If you notice the date below the title above, or if you check this blog relentlessly for the good news (finally!) of a new post, you may be wondering if I'm a day late here...But let me assure you that after pondering the timeless nature of this blog, the eternal excellence of Marcel's (and Therese's) message (which is really simply the eternal truth of the Gospel), I've decided not to let a little thing like time-as-we-know-it stop me from presenting to you our Valentine Message.
Above you will see not-exactly-Marcel, but a Vietnamese boy very like him, dressed in traditional Tet (Feb. 1st) garb and holding a letter for you. It's a love letter of course!
In Marcel's Conversations we read that little Jesus was sleeping and leaving the chatting to Marcel, Therese, and our dear Mother Mary during the early months of 1946, starting His divine silence after a short conversation with Marcel on January 2nd. At about (241) Jesus says:
"I continue to smile on you and to give you kisses . . . So, Marcel, be joyful and say again to me: 'Little Jesus, I love you. O little Jesus, come with me.' I love you very much, Marcel. I am very happy with you and when I see you joyful, I am happier still."
Ah, I love that prayer! "O petit Jesu, viens avec moi!" And then to know that He is kissing us, smiling upon us, happy with us, and even happier when He sees us joyful! This is a new message to me every day, and the reason I never get tired of Marcel (perish the thought!) and his wonderful Conversations with Jesus, Mary, and Therese.
Well, to finish up this thought before starting another (finish up, that is, this thought of Jesus' sleeping, which began soon after these last reassuring words I've quoted), I should add that Marcel had the idea that Jesus would sleep until Tet, February 1st. In fact Jesus slept longer, and Marcel was such a brave little brick about it! In my world if Jesus sleeps longer than a day, I'm rudely waking Him up. I'd like to tell Him that I will offer up His silence (don't worry, it is not audible messages I'm missing, but just His little kisses), but frankly I'm just too little!
But what exactly is "Tet"? Good thing we have the internet to answer all our deepest questions! (Okay, just kidding - it's good for answering our shallow questions; for the deep ones, turn to our Mother the Church!)
Tet is the Vietnamese New Year, and like all New Year's Days the world over, a day of celebration, but in particular in Vietnam, their most important holiday festival! I just discovered that the date changes from year to year - so in 1946 Tet was on February 1st, and this year it was February 5th. No wonder I got a special heart in the mail, inscribed with our signature prayer on one side (Draw me, we will run!!!) and another line from Song of Songs on the other. I had thought it was an early Valentine, but it was for Tet!
This explains too why my husband made some hilarious remark, just pre-Valentine's Day, about me giving him cash for our American holiday. Cash? How perplexing. But now I get it! On Tet, the adults give red envelopes with cash in them to the children in exchange for New Year greetings! Silly husband! I am not really the grown-up around here! No wonder it worked the other way! (He did not give me cash, but rather roses and the like, as is our U.S. custom for Feb. 14th).
And that explains too why our faux-Marcel in the photo above looks so happy with his red envelope!
Our own Marcel (the real one) never had much money (received or to give), so he gave and continues to give us words and kisses, wishes that little Jesus will kiss us too, and prayers to that effect. How wonderful! How much better than plain old money!
And did I tell you that Tet is celebrated for a few days up to even a week? I say let's stretch it this year to 10 days, to encompass today! Happy Tet! Since Jesus is always making everything new, let's have another Happy New Year now, in honor of Marcel and Vietnam and miracles every day!
Here is a miracle that came to me last night, which explains also why the Holy Spirit prevented my posting Valentine's greetings of love and more love on The Day itself. I needed the extra bit of info to share with you too.
Did you know that P.G. Wodehouse, funniest writer ever, sweet lamb, good egg, and darling ducky of Bertie and Jeeves fame (that is, he wrote of them, and frequently) died . . . Well, you may know he died, although with St. Therese we prefer to say "entered eternal life," and I found out last night that was in 1975 . . . but did you know Plum died/entered real life on February 14th?
How delightful! How fitting! I don't think our good Pelham had much clue about the fullness of truth, but the part of truth revealed to him was certainly immortalized in his kindness to others and his ability to make us laugh! Late last night I started reading the beginning of a sort-of-memoir he wrote called "Over Seventy" (published in the U.S. as "I Like America"), and I was laughing and smiling until it almost hurt - but not quite, because PGW never hurts, He, like Jesus (though in an infinitely lesser though still treasured way), only heals!
Well Plum (the name his dear ones called him), I am asking Marcel to give you a big, loud kiss today! He (Marcel) was already in heaven long before you got there - okay, 16 years before, which was just about half his earthly life, though a fraction of yours! - so I'm letting my prayers and requests work outside earthly time (since they're meant for heavenly greetings) and trusting he gave you the tour straight off, 44 years ago yesterday. I like to think that anyone (you especially) who has brought so much innocent joy to so many can be nowhere else than reaping a very blissful eternal reward. It's like the line they forgot to put in the Bible, in Matthew 25. "When, Lord, did I make You smile and laugh?" "My beloved child, when you did it to one of the least of my brothers, you did it to Me!"
Meanwhile, we have St. Claude de Colombiere's feast today. If you didn't know, don't blame yourself - it's not on the universal Church calendar that I could see, but it is his feast nonetheless. He was St. Margaret Mary's spiritual director (her bearded Jesus, if you will), her very essential link to Jesus, so you can imagine he had a lot to do with spreading devotion to the Sacred Heart as revealed to St. Marge. Hooray! Another way to continue our celebration of Love! Isn't that fitting too? That Jesus would give us a feast of the herald of His Sacred Heart the very day after we've had our greetings of "Will you be mine?" He is waiting for us to be His too! Or actually, I don't think He's waiting - I think He knows He already has us! Double and triple Hooray!
I want to close this post with a special Tet/Valentine greeting to one of my favorite people in the world . . . I was reminded of him on the Vigil of Valentine's Day when I did something unusual for me. I tore myself away from Conversations long enough to pick up Marcel's Correspondence and read several pages (that I wanted to transcribe here, but for now time does not allow) - and they shot me over the moon with love! (I did get back home by Valentine's Day, thankfully.) And I realized, once again, that I would be a Sad Suzie, rather than a Merry Miss Marcel if it weren't for the many years of "hard labor" (which, since it was a labor of love, I pray were years of more mirth than even a whole library of Plum's works could produce) put in by another certain British gentleman who certainly should be knighted for his service to the realm and to the world.
Do you know who I mean?
None other than Marcel's little brother, the peerless Jack Keogan.
I don't mean that "peerless" to be any slur on his blue-or-other-blood, but rather I mean "unrivalled, unequalled" - for he certainly is unrivalled and unequalled in his gift of love to us, the four volumes of Marcel in such sterling, readable, priceless-above-pearls-English-prose (with the occasional poem thrown in for good measure). So here goes my Valentine/Tet message across the pond.
Thank you again and again for translating Marcel's oeuvre into English for us! We would be so sad without your gift of our dear brother's words in a language we can understand. We hope your every day contains much more than earthly roses and red envelopes of cash - may your every day contain Jesus, our True Love, His (and our) dear Mother Mary, and those darling imps: the first and second Therese(s). God bless and keep you and all those dear to you, and may this New Year be full of even more blessings and consolation than last!
with all our love,
Marcel's English language readers :)
And now, lest another day fly by without sending my message of love to you, dear reader, let's pray, and then raise a glass (of strong tea, hot cocoa, or your favorite drink of choice) to the New Year!
Draw me, we will run!
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