will not become his?
"In heaven, we shall not meet with indifferent glances, because all the elect will discover that they owe to each other the graces that merited the crown for them."
+ + +
Praise God with me for the marvelous assembly of our brothers and sisters the Saints, and the joy and love with which they regard us from their places already before Him! May they bring us, every one, to their company, and meanwhile may they answer all your so-far-unanswered prayers!
I must admit that I'm charmed by Therese's "half-extinguished little lamp which had produced all these beautiful flames which, in their turn, could produce an infinity of others and even light the whole universe."
I know two such half-extinguished little lamps - or three, or four, or five, come to think of it. These are dear friends, heroes of mine, who seem swamped in suffering, yet their faith, and hope, and charity (all of which seem to them more than half-extinguished) are being used by our dear Jesus at this very moment to produce beautiful flames in erstwhile cold hearts . . . using them, in other words, to save souls on earth and liberate those in purgatory.
Do not be afraid, little half-extinguished lamps. We are in this together, and together not only with each other, but with the whole Communion of the Saints-in-Heaven too! May they intercede for us, obtain the answers to our hearts' deepest longings, and fill us and those we love (especially those we love who are suffering) with inescapable peace and joy!
Jesus, we trust in You!
And for those who can only say it but don't feel it, no matter - we know You are God, You are all good, all-powerful, and You love us (even when we can't see or feel it)!
Jesus, we trust in You!
DRAW ME, WE WILL RUN!!!
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