I've titled this post "One More Thing" because our main focus will be one more (very main) thing, but before we get to that, can I just say how much I LOVE (love, love, love, love, love, ad infinitum, which means it goes on forever and I sure hope it does) writing about Marcel? Oh I do, I do, I do, I do, I do! Et cetera! So we take this moment to thank our sponsor, Almighty God, for creating us (that would be me and Marcel, and you, dear reader) and for letting us (me and Marcel) write about Him to our heart's content so that you (that clearly is simply you!) can get to know us (and especially Marcel and Jesus) better. What a gift! What a joy! What a foretaste of Heaven!
I have this awkward habit of introducing people to each other. I mean people who already know each other. I did it again today, visiting the campus of Thomas Aquinas College where my husband teaches and where I first fell in love with Jesus when we were students (my husband and I, not Jesus!). There we were at lunch and I was sitting between a freshmen girl and a senior girl, and I asked if they knew each other, wanting to introduce them. They did know each other, so once again I was unneeded in my capacity as cruise director, but I like that better than failing to introduce people who don't know each other. I tell you this because when I say that this joy of writing about Marcel is a foretaste of Heaven, it occurs to me that Heaven will be hilarious - me constantly interrupting the Beatific Vision to make sure and introduce everyone to Marcel and Marcel to everyone! But we'll all know each other then, so I guess I'll be the only one there still dependent on my guardian angel, who will be forever trying to calm me down (and get me to stop introducing Marcel).
Speaking of introducing Marcel, I was delighted to receive 2 emails from women who have happily just met Marcel thanks to the piece on Catholic Exchange the other day. Woohoo! I bet there were at least 2 or even 4 more who met Marcel there and didn't have the time or courage to write me about it. This is the Little Way at its finest! I had to laugh that the title of the piece (and I'll make this clickable in case you haven't seen it yet) became: Marcel Van, the Littlest Redemptorist. I had titled it merely The Littlest Redemptorist, thinking that this would arouse curiosity and get more readers. The editor is much brighter than I am and knew that if he added Marcel Van to the heading, although readers wouldn't have to dive in to know who the littlest Redemptorist is, they could also, at a later date, find the article by googling Marcel Van. Brilliant! My hope is that those who already know Marcel, those who are just meeting him for the first time, and those who may want to learn more in the future will be thrilled that I keep introducing him!
But now, for one more thing. The one more thing, that is. The main thing, really, and the reason for the title of this post. No more preliminaries, except those that lead directly to it . . .
I've mentioned before on this blog that I've written a book on St. Therese (as of today, unpublished; feel free to say a prayer that it finds its publisher and brings great spiritual joy to many), and I may have mentioned too that the book is about St. Therese's Act of Oblation to Merciful Love.
We've been talking here lately about Fr. Michael Gaitley's book 33 Days to Morning Glory, because this is the preparation time for making a Marian consecration on December 8. Did you know that he has another book called 33 Days to Merciful Love? This second book is about making Therese's Act of Oblation to Merciful Love. St. Therese had offered herself as a victim to God's Merciful Love on June 9, 1895 (Trinity Sunday), and again along with her sister Celine (Sister Genevieve) two days later on June 11, 1895. She then invited their sister Marie of the Sacred Heart to make the offering, and eventually invited the novice Marie of the Trinity to make it too.
Why am I bringing this up now? Because as we prepare to offer ourselves, all we are and all we have, to Jesus through Mary, we have to reconcile ourselves to giving her all our merits. (For those of us who've been traveling this Little Way for a long time, we may have no problem giving Mary all our merits, and all our baggage too when it comes down to it, since we know that the former is a light burden and the latter a heavy one!) I sent you in the last post to an article I'd written on Catholic Exchange on Giving Everything to Mary (you can click the title and read it now if you missed it yesterday), and then I added in that previous post a couple more ideas on why this giving absolutely everything to Mary is such a good idea.
Well, wouldn't you know I forgot something? It's related to giving Mary everything, and it's related to Therese and the Act of Oblation to Merciful Love, and it's related to Marcel! I can't imagine anything more pertinent to our musings, so now that I'm remembering, we'll give it a go (the one more thing, and my telling it to you).
It's like this: Speaking to God, St. Therese explains in the second paragraph of her Act of Oblation:
"Since You loved me so much as to give me Your only Son as my Savior and my Spouse, the infinite treasures of His merits are mine. I offer them to You with gladness . . ."
It struck me that we'd be mighty silly to worry about hanging on to our own piddly, measly merits when we, too, having Jesus as our Spouse, possess all His infinite merits!
Imagine you have 50 cents in your pocket (or 1 Euro). You're walking down the street with your mom, and she sees someone she knows getting on a bus. The person is fumbling for the fare, can't find it, looks to be worried about being thrown off the bus, and your mom asks you, "Can I have your money, dear?" She's going to give it to the person on the bus, and take care of that pesky fare.
Oh! I forgot to mention that in the bank you have billions of dollars. If you're a child, let's say you inherited it from a rich uncle. If you're an adult, let's say you're married to a billionaire and naturally (since your spouse is a really nice billionaire) you have a joint bank account.
Besides being the kind thing to do even if you weren't wealthy, now that we know you are wealthy, doesn't it only make sense that you'd surrender your 50 cents to Mom without the least sigh of regret? Thanks to your mom's perception of her friend's dilemma and need, and her knowledge of your 50 cents, you've been able to do a very sweet act of mercy, even though that 50 cents (or 1 Euro) wasn't your widow's mite after all.
I'm sure you know what I'm getting at, but let me spell it out.
Since we, like Therese, can claim Jesus as our Spouse, His infinite merits are ours! We too can offer these gladly to the Father (my goodness! That's a little more merits than even we need!), and then why should we cling to our own small store of merits when they, in their turn, can be useful to Our Lady and her clients worldwide?
If we skip a bunch of paragraphs of the Act of Oblation (which include some of my favorite paragraphs, but we'll let that go for now), we find Therese teaching us to add the following words to our conversation with God:
"In the evening of this life, I shall appear before You with empty hands, for I do not ask You, Lord, to count my works. All our Justice is stained in Your eyes. I wish, then, to be clothed in Your own Justice and to receive from Your Love the eternal possession of Yourself. I want no other Throne, no other Crown but You, my Beloved!"
My stars, what inspiration possessed our dear sister when she composed these words? How magnificent that she thought of everything, put it all into one prayer, and we can just repeat after her. The part that especially wins my admiration now? "I wish, then, to be clothed in Your own Justice and to receive from Your Love the eternal possession of Yourself."
I don't really know what is left to say except, "Here they are, Mary! All my merits, past, present, and future. Help yourself! I won't be needing them, I'm planning to be clothed in Jesus!"
He is truly everything to Therese, and to us too. Which makes it a touch ironic that I'm referring to Jesus as "one more thing," but hey, He's meek and humble; I'm sure He won't mind this familiarity in our talk about Him as long as we don't forget to talk about Him!
Speaking of forgetting always reminds me of Marcel, and he's been waiting eagerly for me to get to the part of this post where I talk about his contribution.
I may have mentioned here before that in a stunningly tender manifestation of Divine Love, the day I got my first copy of Marcel's Conversations in the mailbox was the very day I'd finished my Therese book about her Act of Oblation (and in particular, about one specific petition in her Act, a petition that has the power to change the world, one soul and one tabernacle at a time).
As the two years have passed since that happy day, as I've immersed myself repeatedly in Conversations, I've seen more and more passages that reflect beautifully on Therese's Act of Oblation. Marcel wasn't sure how to make this Act, so he asked his sister Therese to make it for him. Since she invented it, as it were, she was the perfect one to make sure he made it and made it right, but without any undue labor on his part, thus leaving no room for him to worry about doing it correctly. This is the Little Way, after all!
In one of my favorite passages (okay, sure, one of about 77 favorite passages, but still, it counts), Marcel asks Jesus what it is to be a Victim of Love.
Jesus says: "They are victims who, through love, offer themselves to Love. These victims leave to Love complete liberty to accomplish His desires in them but of themselves, they do nothing to expend themselves; it is Love, that is to say the Holy Spirit who acts spontaneously in them . . . " (565)
At other times, Jesus reminds Marcel that he's already given Him everything. When did Marcel give Jesus everything? As we give everything to Him through Mary when we consecrate ourselves to her, so too Marcel and Therese gave everything to Him when they consecrated themselves to Divine Mercy, or in other words, offered themselves to Merciful Love.
Time and time again, Jesus refers to bits and pieces of the Act of Oblation, and His words carry the Divine Authority that is His special charism. In another of my 77 favorite passages, Marcel wants to know if every soul can claim Jesus as its Spouse. Our Lord is very clear. The short answer is YES!
If you'd like to acquaint yourself with Therese's Act of Oblation, you can click HERE and find it at the bottom of my Favorite Prayers page (you'll need to scroll down, and good luck getting past all the favorite prayers that come before it! They're lovely, though not as lovely as the pictures gracing the right side of the page). What's fabulous about this Act is that Therese begged Jesus to cast His Divine Glance upon a great number of little souls, and she begged Him to choose a legion of little Victims for His Love. At her canonization, Pope Pius XI repeated this prayer to Jesus. For the record, I must add that I have every hope that you - yes, you, reading this now! - are among that number!
But whether or not you've seen the Act before, formally made it, or understood what it contains, I'm confident that the infinite treasures of Jesus' merits is already yours. You are His Spouse, little soul! Which is one more reason to give your own merits to Mary. You've got enough to do to offer Jesus' to the Father. What an embarrassment of riches!
These are a lot of big thoughts for such little souls as we are. Let's end with a prayer, and trust everything to Jesus through Mary. But first, a gratitude list.
Thanks, little Therese, for your Act.
Thanks, little Marcel, for your great idea that we ask Therese to make it for us!
And thank You, Heavenly Father, for creating us to delight Your Beloved Son!
Draw me, we will run!
Little Jesus, come with us!
Little Jesus, we love you a lot!
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.