Today we begin Part 2 of our 2nd Triple Novena. Hooray!
We're praying our way to the Feast of St. John Paul II now, and so above we have an image of him holding a small child. Do you know why you can't see the little one's face? Because that little one is you! Our dear Holy Father is offering your littleness to the Heavenly Father! And you can see that he is not alone . . . the good smiling Padre on the left is Padre Pio who offers you too! Somehow, since his feast during our last triple novena, he just can't stay away!
A few years ago, as St. John Paul II's feast was approaching, I asked him to obtain for me his love of Our Lady and her Rosary. He not only came through, he told me (or showed me) that I needed more help than he alone could (or wanted) to give. My experience has shown me that the Saints love to work together, and in this case, St. John Paul II pointed to St. Padre Pio and said, "If you want to love Our Lady and the Rosary, he's your man!"
No, I don't hear voices (well sometimes those of my family, but only if I'm not reading or writing when, for some reason, I conveniently go semi-deaf), but I'm sure JPII and Pio were in cahoots because on October 22nd (JP's feast) in that year of my request, I received in the mail my enrollment in Padre Pio's "spiritual child" program. I had sent $5 for a Mass stipend, along with my name to be enrolled somewhere official. As I think I've mentioned here before, you can ask the good Padre to be your spiritual father, and he will happily and instantly take you on, and all those you love too! So I had no doubts that I was his spiritual daughter, but a friend who is even crazier for him than I am had given me this form I could send in, so I thought, "Why not?"
I am now in a position to tell you why not. At least for me. It was a perfect invitation for the good Padre (drawn into the situation by his friend Karol W.) to play a huge joke on me! On the Holy Father's feast, then, back into my mailbox came the form with something postal and rejecting stamped on the envelope. I think it said "No such address" though I had tried to copy the info carefully. And our postal service in the U.S. is so excellent, that even if you get an address a smidge wrong, they usually manage to get your mail to the right person . . . unless the saints and angels are playing tricks!
Just to keep the fun going, the two of them (PP and JP) then sent me on to St. Anthony to tell me that "Il Santo" was the REAL deal . . . and now, as if in honor of our Triple Novena x 2, the 3 amigos are back! Because you know how St. Anthony will always help you find things? (If you don't know, try him. He's so good about this!) Well, this month he's been collaborating with the Padre and our Holy Papa to actually hide something in order to get me back on track. What is he hiding? What did he want me to do for him? It goes like this:
I've been getting Magnificat (the monthly missal) for years. For the first time ever, a few months back I didn't get my issue. I was able to get a replacement, though heaven knows whether it was really them or me who lost the original. Still it had never happened before. and I hoped it wouldn't happen again . . . and then this month, with that "one more time all over again" feeling the French have a fancy name for, I couldn't find my issue (of the missal! other issues are plentiful and obvious!) - only this time I was fairly certain I'd received it but misplaced it, so I prayed to St. Anthony (as I had done the first time) and just waited.
We are, I'm beginning to realize, a good chunk of the way into or through October. Still no Magnificat turning up, so I've been bringing last month's copy (with my favorite prayer cards tucked inside) with me to Mass. Yesterday I wondered while at church, "What is in this September issue that I'm supposed to be paying attention to, reading, allowing to be a conduit of grace?"
Bingo! It was the meditation for Septermber 23, St. Padre Pio's feast! I had read it at the time and loved it, but hesitated to share it here because perhaps you too had already read it. But yesterday I realized it is a magnificent sum of what Jesus forever tells us - through Marcel, and also through John Paul II. And I realized that this passage from St. Pio's letters (the one quoted in last month's Magnificat) is just what all Heaven wants me to covey to you, and it even provides our novena prayer!
This morning I came across a short quote from Padre Pio, one I'd never seen before but which struck me as a potential motto, it so exactly suits Marcel and Miss Marcel. Here it is:
"Love cannot manage without words."
At least my love can't, and it seems Jesus' love can't either!
When you think of the Blessed Trinity giving us, over the centuries and even the millenia, the entire love letter of the Bible! And then when you consider the many words Jesus left us, His "most precious relics on earth" as He said to St. Gertrude the Great. And then, Marcel's Conversations!! Not to mention the many words of His love through the other Saints to us! Woohoo - that's clearly a whole lotta love God needs to give us! The sheer volume of words tells the story!
And yet, it is all so simple. Here is how Padre Pio sums it up in the passage Jesus so earnestly wants us to hear that He's willing to tie St. Anthony's hands and refuse to let him find my Magnificat for October. And when you read what Jesus says to us through our father Pio, you will know how this fits perfectly with His beloved Vicar, John Paul II . . . Padre Pio's words of love to a spiritual child:
What should I say to you in the name of this most sweet God become Man? I repeat, a thousand times and I will always repeat what I have always said to you:
Do not fear. Jesus is with you. He is working within you and is pleased with you, and you are entirely and always in Him.
This is the entire and only truth.
* * *
There is more, and it is eminently worth sharing too, but I wanted to make sure you had that first part, that main part, that simple "entire and only truth" part before I added the rest. St. Pio continues:
You are right to complain at finding yourself more often than not in darkness. You seek your God, you sigh for Him, you call Him and cannot always find Him. Then it seems to you that God hides Himself, that He has abandoned you! But I repeat,
Do not fear. Jesus is with you and you are with Him.
In darkness, times of tribulation and spiritual anxiety, Jesus is with you. In that state, you see nothing but darkness in your spirit, but I assure you on behalf of God, that the light of the Lord invades and surrounds your entire spirit. You see yourself in tribulations and God repeats to you through the mouth of His prophet and that of authority: I am with the troubled soul. You see yourself in a state of abandonment, but I assure you that Jesus holds you more tightly than ever to His divine Heart. Even our Lord on the cross complained of the Father's abandonment. But did the Father ever and could He ever abandon His Son, the object of all His divine pleasure?
These are the trials of the spirit. Jesus wants it so. Fiat! Pronounce this fiat and do not fear. By all means complain to Jesus as you like: Pray to Him as you wish, but adhere firmly to the words of him who speaks to you in the name of God.
+ + +
It is with good reason that our blog is called "Miss Marcel's Musings" - not only because here I muse, but because Marcel is our muse! Or rather, Jesus to Marcel is our foundation and pinnacle. And so when I opened Conversations this morning in prayer, I was delighted to find Our Lord telling us the same thing Pio just did! And John Paul II? He couldn't start without saying, very first off, "Be not afraid!" and he, like Jesus whose voice he was, could never repeat it enough.
Here, then, is Jesus speaking to Marcel, more words of love because, as St. Pio put it simply and truly, "Love cannot manage without words," This passage is from November 15, 1945, in Conversations (122):
My child, the smaller your love is for me, the more mine will envelop you with its intimacy . . . my dear child, following the example of the little one, be happy to gaze on me and I will penetrate the depths of your heart more even than the mother penetrates that of her child; and throughout eternity, my love will never be separated from you. On the contrary, it will only make your love grow eternally . . .
My child! Without end and in every way, you will only receive marks of my love for you . . . My dear little one, my love will never depart from you . . . Oh loving child of my heart, look at me covering you now with kisses. My child, even if you looked for a means of divesting yourself of my love, you would never succeed because, already, you are wrapped and shrouded deeply in my love. My child, my dear child, it is no longer possible for you to escape from my love.
* * *
And so what shall we pray for these next 9 days?
I can think of no better words than these: first the words of Jesus, Pio, and John Paul II, and then the words Our Savior and Spouse put on our lips through the writings and witness of His little girl who started us off on this Triple Novena fest, St. Faustina. And because we are big fans of the Little Way around here, you've already prayed these once today - when you read the title of this post! But here, for the record, are these wondrous words again:
Do not be afraid!
Jesus I trust in You!
These words have been the clarion call for centuries of Saints, including the one we celebrate today, October 14, Pope St. Callistus; the one we rejoice to fete tomorrow, October 15, with our little sister Therese and our little brother Marcel - their Madre and ours, St. Teresa of Jesus of Avila!!; and then just to keep the party going, the very next day, October 16, Marcel's special Redemptorist patron of lay brothers (and patron of expectant moms and babies in utero), St. Gerard Majella, along with St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, lover of the Sacred Heart!
Letting these Saints help us see Jesus' love more clearly should keep us busy for a while, and the best way I can think to keep ourselves from complete dissolution (ah, our foretaste of Heaven: here, one feast after another; there, one endless feast!), is this formula - let's try to hear Jesus' words to us daily, perhaps hourly:
Do not be afraid!
And let's respond just as often in the words He delights in hearing from us:
Jesus, I trust in You!
Remember not to worry - that's what Jesus is telling us - and that includes not worrying about how well you're doing in or on our Triple Novena #2. Believe me, you're doing fabulous! Aren't you here now? What a gift and grace! What joy to be together, united in prayer with little souls all over the world, saying in the words Therese cherished from the Song of Songs (because they expressed everything):
Draw me, we will run!!!
You and all your intentions and all your loved ones and all their intentions? Covered! As in His kisses and His Limitless Love, as well as the sweet embrace of our Mother Mary. who folds her mantle around us and tucks us in safe, close to Jesus on her heart.
No more worrying, about anything, anymore, ever! Or, in the words of Our Lord and His servants:
Be not afraid!
Jesus, I trust in You!!!
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