This photo is very deceptive, because here is little Van dancing before a statue of Mary, but in reality he's now dancing with Therese and Little Jesus before the REAL Mary, his mother and ours!
You may think I'm jumping the gun, but I can't wait any longer to rejoice with you over our brother Marcel's 60 years in Heaven! And since I found the following wonderful quote in the Church's Manual of Indulgences (which makes for spectacular reading, by the way!), I've become not only intractable, intransigent, more determined than ever, and even obstinate about the onset of a Feast, I've also become much more fun! For what is more fun than a family Feast?
The quote which has done this happy work reads as follows:
"If a visit to a Church or an oratory is required to obtain an indulgence attached to a particular day, this may be accomplished from noon of the preceding day until midnight of the particular day."
Now doesn't that just sound like party-time to you?
I don't mean to imply there's a particular indulgence attached to July 10, but I do mean to say that it's time to indulge our joy because our little brother is THERE - with JESUS - at LAST!!!
They say Heaven can wait, but I don't believe it, and I can't wait either!
Sometimes Heaven must wait - our Father there knows exactly the right moment for everything, and consequently poor Jesus must continue on His obedient path of restraining His Limitless Love, though I bet if He had His way, He'd kiss us all right now with the Real Kiss and then - whoosh, the party in heaven would be The Party in heaven.
But no, I don't think the Father or the Holy Spirit are letting our Jesus win us entirely just yet. Though He's certainly won our little brother for good and keeps, and it was on this day (July 10 - and if you are further East in the time zones than I am, you might be there already! but if you're not there yet, just think "from noon the preceding day"!) - it was on this day 60 years ago that Jesus just had to give our Marcel that first real kiss that landed him in everlasting bliss. I don't know about you, but I'll say it again: I can't wait.
I will, though.
Wait, I mean.
Because like I said, the Father knows the perfect time for everything!
So now that it's the perfect time to rejoice, dance, sing, and thank the good God for Marcel, the second Therese, and the day upon which he finally got to really talk with Jesus, what shall we talk about?
First off, let me clarify. I don't mean to say that Marcel's Conversations with Jesus weren't real, but I came across something in them yesterday that delighted me - I can't be bothered with chapter and verse today (or rather with date, page, or parenthetical Marcel's-page-number), because it's a feast of the lowest order. Haha, I was going to say of the highest order, but stopped myself in time, because technically, a feast of the highest order would be a solemnity. And I'd say since our darling Marcel isn't yet beyond "Servant of God," his feast must, for the nonce, be lower than the lowest official type feast, which is an optional memorial I think, so we'll have to call his day "a very optional memorial," don't you think? And isn't that fitting for least of flowers along the Little Way?
But back to the delightful (if unreferenced) passage. Jesus was saying to our little brother that someday Marcel really would get to go to Heaven. And then, Jesus said, then they could really talk. Isn't that marvelous? And He said Marcel would be able to say everything! I love it, because I don't know about you, but my conversations with Jesus fall into two categories -
Those which consist of my trying to converse with Him, and then I start thinking about what I might eat next
Those which consist of my reading Conversations, and then things go much better, and if I read more than two paragraphs, Jesus usually tells me that's enough, I'm tired, time to go to bed!
It's really all good! All a grace, as Therese said, even though sometimes (often?) mingled with degout. No, that's not a new French dish, but just plain old blah-de-blah. Still, with food and sleep to look forward to, I count my blessings!
Getting back, though, to the whole question of conversations and real talk, I have something so funny to tell you!
Just today for the very, very first time, I realized that St. Therese's Last Conversations (that her sisters wrote down for the last several months of her life - every word!) has the word Conversations in the title - just like Marcel's book Conversations! And if that isn't funny enough (first that they have the same name, and second that I never noticed til now), how about this for the coup de grace, or the icing on the cupcake:
St. Therese's Last Conversations were most definitely not really her last conversations, since even before she started talking to Marcel she insisted on "coming down" as she foretold, and chatting it up with all kinds of people!! I just love that!
When all this occurred to me earlier today, I made myself roar with laughter (interiorly, of course, as I try not to scare those in my immediate vicinity with too many private - as in really private, just me getting the punch line - jokes!). And what was so very, very funny?
Well when I realized that Therese's last words were not her last words by a long shot, and in fact her last conversations were not her last conversations at all because she keeps talking and talking and talking (like Marcel and Jesus, which is why I adore them so!), I thought, "Now isn't that just like a woman!"
Ha! I'm allowed to say it because I'm a woman too!
Not to change the subject, but I forgot to mention cupcakes when I was vividly painting the happy portrait of our celebratory feast. Just keep in mind that was a terrible oversight, and they're included too!
But back to Therese and Marcel, and their Convos.
What I love is that in both cases, both books (her Last Conversations and his Conversations) have dated entries, which means (I am incorrigible!) more anniversaries!!
Yesterday (July 8), was, then, the anniversary of a GREAT saying of Therese. A real doozy that explains so much of life. And the lovely part is that I didn't just see it yesterday - I found these words of hers about a month ago and I've been waiting for yesterday ever since, so I could celebrate the day she said this . . .
On July 8, 1897, Therese said to her sister Pauline (Mother Agnes of Jesus): "In heaven, I shall obtain many graces for those who did good to me. For my little Mother, everything. You won't even be able to make use of them all, there will be so many for you to enjoy!"
(And here I think of Fran Renda, who recently joined Marcel in heaven!
And I think of Jack Keogan, who recently turned 88 and continues to brighten every heavenly and earthly day by doing good for Therese through his work of spreading Marcel's books around the globe.
And I think of Fr. Olivier, Marcel's postulator, working at his task of spreading Marcel's good news, a task which he fits into the spaces left in his life after a full day of Benedictine ora et labora (that's prayer and work) for the Church.
And oh! Smack dab between Marcel's day and Sts. Louis and Zelie's will be St. Benedict's! Holy Father St. Benedict, bless Fr. Olivier and all who share your name!
If we muse on that quote for a minute though (you know, the one that said, "In heaven, I shall obtain many graces for those who did good to me. For my little Mother, everything. You won't even be able to make use of them all, there will be so many for you to enjoy," perhaps you're thinking, "Well that's all pretty thrilling for Mother Agnes, and even Marcel and Fran and Jack and Fr. Olivier, but what about me?
I hope you are NOT thinking that, but if you are, we can work with it.
For today, July 9, Therese said more - and I take these next words as the tenderly solicitous answer to our fears that perhaps her words weren't meant to apply to anyone but Pauline, who did even then work so very hard for her.
Ever on the lookout to stem to the tide of our fears, though, she went on to say, "Sister Genevieve" (this was her sister Celine, much more ordinary and unimpressive than Mother Agnes) "will need me. However, I will come back."
Oh my stars! You have to love it!
And if you don't believe it even yet, well you simply have to go to Lisieux. There you will see, as we did, the very stones praising God reflected in this little maiden! For there in the enormous Basilica, the beautiful Basilica, the teaching Basilica, you would see the words up in the dome, the HUGE dome: our sister's own words, "I will let fall from heaven a shower of roses." But again, lest that leave you imagining her keeping her distance, around the dome in the ceiling are these four cool triangles (forgive my pathetic description; I do what I can!) which each have a picture and some words. And the words say: "I will aid priests," and "I will aid missionaries," and "I will aid the whole Church," and then - can you guess? My favorite: "I will come down!"
And you know what? She did come down - to little Van who became little Marcel who became the second St. Therese, that's how very much she didn't forget her promises!
I may seem to be talking more about the sister than the brother, but you know it's all their doing. Ah, Marcel, you would happily remain the hidden apostle of love, now that you've discovered your vocation. I even teased your postulator about this - perhaps you don't want to become BIG and famous like your erstwhile little sister Therese!? Don't worry, he just laughed and refused to worry. (Quite right of him, and showed he's been reading Conversations too!) He's not afraid because he knows how captivating you are. Who doesn't love a little child? But no more hiding today Marcel - maybe someone new is visiting here who can take this chance to get to know what beautiful things Jesus did in your life! So here, to make up for all this blog can't say (not enough time, and as I've mentioned before, not enough room on the internet to say all we could and would like to say about Vietnam's little flower) - here is a link to the incomparable Jack Keogan's website, and in particular, to the page there with a MOVIE!
Yes, for our feast, a movie! What could be more fun? Nothing I can think of, and I do like fun! Here, then, will be our link, right after we repeat our novena prayer and our signature prayer. And remember, no excuses, it's a quite optional feast on July 10th, and I'm praying you'll do it justice by smiling, laughing, and kissing little Jesus with Marcel and me! Oh, and don't forget the cupcakes too!
Now for our novena prayer:
Along the road you have traveled,
We follow in your footsteps,
Forever committed to our sacrifice,
No matter the hardship.
Ardent peaceful blood pumps through our hearts,
With the life force that you left us.
You are no more, but you will remain forever among us.
Dear Marcel, please intercede with our Heavenly Father for Karl and his family, and for Jack and his family, and for all of us and our families and our intentions! Thank you, little brother, and please kiss Jesus and Mary and Joseph and Therese for us too!!!
and our other novena prayer (leading up to July 12, Sts. Louis and Zelie) -
Saints Louis and Zélie Martin,
after having had the desire for religious life,
you heard the Lord's call to the vocation of marriage.
You are the "incomparable parents"
of whom your daughter St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus speaks...
You love us as your own children, with the heart of a father and the heart of a mother, because you are the friends of God, and the parents of our sister, St. Therese.
Listen to our prayer and our requests
and intercede for us with God our Heavenly Father,
through Little Jesus,
in the grace of the Holy Spirit who is Love!
Draw me, little Jesus . . . we will run!!!!
+ + +
I would say we've earned a movie and a cupcake, wouldn't you?
Click on the title below, click again when you get there, and enjoy!
HIDDEN APOSTLE OF LOVE
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