Beloved Holy Father, Pope St. John Paul II, give to us your filial love for Mary and for her Rosary please, and may St. Padre Pio, whom you beatified in 1999 and canonized in 2002, obtain for us his love of Mary and the Rosary too!
Padre Pio, our dear father along with John Paul II, obtain for us a double portion of his and your love for Mary and the Rosary!
Marcel and Therese, run quick and find St. Anthony (he's busy helping others look for lost things, but just tell him that we need help too!), and then together wake up St. Juan Diego (he's taking a siesta on Mary's lap). With them ask our Blessed Mother, our dear Lady of Guadalupe, to obtain for us from the Heavenly Father the graces to love her very much - as much as all the angels and saints put together and then some! - and to love her Rosary all that and more too!
There! That should do it! That's a clean-up job of the sloppiest novena I've ever said, but I figure if we pray three times in honor of the Trinity (and a fourth for good measure in our post title), then someone as generous and sweet as Our Lady of Guadalupe can hardly resist! In fact, how can she resist any of our requests when we need only quote her own words to fill our hearts with confidence and remind her (as well as us) of all her promises?
Hear and let it penetrate your heart, my dear little one:
Let nothing discourage you, nothing depress you.
Let nothing alter your heart or your countenance.
Am I not here who am your Mother?
Are you not under my shadow and protection?
Am I not your fountain of life?
Are you not in the folds of my mantle?
In the crossing of my arms?
Is there anything else that you need?
Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain.
Phew! I feel like I've just run a big race, got to the finish line, and am ready to be taken care of by my race team! - Is that what happens at the end of a big race? I sure hope so! I've never really run a big race except maybe in 4th grade or so, and that was just at recess. And the ends of races I've seen in movies end up with the runner collapsing on the ground, happy but gasping for breath . . . Whereas I feel more like after my big race this past week, our team (you know, the ones that cheer us on and then help us at the end) - Marcel, Therese, JPII, Padre Pio, Our Blessed Mother and St. Joseph, the North American Martyrs, et al - obtained for me at the end a s'more (refueling food), followed by a hot bath and ten hours sleep!
Lest you think I'm just painting a sweet but imaginary picture of that s'more (two marshmallows roasted over a gas flame stove and a little Hershey's special dark between the de rigueur graham cracker halves), let me add that the captain of my team is St. Thomas Aquinas. If you don't yet know his principal teaching for our times, let me insert it here - because what's a musing and a blog for, if not to share the wondrous treasures of our patrons?
From the Summa Theologiae, Prima Secundae (that means first part of the second part or IaIIae in the biz), Question 38, The Remedies of Sorrow or Pain:
Article 5. Whether pain and sorrow are assuaged by sleep and baths?
Objection 1. It would seem that sleep and baths do not assuage sorrow. For sorrow is in the soul: whereas sleep and baths regard the body. Therefore they do not conduce to the assuaging of sorrow.
Objection 2. Further, the same effect does not seem to ensue from contrary causes. But these, being bodily things, are incompatible with the contemplation of truth which is a cause of the assuaging of sorrow, as stated above (Article 4). Therefore sorrow is not mitigated by the like.
Objection 3. Further, sorrow and pain, in so far as they affect the body, denote a certain transmutation of the heart. But such remedies as these seem to pertain to the outward senses and limbs, rather than to the interior disposition of the heart. Therefore they do not assuage sorrow.
On the contrary, Augustine says (Confess. ix, 12): "I had heard that the bath had its name [Balneum, from the Greek balaneion] . . . from the fact of its driving sadness from the mind." And further on, he says: "I slept, and woke up again, and found my grief not a little assuaged": and quotes the words from the hymn of Ambrose [Cf. Sarum Breviary: First Sunday after the octave of the Epiphany, Hymn for first Vespers], in which it is said that "Sleep restores the tired limbs to labor, refreshes the weary mind, and banishes sorrow."
I answer that, As stated above (I-II:37:4), sorrow, by reason of its specific nature, is repugnant to the vital movement of the body; and consequently whatever restores the bodily nature to its due state of vital movement, is opposed to sorrow and assuages it. Moreover such remedies, from the very fact that they bring nature back to its normal state, are causes of pleasure; for this is precisely in what pleasure consists, as stated above (I-II:31:1). Therefore, since every pleasure assuages sorrow, sorrow is assuaged by such like bodily remedies.
Reply to Objection 1. The normal disposition of the body, so far as it is felt, is itself a cause of pleasure, and consequently assuages sorrow.
Reply to Objection 2. As stated above (I-II:31:8), one pleasure hinders another; and yet every pleasure assuages sorrow. Consequently it is not unreasonable that sorrow should be assuaged by causes which hinder one another.
Reply to Objection 3. Every good disposition of the body reacts somewhat on the heart, which is the beginning and end of bodily movements, as stated in De Causa Mot. Animal. xi.
* * *
Isn't St. Thomas the best ever? At least one of the best ever, since we can't exclude St. Therese from that category!
But getting back to the need for assuagement, please don't worry that I needed a remedy for sorrow. I mean we all do while we're in this valley of tears, but with Our Blessed Mother watching our back (and rubbing it like a good mom does when her kid is sick - and who isn't, occasionally or frequently, as the case may be, in this exile?), we here at Miss Marcel's Musings have been feeling a lot better lately - especially after that 10 hours of sleep, no kidding!
More interesting, though, than the pain and sorrow which require remedies, are the remedies themselves. Call me Pollysuzanna and you won't be the first! We like the glass full-full, not even half full, Marcel and I . . . which lead us to articles 3 and 4 by our big brother: Whether pain and sorrow are assuaged by the sympathy of friends and the contemplation of truth. And in the interests of time (yours!), let's cut to the chase and just say YES! Absolutely! No question!
Which must be why this last week's (this last novena's) race has been not only exhausting but sheer delight!
If you recall, it began a day late and five dollars short on our Holy Mother Teresa of Jesus' feast this past Sunday, October 15. What I didn't remember as I mused that morning was that the BIG MOMENT of that big day was going to be the current Holy Father's release of his Apostolic Exhortation on our dear sister St. Therese! Well he did and it was! WOWIE ZOWIE!
I was going to say, "his Apostolic Exhortation on our dear sister St. Therese on the occasion of her anniversaries," but I'm stopped short by his magisterial words at the outset:
"I have not chosen to issue this Exhortation on either of those dates [150th anniversary of her birth, January 2, or 100th anniversary of her beatification, April 29] or on her liturgical Memorial, so that this message may transcend those celebrations and be taken up as part of the spiritual treasury of the Church. Its publication on the liturgical Memorial of Saint Teresa of Avila is a way of presenting Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face as the mature fruit of the reform of the Carmel and of the spirituality of the great Spanish saint."
If you want to read that letter in full, you can go HERE to our previous post or HERE to the Vatican website (a place where you can find tons and tons of wonderful documents, if these heavenly pronouncements weighed more than the feather of an angel's wing).
If you're feeling less frenetic and don't want to leave us even for a moment, I'm happy to present, here and now, with Marcel, a few of the points that thrilled me to the core . . .
1. The title is "C'est la confiance" which comes from the first line of the apostolic exhortation, which our Holy Father quotes in French (and then, happily for us mono-linguists, in English) from Letter 197 of St. Therese to her Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart:
“C’est la confiance et rien que la confiance qui doit nous conduire à l’Amour.” “It is confidence and nothing but confidence that must lead us to Love.”
2. He then goes on to say (are you sitting down? This is SO AWESOME!!!!!):
"These striking words of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face say it all. They sum up the genius of her spirituality and would suffice to justify the fact that she has been named a Doctor of the Church."
Would suffice to justify the fact that she has been named a Doctor of the Church?! Glory be and Alleluia! This means, for those of us bears of very little brain, we only have one thing we need to remember from our dear sister's teachings and Little Way:
"It is confidence, and nothing but confidence, that must lead us to Love!"
3. But lest we start panicking because our confidence is at a low ebb on our best days, the Holy Father continues (with more of our sister's thirst quenching words):
It is confidence that sustains us daily and will enable us to stand before the Lord on the day when He calls us to Himself: “In the evening of this life, I shall appear before You with empty hands, for I do not ask You, Lord, to count my works. All our justice is stained in Your eyes. I wish, then, to be clothed in Your own Justice and to receive from Your Love the eternal possession of Yourself.”
Shooooo! (That's the sound my husband used to make all the time when he was my boyfriend. He got it from his mama, and by the time of our graduation from college, the whole class of our friends said it too. It's a kind of sigh of love that means all sorts of things, but in this case, Thank Heavens!)
But more to the point (this third point), we can be full of confidence because, as the Pope explains, we are confident in GOD, our loving Father, not in ourselves! Hooray for omnipotence, omniscience, and INFINITELY MERCIFUL LOVE!!!!!
4. Believe it or not, there are some very good angels involved with the publication (virtual as it is, unless printed out) of Miss Marcel's Musings, and they won't let me post this unless I add that to my eternal and utter confoundation, in the middle of C'est la Confiance, the Holy Father actually quotes the line that is behind, or better yet beneath, as the foundation, my book (and Therese's great gift to us) Something New with St. Therese, Her Eucharistic Miracle.
"This insistence of Therese on God’s initiative leads her, when speaking of the Eucharist, to put first not her desire to receive Jesus in Holy Communion, but rather the desire of Jesus to unite Himself to us and to dwell in our hearts.  In her Act of Oblation to Merciful Love, saddened by her inability to receive communion each day, she tells Jesus: “Remain in me as in a tabernacle”.  Her gaze remained fixed not on herself and her own needs, but on Christ, who loves, seeks, desires and dwells within."
Ah. The kindness and tender solicitude of God in answering our deepest desires with His own deepest desires is beyond anything we can ask or imagine!
I'd like to get back to the day, this day, though, so I can go eat something slightly more sustaining (if a little less fun) than a s'more for breakfast . . . (no, I didn't already have a s'more this morning! And no, I'm not going to break out a pop-tart or Ho-Ho from my pantry - those are for late night snacks when absolutely necessary in the assuaging of pain or sorrow, or just celebrating our feasts, but for now I'm thinking two eggs over easy and a half piece of toasted sourdough) . . .and I can't eat anything until I finish the work set out before me - which is simply this, to wish you:
Happy Feast of our Holy Father St. John Paul the Second!!!!!!!!
His photo at the top of this post shows him in Lisieux, the land of Therese, "during my unforgettable visit to Lisieux on 2 June 1980," (his words, not mine!) - and at first glance, after noticing how adorably young our Holy Father looked, I thought he was in the room of Les Buissonnets where the Virgin of the Smile healed young Therese (where I've been too, in my unforgettable visit to Lisieux with my dear husband in May 2019), but then I realized he's in the infirmary of the Carmel where, surrounded by her sisters, Therese finally got to enter eternal life. If you look closely, you'll see the amazing photo Sister Genevieve of the Holy Face (Therese's sister Celine) took of her in repose when her soul had been sipped up, finally, like a drop of dew. Ah, sweet Sister Death! - when will you come for us and, with the angels, lead us straight into the arms of Love?
This picture of Pope St. John Paul before little Therese is also extra special because it's the closest any of us mere mortals will ever get in this life to the infirmary of the Carmel of Lisieux unless we become Carmelite sisters of Therese there too!
Sometimes, though, even if a picture is worth a thousand words, a thousand words can be worth a million pictures (I just made that up, but I think it's true) - like when the words are the words of a Papal letter on St. Therese! Because wouldn't you know it, just so we could remember THE GREAT ACHIEVEMENT of our beloved JPII's papacy, the Holy Spirit stuck it smack down in time in the novena leading to his Feastday!
First, Pope St. John Paul II's feast day is today (though this year hidden behind the Sunday) on October 22 because that's the day (in 1978) he was elected to the papacy. Yay, October 22nd! Viva il Papa!
Second, now that we are saying novenas because JP2 is not only our Holy Father but a Saint in Heaven with Therese and Marcel and our (and his) dear Blessed Mother and good St. Joseph, not to mention the most Holy and Blessed Trinity, this novena happens to cruise right past October 19. Have I told you about October 19 before?
Without including any more links (because if I look it up, I'm sure I'll find I must have rejoiced with you in previous years on this glorious day of October 19), let me just fill you in now:
October 19 is, first and foremost, the Feast of the North American Martyrs. Click on them or HERE for a wondrous sermon by Fr. Thomas Aquinas McGovern, S.J., about their wondrous lives on this earth and into eternity. Talk about being surrounded by a cloud of witnesses!
But it gets better, because on October 19, 1997, Therese's centenary year of entering into her Heaven of doing good on earth, Pope St. John Paul II, God bless his dear papal heart, proclaimed Therese a Doctor of the Universal Church! Tears come to my eyes as I write, thinking of the good friends with whom we partied that joyful night! May God bless them too, dear Fr. Jack and C and T and 75 students of Christendom College! Yes, I am here to tell you that the sympathy of friends can assuage the pain and sorrow of this silly exile wherein we find ourselves - and there's nothing like a pizza party in honor of the Little Flower to seal the deal!
And then, just when one thinks there can be no more surprises, no more heights of bliss, no more bursts of laughter at the antics of a new friend more delightful than every sweet thing, more stunning than a sunset, more bracing than the smell of salt and the feel of the ocean breeze on a long awaited trip to the seaside - then, on October 19, 2016, in my case, along comes Marcel . . .
I had been minding my own business, trying not to trip while little Therese, her firm, guiding right hand on the small of my back, pushed me through the writing of Something New with St. Therese, Her Eucharistic Miracle (and lest you think it's always all about her, let me insist that this one is all about us and Little Hidden Jesus), when what to my wondering eyes did appear in my mailbox but a sweet and long-awaited rose named Marcel, and his Conversations (with Jesus, Mary, and St. Therese).
That was 7 years (and three days) ago, and I haven't been the same since. Talk about Divine Reassurance for fun and for free! Thank You, Jesus, Mary, and St. Therese, for giving us our little brother Marcel Van! Thank you, Jack Keogan and Fr. Antonio Boucher, CSsR, for loving him and translating him so that we can read his remarkable and hilarious conversations! And thank you, Pope St. John Paul II, for in naming our sister St. Therese a Doctor of the Universal Church, you allayed any absurd and residual fears we could ever have had about whether to believe her audacious and comforting words to us. Just for an example, as quoted in "C'est la confiance," her words explicating the verse of the Song of Songs that we use as our concluding prayer in each post here:
“Draw me, we shall run after You in the odour of Your ointments. O Jesus! It is not even necessary to say: When drawing me, draw the souls whom I love! This simple statement, ‘Draw me’ suffices. I understand, Lord, that when a soul allows herself to be captivated by the odour of Your ointments, she cannot run alone; all the souls whom she loves follow in her train; this is done without constraint, without effort, it is a natural consequence of her attraction for You. Just as a torrent, throwing itself with impetuosity into the ocean, drags after it everything it encounters in its passage, in the same way, O Jesus, the soul who plunges into the shoreless ocean of Your Love, draws with her all the treasures she possesses. Lord, you know it, I have no other treasures than the souls it has pleased You to unite to mine.”
I have been quietly musing in the back of my mind and heart, all during the writing of this post, whether to conclude with the entire text of Pope St. John Paul II's apostolic letter on Therese as Doctor, Divini Amoris Scientia. But even after ten hours of restorative sleep, I'm getting tired before the day's even begun, so at the behest of Therese and Marcel and especially sleepy St. Juan Diego, I'm just putting in a link to that letter (see the shimmeriness of "Divini Amoris Scientia"? that means one click will take you there) . . .
There's always tomorrow, when most of us will find ourselves waking after way less than the enormous amount of sleep needed to assuage the ennui following whatever festivities we can drum up today, so let's meet again here (and if not tomorrow, then the next day or the next) to use JPII's octave as an occasion to post his full and authoritative document on Therese's doctorate. Meanwhile, encouraged by them both and by Jesus, our Divine Magnet, we've got one last prayer to say before closing:
Draw me, we will run!
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