We're so used to St. Therese of Lisieux (aka, St. Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face, or as she's known here at Miss Marcel's Musings, Marcel's big sister) being called The Little Flower that it's a delight to discover Jesus called Marcel, too, His Little Flower. This makes perfect sense because Jesus told Marcel he would be "a second Therese," but did you know - get ready . . . are you sitting down? - that Jesus calls us His little flowers too?
Since I'm always forgetting just about everything, I quickly, easily, and frequently forget the many particular wonderful things that Jesus tells Marcel. And yes, I am in danger of getting a big head over this talent of mine, because Jesus is so clear (and says quite as quickly, easily, and frequently as I forget) that our forgetfulness, our weakness, our littleness is no deterrent to Him, but rather like an irresistible magnet (I don't know if He says we're like magnets - I kinda made that one up because it's so true). But luckily, the one thing I keep remembering is that Jesus told Marcel that every word He speaks to Marcel, every word that Marcel writes in their Conversations, is meant 100% for us too! Wowza! I love, love, love that! Because it means that when I've forgotten everything (which happens on a daily if not hourly basis), then I need only open this wonderful book to be reminded of exactly what Jesus is trying to tell me.
Yesterday was a doozy. I mean the day was fine, but I realized when I was about to go to sleep at night that I had forgotten one of Jesus' most important messages to me. I won't go into details now - I've got a book all ready to go to press, a book about this important message which I believe is for everyone of us just like Marcel's messages, but it's making its way in the world at this very moment, knocking on publisher's doors (one knock at a time, then a long wait, then a yay or nay which so far has been nay but soon will by yay we hope), so we'll wait until Jesus is ready to tell the world about that one. Meanwhile, in my own little private Idaho (and I must tell you my great Ida-ho story someday), it is only important to let you know that once again, in perfect accord with my most brilliant talent, I forgot. All day long I forgot.
So I told Jesus I was sorry and a silly, and we gave each other kisses, and I went to sleep. When I woke this morning, amazingly enough (miracles do happen!), I remembered to remember first thing what I'd forgotten until last thing yesterday. And then I remembered too, after we gave each other kisses, to ask Jesus to give me something in Marcel to read. Because thankfully the one thing I do remember is that I'll find His words to me there. Thank you, guardian angel!
Knowing there are many pages in Conversations, I wondered this morning where to begin. I have this recurring problem that I'm forever putting bookmarks (photos, receipts, holy cards, any old place marker) into the specialest pages of my specialest book - but then these pages that I want so very much to remember tend to be the only places I open to, when in fact there are so many other pages waiting for me to re-read them. Ah, what adorable problems! We talk about "first world problems" and lately I've heard the expression "champagne problems." (I doubt I'm in a different tax bracket than you, dear reader, yet I really have worried lately about which groomer is the right one for Hamlet, our standard poodle. Wow, even to me that sounds over the top! Forgive me if my "champagne problems" make me sound like I'm dripping with diamonds . . . most of my diamonds are actually cubic zirconia, I promise.)
Well, the whole point is that I think my problem of "which page in Marcel to read first?" needs a new problem category - we'll call it the "embarrassment of riches" category. Though I have all 4 of Marcel's book (thank you, Jack Keogan, Les Amis de Van, CD, and amazon for making them so readily available to us HERE), I don't fret about which to open of a morning or evening (or midday). Hands down Conversations is my favorite. Again, knowing that every word is from Jesus to me - that puts it right up there just below Sacred Scripture. Okay, in this case "just below" means infinitely below, but nonetheless closer than any other book . . .
I won't keep you in suspense a moment longer, though. This morning when faced with my E.o.R. problem ("Embarrassment of Riches" problem, but conveniently acronymized to sound like Eeyore), I immediately thought, "page 33." The nice thing about living in the land of littleness is one does not need to pause and ask, "From whence that thought? Heaven or somewhere not so trustworthy?" Nah, just my imagination, and since every page is fabulous, why not page 33? Has a holy ring to it, and sure enough - whammo, it turns out to be quite something! How I keep being surprised by the continuously exquisite quality of Jesus' words to Marcel (and the spectacularly simple, down to earth words of Marcel to Jesus) is just as much of a mystery as anything. Except, I almost forgot - I have my forgetfulness to thank for these constantly new surprises!
Some stuff, honestly, I have no excuse for forgetting. Certain images ought, I submit, to be so surprising on the first read that one never can quite erase them. For instance - here I'm wanting to get you to page 34 (or, rather, 10 November 1945, since your edition might be numbered differently), but I think, "No, I'd better tell about page 33 - (79) in Marcel's numbering - because that's important too." Then I peek at the bottom of the previous page to see where we are, I mean context-wise, and find Marcel beginning to tell of a vision he had. For the most part, as far as I can figure, Marcel hears Therese and Jesus and Mary, but "visions" properly speaking are not as frequent. Here, though, he explains to Fr. Boucher, "My Father, on that day (the feast of Christ the King), I saw Jesus seated a little bent with a sad face . . ."
So far so good. I mean I don't like that Jesus is sad, and we'll read on to see what we can do to make Him happy again, but there is nothing here to totally arrest the attention. (Reading it, that is. I'm sure if we saw what Marcel did, we'd be quite attentive!) And yet, here is the image I'm thinking should have remained emblazoned on my soul, it's so very Marcel. To whom but Marcel would Jesus appear thus? " . . . and with some earphones on His ears."
Okay, I'm falling in love with this book all over again. Earphones on His ears? And I forgot this? Such is the weakness of my memory, but reading it again, it's hard to take myself too seriously. I can't imagine Jesus wants us to be entirely somber today, either, or why would He have given us this image? We will need the sweetness of His humor, because what comes next is more poignant. Still, I console myself that here, too, Marcel shines out in his darling simplicity:
"Then voices were heard in the languages of different countries, even Vietnamese as I recounted earlier. When it was France's turn, Jesus spoke for a very long time so that I have forgotten everything and I was unable to remember it, whatever it was. It is only on the day when you, Father, asked me to pray for France that it came back to my memory, and that Jesus reminded me in asking me to speak to you about it.
"My Father, when the voices were silent Jesus spoke to me. He was still seated, His head bent forward, a hand supporting His chin and the other placed on His chest, and He had a preoccupied air. I suddenly heard a man's voice addressing Him in French in a very insulting tone. (That is all I was able to understand.) At that very moment the Virgin Mary was also present, not ceasing to look at Jesus in a very sad manner. I then heard, coming from another side, a voice also speaking French and which was comforting Jesus. But this very weak voice was drowned out by the hurtful voice.
"I then saw a quantity of large parcels which were returned to the sender. They bore these words: 'Parcels of sufferings which no one accepted.' And the Blessed Virgin, without stopping, had to untie all of these parcels. I saw then that Jesus turned to the side from where the words of love were coming . . . then, little by little, flowers also began to arrive and then the hurtful words addressed to Jesus diminished imperceptibly. As for the flowers, Jesus took them and sent them somewhere, and I never saw them again. I then heard other voices whose sweetness made Jesus forget His sadness, as He had Himself told me earlier. The Blessed Virgin had dispatched all the parcels of sufferings . . . And the words of love became more and more numerous and clear. Of the voices that I heard, the majority came from little souls which repeated, above all, words of this kind (it is possible I may make a mistake in writing them): 'Dear Jesus, kiss me! Dear Jesus, I love you.' At each of these words Jesus showed a very great joy; and a luminous ray of light escaped from His lips towards the place where the words came from . . .
"This vision lasted for about ten minutes. Until that time Jesus had never yet spoken to me about France, but the other day, when you advised me to pray for France, Jesus reminded me of what He had told me and He asked me to tell you all that I have just heard." (80)
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Today Jesus is asking us to pray for Ireland. His dear and beloved Ireland is voting on killing babies. So often Jesus tells Marcel (as do Mary and Therese) that prayer really makes a difference! Pray with me now, won't you?
"O Jesus, give everyone in Ireland Your sweet kisses! Whether they go to vote for or against the babies, kiss them repeatedly so they don't even know what they're doing, but in Your embrace, may they vote for life, for joy, for children! May there be not only victory for Your Love, but resounding victory! Let this country of Your Heart remain a bastion of safety for the little ones. We have so often failed in every way, but do not abandon us to our own designs! May Your infinite Mercy prevail, in Ireland and all over the world, especially today. We love You, Jesus! Give us Your kisses and never stop!"
Perhaps when you read this post, the dye will be cast. Well it is all temporary, removable markers rather than Sharpie's while we're yet in this life. The permanent tattoos only happen on the Last Day when we are sheep or goats forever (and how I pray we may all be the littlest sheep held in the arms of the Good Shepherd). For now, if the dye has been cast in blackened hues, don't worry even about that. We will simply keep praying and let Jesus fix it soon. If the dye is cast in more vivid and warming hues, in the colors of life and love, then hooray! Jesus can do anything, and we thank Him for whatever He does or allows here.
But what of the Little Flowers of Jesus' love?
We saw some flowers already - "Little souls which repeat, above all, words of this kind: Dear Jesus, kiss me! Dear Jesus, I love You!" And I think Marcel says, "It is possible I may make a mistake in writing these words of love" because he suspects we may have other words on our lips, though their meaning is the same. Sometimes, being little flowers, we don't remember to ask Jesus to kiss us but say instead, "Help!" or "Jesus, I trust in You!" or "Thank You, Jesus, for not letting me hit that pedestrian!" (I live where there are many walkers. It is lovely, and inspires many prayers of this kind.)
But Jesus has much more to say about His Little Flowers . . . and I will only preface His words of November 10, 1945 with the important explanation He gave to Marcel less than a week earlier, on November 4, the explanation I find so crucial and (praise God) so memorable:
"All the words that I have spoken to you from the beginning until the last one I speak to you in the future - know that it is not to you alone that I am speaking, but to all souls. You see by this that I communicate with all of them. And if, like you, they are sincere in their relationship with Me, then I am speaking also to them. It is not necessary that you understand this. Do not be afraid, therefore, if later somebody say that I spoke only to you . . . " (59)
Finally, then, I'm ready (and I hope you are too) for Jesus words on His little flower(s). Not just to St. Therese, not just to Marcel, but for each of us too. If you've read this far, it's a thousand to one that you'll see your face in the flowers that come next.
Jesus: My little flower, write today only that which follows . . . For the very delicate flowers, a mild wind is enough to flatten them to the ground, and in their powerlessness how will they be able to get their petals to stand up again? They must wait for the gardener to come and lift them up . . . My little flower: you should know that I love these delicate flowers more than the others. I am always close to them, to caress them and support them; and if they happen to fall, they cannot fall anywhere but into My hand and there, no matter what they do, it is impossible for them to escape the kiss from My lips. And even if at this time the mud that sticks to the flower should soil My lips, I would not hesitate to lean forward to give this kiss to this frail flower of My love.
Marcel: And I, dear Jesus, to what category of flower do I belong?
Jesus: You, My child, you know that I always call you by the name of little flower. You, therefore, belong to the category of my little flowers and, in fact, you are a very fragile little flower; the slightest breath of wind is enough to make you fall at My feet. That is why I dare not depart from you. Is that not to your advantage? It is precisely because of your weakness that you are, on My part, the object of a greater love and that My lips are always ready to cover you with kisses. But you are very weak, so weak that you cannot even put up with My kisses. My little flower, remember always that you must never be sad because of your weakness. And no matter how great your weakness may be, be tranquil always, believing that My love would never have the heart to separate itself from you, My little flower. (82)
Ah, Love! You know we will forget, but I love what You tell us to always remember: that we must never be sad because of our weakness! No matter how great our weakness may be, You bid us be tranquil always - no doubt with the peace that You alone can give us - believing that Your love will never have the heart to separate itself from us. Even when we separate ourselves from You, how compassionate You are to ensure we always fall right back into Your wounded hand, the hand that never ceases to hold us, to caress us, to embrace us, to protect us from not only the bitter winds, but even from ourselves.
Jesus, if today You allow your delicate little flower Ireland to be flattened, we trust that You will help her get her petals up again. Meanwhile, hold her close to Your Sacred Heart, and keep her children safe there too.
If I could write forever, I'd keep transcribing the words Marcel has transcribed. Others may think the work has been done, but what fun would life be for Jesus' little secretaries if they didn't keep writing? And so, if I could, next I would type for you the marvelous paragraph in which Marcel (following Jesus' passage above) demands that Jesus provide the song that he (Marcel) must sing at the little novitiate entertainment.
I haven't watched every part of both Marcel Movies yet, but I did get to see the full recording of Fr. Boucher's interview (nearly an hour long). My heavens! What love! What charm! What it is to see a saint talking about another saint, and both of them so near to us!
One of the most delightful moments is Fr. Boucher telling about Marcel's demanding this song from Jesus. I almost prefer to hear Bearded Jesus tell it - he gets so much joy from his protege's cheekiness! My favorite Marcel lines (okay, I can't be pinned down from one day to the next, but ONE of my favorite lines at least) is told by Fr. Boucher (and translated by Jack Keogan, I think, in the subtitles on the DVD) -- when our inimitable little brother says to Jesus, "Take it or leave it!" I can only add: Would that we all so boldly laid down the law for The Law!!
Jesus did write the requested song for Marcel, and Fr. Boucher calls it a perfect summary of Therese's Little Way. I kept rewinding the movie so I could copy out Father's summary of the song and tell it to you. Well actually I planned to remember it, but we know how futile that is, so why not share it now instead? I love that I can go back to these posts and rediscover here, too, what Jesus is saying to us.
Fr. Boucher summed up Jesus' song which sums up the Little Way thus:
"Perfection consists in this: Love, trust, surrender."
There, I couldn't remember where I put the paper I wrote it down on, so I'm remembering it after all! Love, trust, surrender.
Jesus, I love You a lot!
Jesus I trust in You!
Jesus, You are wearing earphones? I surrender! You and Marcel are the most delightful pair known in all of history - recorded and pre-recorded (pun intended)!!
And if you look back to the top of this ramble, you will find yourself, delicate little flower, in the hand of Our Lady, and she is offering you to little Jesus on her lap. There is no safer place to be, and they will never drop you, so be tranquil always, Little Flower!
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