Let not your hearts be troubled or afraid . . . Whatsoever you ask the Father in my name,
He will give it to you. (Jesus to us in John's Gospel, Chapters 14 & 15)
Here we are on Day 3 of our novena, and I must start by saying: Welcome!
Welcome to you who've been here since the very beginning (2 whole days ago, or even 3, depending on what time you're reading this and how you count it - our novena beginnings shrouded in the mists of the past, anyhow), and an equally warm welcome to those just joining us along our little way. Everyone is welcome, and to those who are new I can only warn you that we're praying dangerously over here. It's a lot of fun, even more fun than that pre-Christmas giveaway Oprah used to feature on her show. Same idea but better and bigger because we have an even more generous Host for Whom it's always Christmas. He's always giving us His beloved Son, and much more in the bargain.
I'd say the sky's the limit, but I think we can shoot higher than that. As Jesus keeps telling us, we only have to ask, and for those who are a bit shy, still thinking small or feeling unimaginative, having a hard time knowing what to put on their list after "a pony," no worries! That's our first principle and foundation at Miss Marcel's Musings, No more worrying, any more ever, and besides, regarding the list, I'm asking big for everyone.
It's Father's Day here in the U.S. today, and although I don't know how far this American tradition extends to other parts of the world, I vote (living in a democracy, it's practically a habit) to extend it universally - let everyone from the Japanese to the Seraphim celebrate fathers today! Let's ask our Heavenly Father to bless all fathers today, near and far, across oceans or right beside us, as the case may be. Jesus has promised that His Dad will give us everything, so in His name, we ask you, Abba, to pour Your blessings down upon our own dads - our physical dads and our spiritual fathers - You know how numerous they are, and we don't have the means to thank them, so we turn to You to give them every good thing, most especially eternal life in Heaven after a happy life on earth. (There. I think that covers "all good things"!)
Hopefully by the time you read this, I'll have repaired a little glitch in yesterday's post, but you don't have to go there now. We'll trust the angels to see to the perfection (or lack thereof) on Miss Marcel's Musings, and while they do, I'll tell you what happened. At the end of Day 2, I'd been offering a few pictures in lieu of thousands of words on John C.H. Wu, and between a photo of the latest edition of his book Beyond East and West, and the photo of a Memorial Mass card for Fr. Nicholas Maestrini, some text (literal words) disappeared when I embedded a link into the book-pic. (Can you believe I can do that? I can, but apparently not without some loss of text, at least not yesterday. Still, I think it was worth it. With these nifty links not only does the text kind of shimmer, but you can click over and get the book yourself, just that crazy-easily! What a world! I'll put one in the title a few lines up and you can see what I mean without having to scroll way down to yesterday's oops.)
My oh-so-succinct message (that got lost and may now be found)? In answer to the question, "Who is John Wu?" I wanted to tell you:
John C. H. Wu was the man who wrote the book pictured, and (below the book, I'd typed) in it he introduced me to the priest in the photo below the book, Fr. Nicholas Maestrini, P.I.M.E.
That book was a life changer for me, precisely because it gave me five years of friendship-on-earth with Fr. Maestrini, the man John Wu called the holiest priest he'd ever met. I mentioned yesterday that John Wu was father to a marvelous family (twelve children, I think it was), but Fr. Maestrini's fatherhood was (and continues from heaven) more along the lines of Blessed Clement Vismara's. As Fr. Clement wrote, a missionary priest has more children than he can count! Thanks to John Wu and Beyond East and West (and since I'm never likely to win an Academy Award, I'll take this opportunity to also thank my guardian angel, St. Therese, her sister Celine, the staff of Christendom College library, and the Holy Spirit, to name a few), I became one of Fr. Maestrini's spiritual children while he was still rabble-rousing this side of Paradise, and my Lord-y, that's a gift that keeps on giving.
At this juncture, we reach a tricky fork in the road. Do I tell you more about John Wu and Fr. Maestrini? It's a fabulous story how I found them (or rather they found me), and I love telling it, but I don't want to forget that today is Father's Day. While that means (a) the perfect day to tell the story, it also means (b) a good day to celebrate the fathers in our lives - by going to Mass (how perfect that father-fest is celebrated on a Sunday when we will all, hopefully, have a father to appreciate - namely the one who gives us Jesus today at church), by making a phone call or having a barbeque or perhaps belatedly filling out that Father's Day novena list to drop in the church collection basket (oops!) . . . So which way to go?
Our best guide at this blog is none other than the adorable and hapless Marcel, so let's lead where he follows. (Haha, I meant to say let's follow where he leads but he's such a sport, he's game for anything!) We've got 6 more days for me to tell you about Fr. NM (as I like to call him) and the inscrutable John Wu (he's more admirable than inscrutable, but it sounds good, doesn't it?), and I have an idea how to use those days to our best possible joy. If you, dear reader, want to hear the story of my finding Fr. NM through a book I didn't take off its shelf at the CC library back on February 10 or 11, 2001, drop me a line (you can use the Contact Me button at the top of the sidebar) to request that tale and I'll tell it soon, God willing.
Meanwhile, I can't help but rush ahead with a passage Marcel wrote for us to read together today. I know he meant if for us for today, if not when he first wrote it, then certainly at this moment. Not to be inscrutable myself: I know he wants it for us now because it's where his Conversations opened this morning as I looked for a good Father's Day passage. My wish is his command (Marcel and Jesus are one, as you'll soon hear, and we saw yesterday how much power we have over Jesus in His great love for us), and so I merely knocked this morning, and this door opened. Behind Door Number Three I found Jesus speaking to Marcel, saying:
"Marcel, time has passed, love Me well. I, Jesus and you, Marcel, we make only one whole in God the Father, in Love (the Holy Spirit) and in the arms of Mary. Marcel, I kiss you unceasingly, and the more I give you, the more I wish to give you. Marcel, time is up." (376)
Isn't that just like Jesus? Not only His unceasing kisses, but the reassurance that the more He gives us, the more He wishes to give us. Exactly what we needed to hear as we forge ahead, piling up our petitions for Him. He likes this game too, and talk about a win-win!
But wouldn't it be a fun joke to play on Marcel (and a great gift for him, proving that even in heaven things just get better and better) for us to elect Marcel as a father today? Right before the words I've quoted, Jesus Himself makes the connection for us. He's so good, and this is part of the hundred-fold that Blessed Clement mentioned on Day 1. Marcel's children are now uncountable too!
Here's what Jesus says, and as usual it's not only a gift for Marcel, but for us as well. These words are among my favorites in Conversations because, for one thing, I tend to remember the part I'll put in bold, and it has proven a frequent source of delight. But then, too, it gives us what I'm always looking for and what Therese asked for straight out - that easy way we now call her Little Way. A Divine endorsement comes at the end of our next passage. God is so very good!
Here's what Jesus says (again, at 376 in Conversations):
"Marcel, your apostolate must be directed toward children. I wish you to draw children to Me. I love them dearly. When they play ball, when they have swimming competitions or play no matter what childish game, I am present in the midst of them . . . Marcel, everything pleases Me about children; a word, a smile, even a tear which they shed in a moment of sadness, all that pleases Me . . . . My life as a little child, even a very small child who hardly knows how to walk, is capable of imitating it. I am the true way which leads men to heaven. Why have a way if men were incapable of following it? Men can follow this way easily, without even trying . . ."
You see, Marcel is all things to us: little child pleasing Jesus (and us) in everything, and a father to little children too! So Marcel, we elect you as our dad today. Help us to please Jesus in everything. Help us to be little children in our games, our words, our smiles and our tears. Help us to follow the Little Way, and keep us laughing, because children always laugh and we love to laugh too! Oh and Marcel, ask Jesus to bless all fathers today - those who have fathered us and those we love, those who have been fathers to us, those who are honored and those who are forgotten, those who are on earth, those who are in purgatory (go open the doors for them now - that will be a fun Father's Day game!), and those in Heaven. We want Jesus to give them lots of kisses, and most of all ask Him to give kisses to our priestly fathers. Oh, and since you told us that you're going to ask a million zillion things of the Father anyhow, please ask Him to send more priests to every part of the world, and to bless all those who want to be priests, all seminarians, and all missionaries. Help Therese pour down showers of heavenly roses on the whole world, especially the sad and troubled places, and then come give us a kiss from you and Jesus. Thank you, dear Marcel, brother and father!
May a thousand smiles be yours today. I'm giving you one now, along with my love and gratitude. Thanks for saying this novena with me, and Happy Father's Day!
Oh, and I can't end without adding a note from Padre Pio. He's been very polite, not wanting to interrupt, but he wants me to tell you that he LOVES being a father, and he promises not to enter heaven (what a conversation he and St. Peter must be having!) until all his spiritual children are in before him. So....feel free to ask him (if you haven't already) to count you among his spiritual children. I did say this was the best novena ever, didn't I? We make it our aim to please, and if you act now, we'll throw in the ginsu knife collection for free! (Okay, just kidding about the knives, but the Padre Pio offer is honest-to-goodness true, and comes with a huge bear hug at the pearly gates, redeemable just before entrance.)
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