Chasing Quotes and Finding Jesus
"I am yours and for you and delighted to be what I am so as to be yours and give myself to you."
This morning my husband was delighted (like the person in the quote) because he heard me tapping away on my new typewriter, the one he'd recently bought at a local thrift store and which I claimed as my own. It is the cutest typewriter I've ever seen, and as he's pretty well stocked up in the way of typewriters, he was happy to offer it to me as soon as I began typing and found it perfect for my needs.
No, silly, I'm not using a typewriter to clack out this post. I guess you're not too silly because in all fairness I could type it out there and then type it again into my new computer (the typewriter is only new to me but not NEW-new, so it doesn't have any internet capabilities) and then post it online. But no, I was using the typewriter to clack out the quote you see above, along with a couple other quotes I'd found while playing hide and seek (it was hiding, I was seeking, and it won) for yet another quote.
But wait! . . . have you been reading carefully? A new typewriter AND a new computer? Before you decide I'm somehow raking in the big bucks and buying all kinds of gadgets, let me explain that the computer, also, is only new to me, not new in itself. It was my husband's, identical to the one I had and have used all along to type at lightening speed the posts here at Miss Marcel's Musings. Until a few days ago, that is. My faithful netbook had gotten old before its time, through overuse, perhaps, and it wouldn't do its job anymore.
Lucky me, to have a husband who has decided typewriters are, if not the wave of the future, much better instruments for his work, currently on Dialectic, or "Dialectique" as we say since he's been translating for himself Yvan Pelletier's French book on Aristotole's Topics. He's cheating, not waiting for infused French like I am, but applying himself word by word (and he knows lots more French than I do). He's not in a huge hurry, plus he prefers to think before, during, and after his writing - something I can never trouble myself to do. Besides my being lazy, not thinking is my way of staying out of trouble. I'm quoting little Jesus, Marcel, Therese, and sometimes Mary too. Can you imagine how I'd muck up the works if I started thinking?
But speaking of quoting important people, today I wanted to tell you about my adventures and misadventures (and Miss adventures!) with the St. John of the Cross quote I so blithely offered to Marcel's reading public the other day. Do you remember it? We aren't sticklers for memory here (God remembers everything, sure, but Marcel and Nora Ephron and I remember nothing, so we'd feel hypocritical if we asked you to remember much of anything either), so I'll just repeat it:
“The soul does not go to prayer to tire itself, but to relax.”
--St. John of the Cross
There, that's just how it appeared under the very pretty picture of Mary and little Jesus in our "Little Ways of Prayer" post, and it appeared, if I do say so myself, to universal acclaim. Only there was one dear friend (a careful reader) who asked in an email if I mightn't just give her the reference, because it was such a wonderful quote and St. John of the Cross such a wonderful Saint that it made sense to be exact about where exactly he said this.
I've already forgotten what happened when I answered her email. I can't remember if I forgot to respond at all about where the quote came from (I think that's what happened), but then wrote a follow-up email explaining that I'd look for it (I don't think I got that far - I mean as far as the follow-up email), but I will get back to her, don't worry. Although maybe you should worry (no! Just kidding! Don't worry about anything anymore ever!) because that was indeed the quote with which I played hide and seek starting at 4:30 this morning. And I need to write my friend back and tell her in answer to her question that I most likely mightn't because it wouldn't. Materialize, that is, in anything St. John of the Cross I looked in: it wasn't (that I could see) in a book about St. John of the Cross; it wasn't in my Collected (Complete) John of the Cross (I used the index rather than reading the whole opera omnia), and finally,it wasn't in a short book on the prayers of St. John of the Cross. No, no, and no again.
Well no to the quote I was looking for, but that last book did offer another quote that I loved, nothing less than the quote I started this post with, and which, happily, I have the reference for even before you ask!
First the quote again:
"I am yours and for you and delighted to be what I am so as to be yours and give myself to you."
I bet you wouldn't have thought that was from St. John of the Cross, would you? I was sure surprised, though I realized little Jesus gave it to me at the very moment He did so I wouldn't panic. I like my St. John of the Cross best through the mediation of Therese and Marcel, and reading him straight was making me nervous. Jesus swooped into our game of hide and seek and showed me my holy father behind this quote instead of the worrying ones I was trying not to read. It's from The Living Flame of Love (my second favorite longer work of his, right after Spiritual Canticle), 3:6.
The context of the quote is the soul recalling all it has received through God's love, a love full of gifts and magnificence, befitting He who is the omnipotent and owner of everything. (Doesn't that sound smart? No, I'm not thinking! I'm quoting from Fr. Alphonse Ruiz, O.C.D. who really knows his St. John of the Cross!)
St. John himself says: "When one loves and does good to another, he loves and does good to him in the measure of his own nature and properties. Thus your Bridegroom, dwelling within you, grants you favors according to His nature. Since He is omnipotent, He omnipotently loves and does good to you; since He is wise, you feel that He loves and does good to you with wisdom; since He is infinitely good, you feel that He loves you with goodness . . . since He is merciful, mild and clement, you feel His mercy, mildness, and clemency . . . since He is supreme humility, He loves you with supreme humility and esteem and makes you His equal, gladly revealing Himself to you in these ways of knowledge, in this His countenance filled with graces, and telling you in this His union, with great rejoicing: 'I am yours and for you and delighted to be what I am so as to be yours and give myself to you.'"
Well knock me over with a feather! That's just what I want to say to Him too, exactly the same thing only adding caps to a few pronouns: "I am Yours and for You and delighted to be what I am so as to be Yours and give myself to You too!"
The photo I have above the quote - well wait, you don't have to scroll up, we have magical posting powers here, so let me post it again:
Doesn't that just fulfill the ethos of our new quote? I can imagine dear John Paul was so very glad to be exactly who he was (and where he was) at the moment when he held this little child, and I'm sure the child was feeling glad to be just who he was. It's much more common for a small child to take it for granted (like a flower does) that he is who and what God made him to be, and to delight in that, and to praise and delight God just by being himself. Not so often the case for grown-ups, which is another reason Jesus invites us to turn and become like children to enter His Kingdom of Love. But since Jesus finds us desirable and beautiful right now, this very minute, why not delight, as He does, in who we are?
"I am yours and for you and delighted to be what I am so as to be yours and give myself to you," little Jesus tells us, the Heavenly Father tells us, the Holy Spirit whispers.
Let's reply with Marcel and Therese and St. John of the Cross: "I am Yours and for You and delighted to be what I am so as to be Yours and give myself to You too!"
And what exactly are we? In ourselves, nothing. Which is great, because He is All so there's a perfect complementarity! We are total poverty, He is all rich; we are empty, He can fill us. I forget, He remembers. I can't find my quote, He gives me a better one!
In defense of that earlier quote (from an earlier day), let me give you the whole sentence in which I received it. The trustworthy French priest who gave me the quote had written, "A word of St John of the Cross has always impressed me: 'The soul does not go to prayer to tire itself, but to relax.' And he was not one who encouraged seeking sensible consolations at prayer!"
Too bad our source didn't give his source (in book, chapter, and verse), but you can see he's not one of these people bandying about things as if they'd just made them up but then attributing them to someone else for credibility's sake ("All you need is love!" --Aristotle. Now there I'd say be suspicious; I think that was the Beatles, even if there is truth in it.) Nonetheless, I can't find the place in our good St. J of C where he said it, and I'm only happy to have come out alive from my wanderings through the Dark Night and the Ascent. For little souls, Marcel does a great job of channeling Therese's Juanistinian teachings. There's probably a better way to put that, but you see what I mean and I'm glad to return to my source. Conversations. Everything good is somewhere in there!
Speaking of Marcel, he's been awfully quiet. Does he have an opinion on our musings? Having spent some time with him in Conversations lately, I assure you he remains extremely opinionated! But right now he has a quote to share that's much more than his opinion - it's from Jesus for us.
Originally, Jesus said these words to Marcel n Vietnamese. For us, thanks to our good and dear Jack Keogan, Jesus speaks them in English. But wait! While my husband is busy dialectiquing, I've been enjoying my little French rose, my "Van, petit frere spirituel de Therese" book by Fr. Pierre Descouvemont, another French priest but one who, you'll be glad to hear, does give references for his quotations. I'm extremely grateful for those references myself, because when I'm having trouble with my infusion of French, and in too much of a hurry to look up every single word, I can turn to my English copies of Marcel's works to make sure the English I'm attaching to the French is at least in the ballpark.
So here's Marcel's quote for the day, and it happens to be one I typed below St. John's new quote when I played at the typewriter this morning:
"Une seule de tes joies suffit pour me consoler beaucoup." (col 33, i.e. Convos 33)
or in Jack's sweet rendering:
"A single one of your joys suffices to console me very much."
There's actually more, and I can't keep it from you, it's so perfectly fit for our little souls, as is always the case with these conversations. (Okay, except maybe for the parts about suffering. I, like Marcel, don't like a single word about suffering. A single word about it suffices to frighten me very much, but then, I am Miss Marcel!) But leaving aside what is none of our business, here is the whole little bit that Marcel and Jesus have for us today:
Marcel: Jesus, are You sad sometimes because of me?
Jesus: My child, if that ever happens it is only when I see you sad. When you are happy, how could I be sad? So be happy always. A single one of your joys suffices to console me very much.
Bravo, Marcel! Bravo, Jesus! (I would shout "Encore!" but it's hardly necessary. There's always more where this came from; we only have to open our books.)
How did we get so lucky? We were chasing quotes and once again we found Jesus. I think opening Marcel's book has a lot to do with it, but even in St. John of the Cross, our Beloved waits for us. He is everywhere! He's even in the photo I've placed twice in this post.
If you need a good image to help you pray today, just picture yourself as the little one our Holy Papa is holding. You're playing with the necklace Papa is wearing, and He's looking down upon you with infinite love and compassion - an all-powerful tenderness that won't let any harm befall you, so no more worrying, about anything, anymore, ever!
While I'm trying to help you relax, perhaps there's something you're having a hard time letting go of. Is there some particular worry, regret, frustration, or anxiety that keeps you suffering and sad or mad? Whisper it to Papa, even as you look at the necklace if you're a little shy to look in His eyes when you tell Him. Then sneak a glance and intercept His merciful gaze. Tell Him you love Him, a lot, and don't worry about whatever it is any more. He's got this, as well as everything else! An earthly father doesn't give his child a snake when he asks for bread, nor does a mother forget her child. But even if they were to, our true and Heavenly Father would not do any such things! He remembers everything, especially every little thing that matters to you, and He won't forget to take care of it in a way far more satisfying than any you might imagine.
As to our part, it's simple. We say our little prayers, and then take a nap.
Draw me, we will run!
Ahn-train mwa, noo koo-roe(n) ah tah sweet!
Jesus, we love You a lot! Now cover us with kisses!
Before I go, I almost forgot: We're at the end of our octave for Therese's feast, but your intentions are still wafting up to heaven because we're now in the novena for the big Teresa's feast, which comes in less than a week on Monday the 15th. I must admit my novena superpowers have been on the fritz just like my old computer, but then just as my husband took care of my little computer needs, I'm sure God will hear our little prayers. Let's make it a tiny mini novena this time, so for those of us carrying on with our Divine Mercy Chaplet novena (till St. JPII day another week after La Madre's feast), we won't get overwhelmed. Novenas are lovely, but they're not supposed to make you hyperventilate!
Let's see then . . . How about:
St. Teresa of Jesus,
Holy mother of Carmel,
Who turned to Jesus' Mother (and ours)
and good St. Joseph her most chaste spouse
for all your needs,
please ask them (and little Jesus) to give us
and the whole Church
and the whole world
all we need too!
There! It was a novena of lines (9 of them!) so we're all set!
And now, snuggle up to Papa and relax. Whether or not St. John of the Cross really said prayer shouldn't tire you, it's true! It's as easy as a sigh, a glance, a conversation with our dear Jesus who we know (thanks to Marcel) loves us so very much. So relax, and glance at Love, sigh to Him, smile at Him, and feel free to fall asleep leaning on His Heart which, after all, belongs to you.
Time is up, our prayers are said, and you have nothing to worry about - anymore - ever!
p.s. I almost forgot! My husband has not only been thinking and typing about Dialectic lately, he's been talking about it as well! And he's famous! Here's a link to click and then you'll find a picture of him dialectiquing, a copy of what he's saying (all true, as far as I could tell, though I admit he lost me at the half way point), as well as a play button way down at the bottom of the page where you can click again and hear about dialectic out loud (if you unmute your computer speaker)! Almost more fun than should be legal, but then, what did you expect from the man behind Miss Marcel? He's got to balance out my silliness with loads of truth and logic, and he does a fine job right HERE. (That was it! The HERE is the clickable part, in or out of parentheses! Bon Voyage and bon dialectique!)
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