It may have been the pictures. I love the pictures almost more than anything else on Miss Marcel's Musings, and after our previous post (the one below this one, in bizarre blog protocol), I just wasn't satisfied with the images I had chosen. Bernadette looked too stern, the grotto was too distant, and Our Lady looked to me, though lovely as always, not real enough after the photos that preceded her.
But then again it may have been my experience this morning in my bedroom, looking about and seeing Our Lady of Fatima watching over me, thanks to a statue it took me forever to find because (according to another Miss Marcel and she is right on the money), "You have to look at the face," and it took me a while to find a slightly smiling Our Lady of Fatima. And then Our Lady of Guadalupe was also casting a benevolent glance my way from her little statue (gift from a dear daughter of hers), but also Our Lady of Good Counsel from her picture on the wall. Yes, I do have a lot of images of our Heavenly Mother surrounding me, and I can't imagine having any fewer!
But with all these kind gazes converging on my own little self, it suddenly hit me, "I can't choose! How can I give up any of my dear Mother's images or appearances?" I realized that I wouldn't want Our Lady to stop appearing under different visages, in different places, at different times and to different people - because then we might think she'd stopped caring about us! And from her side, I see why she will likely never stop reaching out to the littlest among us through her apparitions and locutions - because how could a mother stop attending to her children, especially when they are (metaphorically and collectively) constantly tending to step out into the road without looking both ways?
As if to confirm this adorable truth of our loving Mother Mary's determination to always be there for us, in the middle of writing I was interrupted by a call from a friend in Rome. Delightful interruption! Next thing I knew, my friend was telling me of her visit with a religious sister in a green habit, a Missionary of Divine Revelation. Interesting in itself, but also mind-boggling because this order sprung from a vision of Our Lady in Rome, an appearance she made in 1947 to an anti-clerical Protestant who was on a mission to kill Pope Pius XII! (I merely copy the facts of the story, but desire to interject that this confused Bruno was absolutely and entirely different from every Protestant I've ever met!)
Our Lady, quite experienced in the field of apparitions, appeared first to Bruno's 3 children, who sank to their knees and murmured "Beautiful Lady! Beautiful Lady!" over and over. The occasion was an outing with their father Bruno, who at the time of the apparition had been reading his Bible (near the place of St. Paul's martyrdom, for they were visiting Rome) while the children played. but now he couldn't hear them. He found the children kneeling and praying with their simple admiring phrase, and it incensed him! He tried to stop their strange behavior, and when they didn't respond to him, Bruno tried to physically move them out of their kneeling posture, but found them like marble and impossible to move! At which point he - God fearing if deluded - cried out, "God save us!" And that was enough for Our Lady to appear to him too!
And here is where I just bow before her delicacy, for she appeared holding the Bible! What better way to show Bruno what was what! You can read the whole story if you google Missionaries of Divine Revelation, but I had to tell you part of it because Our Lady wants us to know she'll never give up on us!
I have such a sweet memory of my own mom coming into my bedroom to say goodnight to me before she and my dad went out somewhere. She was so beautiful, and the most wonderful floral scent wafted from her (L'air du Temps, her signature scent in those long ago days). Our Lady is just like that! She may have places to go, bringing Jesus to everyone on the planet, but she's always up for stopping in and giving us a kiss, while her odor of sanctity - her sheer loveliness - brings joy in her wake.
Wonderfully, today, February 13 (two days after Our Lady of Lourdes) is the anniversary of the reunion of our Our Lady and Lucia, the Fatima seer who lived nearly forever! On this day 15 years ago (in 2005, for those who don't like word problems), Lucia finally zipped off to Heaven to meet again her dear cousins Jacinta and Francisco. At last! It seems I must be counting wrong, though I'm using my fingers for the decades and counting it over and over, but I'd say it was almost 90 years since the three of them had together seen Our Lady! Now reunited, they must have had quite a party at her feet, or more likely in her arms, after long hugs with Our Lord!
It was Lucia's Memoirs that catapulted me into a new relationship with Our Lady in February of 2013, eight years after her entry into Heaven and no doubt the first chance she got to show me some of the wonders Our Lady had shown her on the 13th of various months from May to October of 1917. That shows the beauty of 13, and the reason Lucia must love this date of her future feast! I only know that when she introduced me to Jacinta and then Francisco seven years ago, it was a painless hop, skip, and jump from falling in love with them to falling in love with Our Lady of Fatima.
Still, I can't help but often shy away from this particular Our Lady these days, because it's hard to shake earlier misconceptions that she's scary - she does ask a lot, and I think the problem is that we don't see first, as the shepherd children did, that light coming from her hands which reveals the infinite love God has for us . . . When I remember that light and reflect on how those little ones learned of God's tender and eternal love for them, and when I hear the beautiful Lady's voice as an echo of that love, my heart is drawn to hers, rather than turning in on itself, afraid.
And then, too, we all have our associations with various Our Ladies, and my connection with Our Lady of Lourdes runs deep, even as my need for the most affirming of Our Ladies (or so she seems to me, Our Lady of Guadalupe) seems to increase daily . . . Not to mention my ever increasing need for Good Counsel!
So on second thought, I refuse to give up a single one of Our Lady's glorious and humble appearances!
And yet at the same time, it occurs to me that even among a collection of many beloveds, it's natural to have a favorite (even while we keep the others near, just not center stage), and my heart responds with the news that my latest favorite is not so hard to identify after all. She's one I haven't mentioned yet in these two Our Lady posts, but this morning, having appreciated all the many Marys who love me, it suddenly (she suddenly) dawned on me and my heart sang.
Are you ready? I said in the last post that I couldn't promise to be logical, though I would always tell you the truth. Well this second (or third?) thought is both logical and truthful, because the winner of the "Favorite Our Lady of Miss Marcel" is . . .
Our Lady of Marcel!!!
Granted she's not yet included in any Litany of titles of Our Lady that I know of (though we could make one up and that would be fun!), nonetheless, Our Lady of Marcel is certainly an authentic and reliable Our Lady along with the others because she did speak frequently with Marcel. And oh, how how unutterably gentle and compassionate she was to him and is to us! I did obliquely mention her the other day when I reported Jesus' reassurance to Marcel and us that he (and we) shouldn't worry because Mary was "happy with both of us." Only in Marcel's Conversations could we find such a charming admission from Our Lord!
To tell the many reasons Our Lady of Marcel is my favorite would take many posts, so I'll limit myself for now. Certainly the image at the top of this post says more than a thousand words could, with Marcel-Jesus sleeping so peacefully on our dear Mother . . . and if I try to express what I see in that photo, I'd say I think I love Our Lady of Marcel best because, as Marcel puts it in (253) of Conversations, "It is very easy to love you, Mary. You are happy with a simplicity of heart without demanding anything out of the ordinary."
How soothing, how comforting to little souls! I'm reminded of Therese's explanation of her way of spiritual childhood, in which she says that children when they get a little bigger are asked to work, and so she never wanted to grow up - even a little! - because she had no interest in working to gain her bread - she wanted to depend entirely on God for everything, like an infant depending on his parents, or like Our Lord recommends in the words of the Our Father where we simply ask Him for what we need.
Marcel goes on in that passage to speak of us, for he speaks of those he will teach to love Mary once he's in Heaven and knows all languages. And he paints another picture, as beautiful as the one above, when he explains, "It is in loving you that they [that is, us] will hear clearly Jesus' voice. Indeed, if they love you, you will carry them on your knees with little Jesus, you will shelter them with Him under your cloak so that they will hear everything He will say."
May you hear clearly Jesus' voice, both when you read Conversations (or our words from that book here) and when you love Mary. May she carry you on her knees with little Jesus and shelter you with Him under her cloak! Then you will hear everything He will say, and again, if you can't make out the words, try opening up Marcel's book and you will hear His voice and recognize it, like the sheep recognizes the voice of the Shepherd.
O Good Shepherd! Draw me, we will run!!!
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