Happy 95th Birthday, Marcel!
"'You have taught me from my youth, O God, and until now I will declare Your wonderful works. And until old age and gray hairs, Oh God, forsake me not.' What will this old age be fore me? It seems this could be right now, for two thousand years are not more in the Lord's eyes than are twenty years, than even a single day." - St. Therese, the first Little Flower (from Story of a Soul)
My goodness, our favorite brother and sister are getting old! Or they would be, had they not departed for heaven when they were young . . . This year on January 2nd we celebrated the 150th birthday of St. Therese, and here we are with her little brother Marcel, and he is 95 today! The remarkable thing about this is to realize that although he went to heaven in 1959, aged 31, if he had stayed on earth he would be only 95 today! What a wild and wonderful thought! Why just the other day my husband and I spent the day with a dear friend who is 95 . . . and to think that would be Marcel too!
So Marcel, dear brother, here's to you - and I see roses and presents which I can only imagine are from you to us, since you're in need of no such party favors where you are in Light and Love . . . and I have a very good idea what is in at least one of those boxes. I think you want to give us the Little Way today, because you've been knocking on my door in the middle of the night, not to ask and receive, but so that you could give and give and give!
Last night (or perhaps this morning, in the wee small hours) I opened Conversations and read from April 9, 1946, about the vision you had of Jesus, dear little brother. You wrote:
"Then I suddenly saw a cross appear beside little Jesus. At the top of the cross a piece of cloth was suspended on which was printed the Face of Jesus. Little Jesus looked at me with a joyful expression, then, showing me the cross He said to me, 'Little brother, here is your portion of the inheritance, here is the portion of the inheritance of the children. Do you see it clearly?' Then little Jesus, indicating Himself added, 'Little brother, here is the elevator which will allow you to take possession of this inheritance, and it will also be the same for the children. Do you understand? This is the way your sister Therese has led you up till now, after having followed it herself. Little brother, tell that to the children.'"
I know this way, it is the Little Way! And since Jesus is the Way, little Jesus must be the Little Way!
You tell us, Marcel, in your Autobiography, about being led by Therese, when you write in these words to Jesus:
"You have aroused in my mind the desire to become a saint. Then You made me find in a very simple manner the little way by which You guided St. Therese of the Infant Jesus. In short, You have used the hand of this little saint to write for the use of souls the sweet counsels to which You have led her on her little way. Today, I know that You love me, and that in Your immense love You behave towards me as with a little child. Oh, how You deserve to be loved in return!" (577)
Thank you, dear Marcel, for letting Jesus use your hand, too, to write for the use of souls the sweet counsels of the little way! But what did our sister say that showed you Jesus and His way? She did not see Him in a vision as you did, and yet she, the littlest Doctor of the Church, could tell us with certainty what she had experienced, and you are like an echo of her heart. She wrote:
"I have always wanted to be a saint. Alas! I have always noticed that when I compared myself to the saints, there is between them and me the same difference that exists between a mountain whose summit is lost in the clouds and the obscure grain of sand trampled underfoot by passers-by. Instead of becoming discouraged, I said to myself: God cannot inspire unrealizable desires. I can, then, in spite of my littleness, aspire to holiness. It is impossible for me to grow up, and so I must bear with myself such as I am with all my imperfections. But I want to seek out a means of going to heaven by a little way, a way that is very straight, very short, and totally new.
"We are living now in an age of inventions, and we no longer have to take the trouble of climbing stairs, for, in the homes of the rich, an elevator has replaced these very successfully. I wanted to find an elevator which would raise me to Jesus, for I am too small to climb the rough stairway of perfection. I searched, then, in the Scriptures for some sign of this elevator, the object of my desires, and I read these words coming from the mouth of Eternal Wisdom: 'Whoever is a LITTLE ONE, let him come to me.' And so I succeeded. I felt I had found what I was looking for. But wanting to know, O my God, what You would do to the the very little one who answered Your call, I continued my search and this is what I discovered:
'As one whom a mother caresses, so will I comfort you; you shall be carried at the breasts, and upon the knees they shall caress you.'
"Ah! never did words more tender and more melodious come to give joy to my soul. The elevator which must raise me to heaven is Your arms, O Jesus! And for this I had no need to grow up, but rather I had to remain little and become this more and more." (Story of a Soul, Ms C, Chapter X)
Here we have your word, Marcel, with Jesus in your sight. Then we have Therese's word, with Scripture in her hands. And then . . . may I have a word?
Being a bear of very little brain and so forgetful (just like you, dear brother), I was entirely moved, as if for the first time, by a passage in Isaiah yesterday. And then it began to dawn on me, this passage wasn't entirely unfamiliar. It had moved me just so the day before! Ah, the eternal newness of Scripture and Jesus' message! Today I at least remembered it from the get go, but since the third time is the charm (for the Trinity!), here is my third day of Isaiah 63, 7-9, and it makes the third testimony to our elevator. What a charming Little Way for sure!
Our passage is a dialogue, beginning with our lines, then switching over to our Divine Lover's:
The favors of the Lord I will recall, the glorious deeds of the Lord, because of all He has done for us; for He is good to the house of Israel, He has favored us according to His mercy and His great kindness.
He said: "They are indeed my people, children who are not disloyal." So He became their Savior in their every affliction. It was not a messenger or an angel, but He Himself Who saved them. Because of His love and pity, He redeemed them Himself, lifting them and carrying them all the days of old.
* * *
Marcel, if ever anyone has shown us in all the particulars, in each tiny detail day by day, how He became our Savior in every affliction, how He Himself saved us, how because of His love and pity He came down and lifted us and carried us - oh Marcel, I am saying "us" but you have shown us it is true by showing how He did each of these things for you in your little life on earth. You are the one who has shown us, just like our sister St. Therese did before you!
And so we owe you much, dear brother, and on this birthday we do what birthdays inspire us to do best: We thank God for you!
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for giving Your Beloved Son Jesus to Your beloved son Marcel!
Thank You, Jesus, dear Spouse of our souls, for giving us Marcel as Your little secretary. Thank You for carrying him through all the vicissitudes of his 31 year life on earth and escorting him to Heaven when You finally gave him that first real kiss. Thank You for lifting him to Yourself, and showing us through his words that You desire to lift us too!
Thank You Holy Spirit of Love for teaching Marcel the Little Way through our sister, the angelic Therese, and yet not resting content with her experience, but filling his heart with Yourself that he could be another apostle for us children . . . and yet assuring us through him, as through Therese, as through Your own Inspired Word of Scripture, that finally it is Jesus Who is embracing us in all these words and teachings, that it is Jesus Himself who is the One Word of the Father, a Word which comforts and consoles, and then becomes Flesh to love us in Person, to be with us as we are, to show us all the way to the Cross this depth of Love from the Trinity . . . and remain with us in the Blessed Sacrament to continue to embrace and carry us!
Marcel, do shower us with roses on your birthday! Help Therese to cover the world with these roses, and especially all those we pray for through the intercession of St. Joseph, in these days leading to his feast. Oh, and don't stop teaching us the Little Way. You know we forget all the time, so we need your constant companionship to make us laugh, take ourselves more lightly, and look at Jesus, standing before us with open arms, ready to embrace us and press His lips to our faces.
Hooray for birthdays! Hooray for Marcel! Hooray for Jesus!
Draw me, we will run!!!
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