I've been trying to write this post since May 1st, St. Joseph's day. Well, maybe "trying" is too strong a word. How about "desiring"?
I'm hoping today is the day . . . and I've decided to say that whenever I get this up (and whenever you see it, which I realize might not be the instant I post it), let's call it St. Joseph's day! After all, we can honor dear and good St. Joseph any and every day - and St. Andre Bessette, the wonderful Holy Cross doorkeeper in Montreal, builder of St. Joseph's Oratory and the one who fired me with love for St. Joseph this past May 1st in the wee hours, encourages us to do just that: to celebrate, turn to, and rely upon our dear friend and father St. Joseph every single moment. So here goes!
I've been saying a novena to little St. Therese. I started with 3 big intentions, but before I knew it (as usual) the novena list had expanded. Why waste all those potential miracles? The novena was set to end just in time for April 29th, which I discovered, after I'd begun my 9 days, was the 95th anniversary of our sister's beatification. That was a lovely surprise indeed, but just to be fair I gave Therese until May 1st, St. Joseph's day, since I kept piling on the requests.
Oh my heavens! When St. Joseph's day came, I read some inspiring stuff about St. Andre's love and dependence on him, and I realized I should make this a double whammy novena. So I'm continuing it through the octave of St. Joseph's feast, and I've added in one extra very special request - that St. Therese and St. Joseph grant great blessings to all who read Miss Marcel's Musings and/or this post! Miracles unlimited, just waiting for the recipient to stand under Therese's (and Marcel's) shower of roses! Here, step forward just a smidge - perfect! You are poised to have heavenly rose petals raining down upon your sweet head!
I spoke to a friend last night, my East Coast Miss Marcel. She figures into one of the original 3 novena requests, and she had great news. About the time the novena originally ended, the request I'd made for her was granted. Well, granted a little. Now I'm busy telling Therese and Marcel and Joseph that we are grateful for the sign - but no more joking around! They have access to God's infinite Love and unending compassion, so I'd like to see some really BIG roses, if they can just stop horsing around for a minute. This is what I get for giving Therese an inch (and a few extra days) - she can't help teasing! No wonder she and Marcel get along so well!
But while we wait for the serious outpouring of graces, I may as well entertain you by telling you what I read from Brother Andre that got me so fired up. It was in an ebook (which I found on amazon) called "Go to St. Joseph: Do whatever he tells you," by Brian Kiczek. There are lots of wonderful things in this book, but here is what Brother Andre said that I loved the most, and that reminded me of Marcel and Jesus:
"When praying, one speaks to God as one speaks to a friend,"
"When you say to God, Our Father, He has His ear right next to your lips. There is so little distance between heaven and earth that God always hears us. Nothing but a thin veil separates us from God."
"When you invoke Saint Joseph, you don't have to speak much. You know your Father in heaven knows what you need; well, so does His friend Saint Joseph . . . Tell him, 'If you were in my place, Saint Joseph, what would you do? Well pray for this on my behalf.'"
Have you heard that saying, "The proof is in the pudding"? Well St. Andre's pudding was full of miracles. He was a thaumaturgist, a very cool thing to be because it means a miracle worker. Of course it's God who does all the miracles really, but this is a word that applies to those for whom He very regularly does those miracles at their request.
St. Andre's job for a zillion or so years (he lived to be quite old, as you can imagine) was to be the doorkeeper at Notre Dame College in Montreal. He didn't have much education, his health wasn't good, and this was the humble task his superiors assigned him. Forever.
Perfect! A doorkeeper doesn't just open the door randomly - he opens it for the people who want to come in. And if he's a really lovable and loving doorkeeper, soon people want to come in to talk to him while he's holding the door open! This is what happened, and the crowds got bigger and the people more interested in seeing him as the news spread that all you had to do was ask him to pray for you and WHAM! Miracles unlimited!
The author of this ebook quotes Cardinal Turcotte saying of St. Andre, "He was convinced that God could use him to accomplish wonderful things." And then Brain K. goes on to say, "We should be just as convinced that God can use us to accomplish wonderful things, especially if we 'Go to Joseph.'" Because St. Andre had a particular BFF, and that very bestest friend was St. Joseph. Like any good thaumaturgist, Andre knew he had no power - his weakness was his strength, attracting the love of God and the love of God's foster father, and clearly, after all, you only had to depend on THEM to get the job done! For his part, he quipped, "When I joined this community, the superiors showed me the door, and I remained for forty years." I love it!
But back to our proverb. It turns out (thank you, Google) that the original of "The proof is in the pudding" is actually "The proof of the pudding is in the eating." This means we have to taste and see for ourselves that the Lord is good. St. Andre's pudding (which is really St. Joseph's pudding, because Andre turned to St. Joseph with all requests brought to him) is full of miracles - and so is Therese's pudding. In order to prove it, though, we've got to try it ourselves.
As usual, there's so much more I want to say. About the Saints and their nearness to us and to Jesus; about how He uses them (and how they love to be used!) to show His own more-than-nearness to us. Oh, if only I could tell you what I've learned from Marcel!
I will content myself with telling you this:
When I first read Story of a Soul when I was about 20, I was struck by the tender intimacy St. Therese had with Jesus. This love that I'd hoped to have with Him - I saw in this book that such love was possible because here it was in action!
Thirty years later when I first read Conversations, Marcel showed me that Therese's close relationship with Jesus was not only imitable but even surpassable! She and he and Jesus all give the same condition. We need only be weaker than Therese. I can do that! Okay, then we need to surrender to Jesus - that seems more of a challenge, but what do we have to lose?
In the end (and at the beginning and in the middle, for that matter) whether we are weak or strong, we are called to this same intimacy - Jesus is longing for us to be as close to Him as St. Joseph and Our Blessed Mother were to Him when the three of them lived together in Bethlehem, Egypt, and Nazareth. Marcel had that kind of closeness to Him - you see it in Conversations on every page, and I can never get enough of the encouragement that gives us.
Are you ready? This is the umpteenth intention I'm adding to my novena, and I'm sure Therese and Marcel and St. Joseph will obtain if for me, because it is God's greatest desire (and He is God, so He gets what He wants) - May you be drawn into Jesus' embrace so intimately that the two of you never let each other go!
And now while you're there, so close to Jesus' Sacred Heart, whisper to Him everything you need. He's so mighty and so merciful, you will obtain from Him as much as you hope for!
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If you, like me, can't get enough of Marcel, you will be delighted (like I am!) to know that he appeared at Our Sunday Visitor this week in a wonderful article by Jim Graves HERE. May our Heavenly Father rain down roses on Jim's head too!
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