"We know St. Teresa's love and devotion to St. Joseph, whom she called the great teacher of prayer. And rightly so, for who can teach us to speak and listen to Jesus better than St. Joseph who lived and conversed with Him? God Himself commands us to go to Joseph and do all that he will say to us."
-Mother Aloysius of the Blessed Sacrament (Feb. 18, 1880 - April 16, 1961)
"Mental prayer in my opinion is nothing else than an intimate sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with Him who we know loves us." - St. Teresa of Jesus of Avila
"You pay God a compliment by asking great things of Him." - St. Teresa, Doctor of Prayer
"Because of this assiduous familiarity with God, it is said that something radiant seemed to shine on her face that caused wonder and joy in everyone." - Pope St. Paul VI
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Last time we spoke, we were starting a novena to our little brother, Servant of God Marcel Van, to end on the vigil of the feast of Blessed Carlo Acutis. I wrote, "I am praying especially for the passing of the bar (doesn't that sound fun too?) by a dear in-law of mine, so let's add today: St. Thomas More, pray for us!"
Thanks so much for joining me in prayer - which you've done again just by reading, "St Thomas More, pray for us!" And guess what? Your prayers are so powerful that the nephew in law in question DID pass the bar, and he found out (much to the joy of his wife and 6 children and whole extended family) on the very feast of dear Carlo this past week! Praise God, and may He be blessed in His angels and in His saints!
Just by the by, since we didn't get around to posting on Blessed Carlo's day, October 12, I need to mention that a friend sent me a photo of Carlo, whom he had just visited in Assisi while visiting, too, good St. Francis.
A photo? How in the world....?
Well, it goes like this: in preparation for his beatification, Carlo's body was exhumed and found to be incorrupt, so on October 1, 2020 (feast of our Little Flower Therese), the powers that be kindly put this beautiful young man, wearing his usual teen outfit of a sweat suit and tennis shoes, where we could all see him and glory in God's power. Usually 15 year olds who die of leukemia don't look quite this good 14 years later!
So thanks, Carlo and Marcel, and you who have prayed with us last week and/or right now as you read! God is so good, and as St. Therese teaches us, He is "so mighty and so merciful, we obtain from Him as much as we hope for." So not only, as the first woman Doctor, our Holy Mother Teresa said, do we pay a big compliment to God when we ask for a lot, but equally delightful, He answers our prayers and gives us a lot!
Which brings me, happily, to our latest novena! Yes, they are absolutely addicting because who doesn't love gaining great favors and treats from our loving Heavenly Father? And how can He resist these adorable children of His whom we know as the Saints, and who, thankfully, love us so much they can't help but persistently intercede for us when we invoke them even a little?
It turns out that if we had started a novena yesterday, on the Vigil of St. Teresa (the Big Teresa, our saint of today, who hails from Spain and reformed the Carmelites thus accidentally becoming something of a foundress of the Discalced Carmelites) it would end on the feast of Pope St. John Paul II . . . and lest you fear that we didn't start a novena yesterday, I'm here to tell you that there's nothing more fun than to double up the prayers on the first day of a novena you've started one day late! Especially if the prayers are SHORT!
So . . . I remember several years ago asking Pope St. John Paul II to share with me his love of Mary, Our Blessed Mother, and his love of the Rosary. Wow, did he respond with great graces for me! This was in October of 2014, and before I knew what hit me, he had me and some friends doing the 33 Days to Morning Glory consecration to Our Lady (that was a blast! Please press "contact me" if you want me to do this again, perhaps on the blog this year, and we can do it together), then asking Padre Pio to be my spiritual father (and of course the good Padre said yes, but he also sent back the $5 I had sent in for a donation - what a cutie pie!), and finally he had me ask Padre Pio too for his love of the Rosary (and Mary) - and the consequence was that I really did begin to love the rosary like crazy!
So how about it? Let's ask St. John Paul II for his love of Mary and for the Rosary, and while we're at it, let's save him the trouble of getting Padre Pio involved by involving him ourselves from the outset, which is a day late and $5 short this year, but who's counting? If it's Jesus, we're in luck! Therese, our little sister and little Doctor explains that Jesus is very bad at math, always giving us more than we've earned or deserve!
And speaking of short, how can we keep our prayer short so as not to tire ourselves, each other, or God?
(Just kidding about tiring God! Especially on this day of Holy Mother Teresa we need to remember that He loves us so much, and nutter that He is, He loves to spend time with us always and listen to our stories for as long as we are able to chatter before falling safely asleep in His arms.)
For our sake, then, let's try this: first we'll say our prayer twice to make up for missing yesterday, then hopefully our guardian angels will help us say it every day till October 22nd, feast of our dear Papa John Paul II, and just 8 days away.
Novena Prayer to JPII:
Dear Holy Father, please obtain for us from our Heavenly Father the grace of your and Padre Pio's love for Mary and for the Rosary!
Padre Pio - you help get us this stuff too!
You can use your own words, and if you forget, let's blame our angels. Sure they've got their angelic hands full trying to keep us out of trouble, but we need some really huge graces to make life more fun (as well as their prevention of our driving off cliffs, literally or metaphorically).
Lest you think I'm making up this business of the necessity of fun (which the saints like to call joy, and I'm all for that too), listen to what St. Teresa of Jesus, Doctor, said in the Book of her Life:
"My soul was in a very bad way until the Lord gave it light. All its joys came in little sips; and once these were over, it never found any companionship, as it did later . . ." (Chapter 22, an amazing chapter in St. Teresa's autobiography, rivalling Chapter 12 which is also marvelous. "Read it but be careful - you might have a conversion! Like Edith!" as Carmelite Father Stephen Watson once warned me.)
Come on then, angels, please give us light to remember to say our prayer - or feel free to say it for us, and when you do please give big loud smacking kisses (like Therese used to request) to our dear Papa John Paul, our gentle giant Padre Pio, our dear sister and brother Therese and Marcel, and most of all to Jesus and Mary and Joseph! Oh, and to St. Thomas Aquinas, too!
That seems like plenty of praying and pleasantry for a feast, except that we'll go to Mass (don't forget to do that if you're reading this on a Sunday!), and if you need a little pick me up, here is the talk I gave recently on St. Thomas and St. Therese. I asked a lot of people to pray that the talk and the evening would go well, and thanks to modern technological advances, I have proof for you (of fun and joy and a lot of laughter) right here:
"The Dumb Ox, the Little Flower, and the Rest of Us" - a talk by Suzie Andres at St. Therese dorm, Thomas Aquinas College, on the feast of St. Therese, October 1, 2023
Draw me, we will run!
I've written books and articles and even a novel. Now it's time to try a blog! For more about me personally, go to the home page and you'll get the whole scoop! If you want to send me an email, feel free to click "Contact Me" below. To receive new posts, enter your email and click "Subscribe" below.