The first time he said it to us, he was so young, so full of vitality, our Pope-from-a-far-away-land. And when I thought of posting a photo for today's Happy Feast Day greetings, I pictured him that way. Then I saw this photo, and it was just right . . . the years had passed, and our Papa was not the young, athletic man he had been. He was physically broken by illness and age, but morally, spiritually, psychologically he was stronger than ever. And in his arms? One of his flock who looks so happy to be there!
Then I came across a message from Jesus to Marcel, and it fit the photo so beautifully. Marcel had asked Jesus: "Why am I so weak? . . . tell me if these negligences hurt You?"
After our Holy Father had done so much for us - from his worldwide travels to the new Code of Canon Law, from his encyclicals to World Youth Days, from the Catechism of the Catholic Church to his role in the downfall of communism - now he was so weak, lacking the power to do what he desired, even at the end unable to raise his arm in blessing. But here is what Jesus said to Marcel, and I'm sure these words were meant for our beloved JPII as well:
"Poor child of my love. If you really wish I will ask you a question and then I will reply to you . . . when you are guilty of these lapses, do you intend to hurt me? My dear child, listen to me. Why should you blush because of your weaknesses? Since you act simply for love of me, be assured that you never have the desire to hurt me, your Beloved. Besides, I have already told you: your weaknesses are only grains of dust which, passing through the fire of my love, disappear without a trace . . . Little friend of my love, firmly believe that I have never found in you anything of the slightest nature to sadden me. My dear child, offer these weaknesses to me so that I may make use of them to fuel the fire of my love in your heart . . . My child, far from extinguishing in your heart the fire of my love, these weaknesses, on the contrary, only fan it more as your sister Saint Therese has already told you. Moreover, if I leave you these weaknesses, it is because I wish that you might be in no way superior to your brethren . . ." (Conversations, 119)
Our Holy Father St. John Paul II cherished his suffering as a means to show us an example, to be a true father to us, to unite himself with Christ and with all who suffer (that is everyone!), and so I think he knew this message of Jesus, though I don't think he ever read it.
But here we are, 13 years after JPII went Home to the Father's House, and 59 years after Marcel went there before him - here we are reading these precious words of Our Lord, and so I am sure they are meant for us! Which is just one more reason to "Be not afraid," that is, because Jesus wants us to firmly believe we don't sadden Him in the least!
Talk about a feast! We get to be loved and cared for by JPII from his place in Heaven (for I'm certain that once a Holy and Loving Father, always a Holy and Loving Father), and we get to have Marcel as our brother, sharing with us every word Jesus made him write down for us! I used to have a friend who was a very loving father, and he would say when one of his children kissed him good-bye before leaving the house, "I love you too much!" as he gave a hug. That's about how it works . . . God loves us too much, but what a wonderful too much it is!
I had the good fortune to make it to Mass today, and I thought the reading from Ephesians was specifically chosen for this feast. It was from the second chapter and contained the words: "But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and made us sit with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus."
(How lucky we are to know "the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus" as spoken to Marcel and recorded in Conversations!)
God, who is rich in mercy . . .
Dives in Misericordia, St. John Paul II's second encyclical (his first was Redemptor Hominis) given to us at the end of November, 1980, began with these words: "It is 'God who is rich in mercy' whom Jesus Christ has revealed to us as Father . . ."
Wouldn't you know that this reading from Ephesians just happened (as planned from all eternity!) to be today's reading, following in the sequence of readings from Ephesians that we started a few days ago and will continue tomorrow?! Talk about rich in mercy! What a fitting gift on this feast of the Pope who showed so much mercy, who gave us the Mercy of God in the Feast of Divine Mercy, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, the Saint (Faustina) of Divine Mercy!
And speaking of the chaplet, how joyful we are, here at Miss Marcel's Musings, to reach this day that crowns our 54 day Divine Mercy Chaplet novena! We really must stop worrying now, for every possible intention has been included, and God won't refuse us anything! While I said these chaplets these last 54 days, I would often remember specific intentions, sometimes saying them with each bead, and other times I would just remind Jesus that we need absolutely everything from Him. Since He told Faustina twice that the Chaplet obtains everything, I'm sure we're all set - and I didn't forget your intentions either! No way Jose! (that's Ho-zay, by the way :).
I just heard an announcement that the library where I'm typing this is about to close, and soon our feast will close too, but I refuse to be sad. Tomorrow is the too-little-known feast of Blessed Boethius (author of the Consolation of Philosophy and a special patron for my husband and me), and the next day is the magnificent St. Anthony Mary Claret, not to mention that we're still in the month of the Rosary. There's so much, always, to celebrate, let's not mind when one feast ends. It's the only way another can begin! Though I admit Heaven will be spectacular - like every feast all at once forever!!!
Meanwhile, I'm asking JPII to gain us his love for the Rosary and Our Lady. I prayed this prayer for myself a few years ago, and wonderful things happened, so now that it's occurred to me to pray it for you too, be ready for more joy and love in your life!
And like an Amen to cap those 54 dear Divine Mercy chaplets, let's pray our own simple signature prayer together, and then call it a night:
Draw me, we will run!
May John Paul II be a Holy Father to you until he brings you safely into the Home of our True Heavenly Father, and all our loved ones too! Everyone, in fact, for it would be surly of us to leave anyone out of our prayers for eternal bliss. What can I say? Marcel and I have Therese's desire (like her mama, Teresa of Avila's) to save souls!
Jesus, I trust in You!
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