I know this may reach you a bit before The Day, but don't worry, it's just a foretaste of tomorrow, like tomorrow will be a foretaste of Heaven!
I've been wanting all week to get you ready for the deluge of roses that's on it's way, but God had other plans for me. Finally, this morning, I wrote up a nice long post for you, and what do you think happened? It poofed into thin air when I tried to post it! That was fine with me . . . I have kind of a deal with God. He lets me write my Musings here as Miss Marcel, and I don't mind when He poofs them. After all, He is the Divine Editor, and I'd hate to post something of which Heaven disapproved!
When I considered what I'd written that might have been unfit for a blog promoting Truth, Love, Peace, and Joy, I realized where I'd gone wrong. No, I don't think I'd better tell you the particulars, because if I did then we'd be right back where we started and I'd have to re-write again after God re-poofed again.
Better, then, to start afresh with something I think will prepare you for tomorrow AND be full of Truth, Love, Peace, and Joy!
I've been thinking of God's mercies and how very kind He is. It's just far beyond our ability to imagine, and yet so worth trying to understand. When I think of God's gifts, one of the finest I can think of to thank Him for is the gift of friendship, and when I think of friendship, the finest I can think of is friendship with the Saints. Don't worry - that doesn't leave you out, dear reader! I'm talking about the Saints in heaven and those on earth too! And if you don't think you're a Saint yet, well I won't contradict you - we all have a ways to go, but simply acknowledging our littleness and sitting at the feet of Therese and Marcel (who are on Mary's lap with little Jesus) is such a good start. What looks to others like lounging (certainly not like setting out on our possibly long journey to sanctity) was praised by Our Lord when He commended Mary Magdalene for sitting at His feet, so we're safe.
But to take the spotlight off of us and our holiness (and lack thereof!), it's nice to know the Saints in Heaven are thrilled to be our friends also. And one of the most marvelous ways they show their love to us is through sharing, in books they wrote and books written about them, what Jesus told them and did for them. He is so good, so kind, so tender, so loving (are you like me? Would you have this list of His true character traits go on and on and on? Me too!) - well He is so wonderful that we can never learn enough about Him. Thankfully, the Saints get us started on our eternal quest to know Him as He is in Himself (not as we sometimes mistake Him to be, or as we may have wrongly understood Him to be) - you know, kind, tender, loving, patient, gentle, and so on and so forth!
I recently came across two different references to St. Gertrude that do exactly this - help us form a true idea of how loving Jesus is (or at least make a start at the formation of such an idea). One of these things I found was something that Our Lord said to St. Gertrude and which I've loved for a very long time: the quote where He says that the most precious relics He's left on this earth are His words of Love to us, and we should cherish and treasure them. Yes! Such precious relics as:
"Come to Me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest."
Or another favorite:
"I thank You, Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, for what You have hidden from the wise and the learned, You have revealed to little children."
Along these lines (of the Father's revelation of the Son to the little ones), I had forgotten for years and years that the place I first found this saying of Jesus to St. Gertrude was - I found it there again last week and it knocked my socks off! - at the top of one of St. Therese's poems, where she'd written it out as a kind of epigraph! I'm so happy that Therese knew this saying too, and in fact was the one who told me about it!
Next I found (also in the last few days) a sweet book on Jesus' revelations to St. Gertrude. No, I'm not even going to tell you the title - it would only distract you from Marcel's Conversations (the book I'm always willing for you to buy another copy of!) and besides, you can trust me to give you the best part of the St. Gertrude book for free right here, right now, courtesy of Jesus' unfailing kindness.
Here, in fact, is the important message St. Gertrude has for us, or rather that Jesus has for us through St. Gertrude and her utter down-to-earthness. It seems that one day she was distressed "that she could not excite in her heart as ardent a desire as she wished for the glory of God." Sound familiar? Oh sure, she was smart enough to realize what she was missing and we're not usually quite so rightly oriented (when my prayer is going poorly, I usually start wondering what's for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, depending on the time of day, rather than mourning my lack of spiritual desire in prayer), but still, we can all relate to not feeling as ardent as we'd like or think we should.
In Gertrude's case, though, guess what happened next? She "received an assurance from Heaven that He is fully satisfied when anyone, unable for more, has at least the will to feel a strong desire; and that in His sight this desire will be counted as though it were as great as one wished it to be."
Isn't that fabulous news?
It's especially helpful right now, at the tail end of our novena to St. Therese, because she loved to repeat that we can never have too much confidence in God (i.e., expect too much) because He is so mighty and so merciful, and in fact He will give us as much as we hope for (that is, as much as we desire). This part about Him giving us as much as we hope for or desire is not super helpful news to us if our hopes and dreams and desires are small and few and not as robust (let alone immense and infinite) as our sister Therese's were - and again, if that's the case with your desires as well as mine and even St. Gertrude's, don't panic. Help is on the way (the little way). Because putting together the reassurance Jesus gave to Gertrude with Therese's teaching that God is sure to fulfill our desires (which teaching came from St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila, her holy parents in Carmel, so it's backed by 3 Doctors of the Church!), I've come up with a grand 11th hour plan for our novena. Are you ready?
Repeat after me:
"Jesus, I wish I had the desire of all the Saints for Your glory, for the triumph of Your Church over all evils, for the salvation of all souls on earth, especially those most lost, for the liberation of all souls in purgatory that they may fly immediately to You in Heaven, and for every other good thing I'm forgetting! Further, I wish I had the desire to be filled with Therese's confidence, and the desire for You to fill my soul and the souls of all those I love (and the souls of all those I don't love and all those I've never even heard of from the beginning of time until the end) with the absolute confidence and surrender that Therese wishes we had!"
How's that for an end-of-the-novena prayer!?
"Oh, and Jesus, please grant health, peace, joy, love, and salvation to all for whom I've promised to pray, all who have asked or will ask for my prayers, and all those who need my prayers. And then please don't forget to grant _______" (you can fill in that blank with any left out petitions, any especially dear to your heart, or just add: "everyone's requests in this novena!")
There. I think we've covered all our bases, or to use a more feasting type of image in preparation for tomorrow, I do think we've managed to frost the entire cake, and even give it a good dousing of sprinkles!
Do you know what I'm going to do now? I'm going to end this post with our simplest most wonderful prayer, and get it up in a jiffy so you can relax. All your prayers prayed and time left to take a nap! I could write more (forever, I want to say!) but I need to leave you time to read this before Our Big Day.
This will be the first Feast of Therese that we're celebrating together at Miss Marcel's Musings! What will happen? What kind of roses will our sister send us? I can't say - there are so many! So far I only know that today as I was preparing the post-that-poofed, I came across this little bit of joy to share with you now, I found it in an old book that had a description of the canonization process of Therese, and told:
"About this time [1912, as her process was being sent to Rome, the initial stages having been completed in Lisieux], the Servant of God [the future St. Therese but in 1912 merely "Servant of God" just like Marcel is these days!] announced to one of her privileged friends: 'I am about to let fall a torrent of roses.' Henceforth the heavenly rain descended in torrents, and that other promise to a client came true; 'No one will invoke me without obtaining an answer.'"
So . . . get out your umbrellas! I'm afraid I've set you up to be drenched! Ah, but what a delightful and life-giving water (rose water?)! Don't be afraid! I'm sure you have at least one or two sighs you can offer to Jesus in exchange for the roses He's given Therese to toss your way (given her to dump, really, as in truckloads, but "toss" sounds so much more elegant.)
And what a funny, dear Love is our Jesus, for all He asks in exchange is sighs! As He told Marcel (in Conversations, 387),
"What happiness for Me to be able to frolic in the midst of these sighs! I feel very much at ease and completely at peace . . ."
Those are words to cherish like relics! You see, you do have what He asks of you! With all the variety of sighs in your power (sighs of exhaustion, frustration, annoyance, exasperation - these may come most readily, or maybe I should speak for myself! but they are all easily and miraculously turned into sighs of love on their way to Jesus! not to mention sighs of relief that He is so pleased with you already - you don't need to change a thing!), it will be truly a feast day for Jesus as well as for Therese and for us!
And now, to keep my promise and send this post from my house and heart to yours, I must end. Technically, though, as I'm sending it from the home of some very dear friends (not from my own house), I ask Therese to pour out roses on them too, in thanks for their wifi and generosityI
But without another second of delay, here's our prayer and then be sure to smile your biggest smile - we're almost to October 1st, the day of roses!
Draw me, we shall run!
Ahn-train mwa, noo koo-roe(n) ah ta sweet!
Jesus, we love You a lot!
See you tomorrow! I can't wait!!!
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