From where I sit (on the East Coast for a too-short visit), All Saints Day is ending, and All Souls Day about to begin. But I know that elsewhere (westward, where I usually am) it is still the Feast of All Saints, while traveling toward our friends in the British Isles, Europe, and Africa (in other words, eastward), we find All Souls Day already begun.
I take the Heavenly Liberty, the liberty of bilocation if you want to call it that, of being in All Saints Day a titch longer then. It's so hard to leave this glorious feast, even as I look forward to doing my part tomorrow to release all of purgatory to join Heaven's ranks . . .
What shall I say, then, while I still have the chance to celebrate our known and unknown brothers and sisters who see the loving Face of God?
Marcel would have me quote our favorite sister, little Therese, in one of our (many) favorites passages among those recorded by Mother Agnes (our sister Pauline) when Therese was preparing to enter eternal life.
Our little dying Carmelite said, on her deathbed, some hilarious things, and some prophetic things, and many simply remarkable and memorable things, and we are so grateful they were transcribed by Pauline, Celine, the Maries (of the Sacred Heart, of the Trinity, and of the Eucharist) and later published as her Last Conversations. Though I love this book and frequently search its pages, I have to smile that 99% of the time I am totally unaware that it has nearly the same title as the second Therese's (i.e. Marcel's) book - my Book of books - Conversations.
Be that as it may, I woke this morning with a desire to share with you a very particular passage from Therese's Last Conversations, and so I began to transcribe it asap. Alas, life intervened and delayed my progress, but hooray, now I can finish copying out the passage for you at last.
Here, then, is a gift to you from Marcel and Miss Marcel, in thanksgiving for all the Saints, and in cahoots with our own particular sister-Saint, little Therese. Our gift (Therese's really) is a thought worth musing over, and we hope and pray you will realize its implications. Since it's gotten late, we won't leave these implications a mystery for you to solve, but tell you our hope:
You, dear one, can be the little spark that lights the fire of Love in the heart of a great Saint, or even many great Saints!
Marcel and I love to increase the glory and joy of our brothers and sisters the great saints (and the small too) by saying the short but powerful prayer we presented earlier this week. We're then confident that we'll be told, on the Last Day when all is revealed, that we were the cause of Therese's holiness, as well as the holiness of many other of our saintly siblings!
We've finished our two triple novenas, but the prayers we said or read for the last 50 days (as well as the fruits of these prayers) will be with us forever. Here, then, is the last of those prayers we introduced, presented now as the icing on the cake, or rather the bow tying up our gift to the Saints, even as we await their gifts to us (the answers to our petitions for our needs in these novenas).
Merciful Father, in the name of our gentle Jesus, the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph and all the Saints, we beg You to enkindle every one of our sisters and brothers with Your Spirit of Love and to grant them the favor of making You loved very much.
And now that we've prayed this innocent looking but so powerful prayer together, let me show you what trouble I've gotten you into! Here is the passage I've been waiting all day to share with you, in which St. Therese paints a vivid picture of our meddlesome part in the Communion of all the Saints!
Pauline (Mother Agnes) records this "Last Conversation" from July 15th:
She told me about the following, the memory of which was the source of a great grace to her:
"Sister Marie of the Eucharist wanted to light the candles for a procession; she had no matches; however, seeing the little lamp which was burning in the front of the relics, she approached it. Alas, it was half out; there remained only a feeble glimmer on its blackened wick. She succeeded in lighting her candle from it, and with this candle, she lighted those of the whole community. It was, therefore, the half-extinguished little lamp which had produced all these beautiful flames which, in their turn, could produce an infinity of others and even light the whole universe. Nevertheless, it would always be the little lamp which would be first cause of all this light. How could the beautiful flames boast of having produced this fire, when they themselves were lighted with such a small spark?
"It is the same with the Communion of Saints. Very often, without our knowing it, the graces and lights that we receive are due to a hidden soul, for God wills that the Saints communicate grace to each other through prayer with great love, with a love much greater than that of a family, and even the most perfect family on earth. How often have I thought that I may owe all the graces I've received to the prayers of a person who begged them from God for me, and whom I shall know only in heaven.
"Yes, a very little spark will be capable of giving birth to great lights in the Church, like the Doctors and Martyrs, who will undoubtedly be higher in heaven than the spark; but how could anyone think that their glory will not become his?
"In heaven, we shall not meet with indifferent glances, because all the elect will discover that they owe to each other the graces that merited the crown for them."
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Praise God with me for the marvelous assembly of our brothers and sisters the Saints, and the joy and love with which they regard us from their places already before Him! May they bring us, every one, to their company, and meanwhile may they answer all your so-far-unanswered prayers!
I must admit that I'm charmed by Therese's "half-extinguished little lamp which had produced all these beautiful flames which, in their turn, could produce an infinity of others and even light the whole universe."
I know two such half-extinguished little lamps - or three, or four, or five, come to think of it. These are dear friends, heroes of mine, who seem swamped in suffering, yet their faith, and hope, and charity (all of which seem to them more than half-extinguished) are being used by our dear Jesus at this very moment to produce beautiful flames in erstwhile cold hearts . . . using them, in other words, to save souls on earth and liberate those in purgatory.
Do not be afraid, little half-extinguished lamps. We are in this together, and together not only with each other, but with the whole Communion of the Saints-in-Heaven too! May they intercede for us, obtain the answers to our hearts' deepest longings, and fill us and those we love (especially those we love who are suffering) with inescapable peace and joy!
Jesus, we trust in You!
And for those who can only say it but don't feel it, no matter - we know You are God, You are all good, all-powerful, and You love us (even when we can't see or feel it)!
Jesus, we trust in You!
DRAW ME, WE WILL RUN!!!
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