On this great Good Friday: Litany of Sacred Heart, Divine Mercy Novena begins, Padre Pio loves us, and Jesus gives us Mother Mary!!!
Stop me if you've heard this one.... Or rather join us, because this is really cool!
Archbishop Gomez will lead the Litany of the Sacred Heart at 9 am CA time and noon East Coast time (and somewhere in the middle, in the middle!).
This article gives the links for FB and Youtube for praying along with our Archbishop and the whole country...doing this (praying the Sacred Heart Litany), we can gain a plenary indulgence for ourselves or the poor souls - and that would include someone who died without the sacraments in the pandemic.
Here is another really awesome article that a dear friend sent me (she said she wasn't a big fan of Padre Pio - he is/was scary! - but she listened to part of my Talk on Padre Pio and Therese - and now she likes him a lot!). This article is about the Blessed Sacrament and the Sacred Heart (and Mother Teresa! and Padre Pio! though it is not a long article...)
As if that weren't enough, this kind and generous friend sent this amazing article which brings to mind our asking Padre Pio to heal my father in law, Paul (of cancer) and our young friend Damien Cooper, whose cancer has just returned, but JESUS WE TRUST IN YOU!!!
Today begins the Divine Mercy Chaplet - I can't remember a time when we all, collectively, had so much in common to pray for! May Jesus have mercy and give us back Himself in the Sacraments, especially the Most Blessed Sacrament! Here is today's prayer to start the Novena:
Jesus said: "Today bring to me all mankind, especially all sinners, and immerse them in the ocean of my mercy. In this way you will console me in the bitter grief into which the loss of souls plunges me."
Most merciful Jesus, whose very nature it is to have compassion on us to forgive us, do not look upon our sins, but upon our trust which we place in Your infinite goodness. Receive us all into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart, and never let us escape from it. We beg this of You by Your love which unites You to the Father and the Holy Spirit. Eternal Father, turn Your Merciful gaze upon all mankind and especially upon poor sinners, all enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion show us Your Mercy, that we may praise the infinite power of Your Mercy, forever and forever. Amen.
Divine Mercy Chaplet . . .
* * *
Here is a link to a PDF of THE WHOLE NOVENA - although I always say the prayers for the day before the Divine Mercy Chaplet (and this one advises you to say the Chaplet, then the prayers) . . .
But now Marcel says don't quibble, get to the really good stuff I've got for you! He won't let me close this post, you see, without sharing the beautiful words of Jesus to him (recorded in Conversations) on this very special day of Good Friday - the day when Jesus gave us Mother Mary as our very own Mother forever! Today is the famous day-of-the-socks for Marcel and Jesus (Marcel is wearing socks at Jesus' express command, but they are uncomfortable and so he repeatedly asks to take them off, while Our Lord continuously explains it is a good little sacrifice, since He has our brother wear them for his health - which reminds me of our Slight Inconveniences and Great Deprivation - but all according to His wisdom and in union with His suffering).
On Good Friday, 1946 (which was in that year on April 19), Our Savior explained to Marcel and to us:
"Your little sacrifices are very pleasing to me. You still will have to suffer a lot, but don't worry. Remember today is the anniversary of the day when I gave you to my Mother Mary so that you might be her true child; it is also the day when I gave Mary to you to be your true Mother. Finding myself in the presence of my Mother, I suffered with joy. At that moment, when all the creatures of the world seemed to have abandoned me, only my Mother remained to comfort me. Even God the Father seemed to wish no longer to look at me; but my Mother Mary did not cease to look at me until the time when I escaped from suffering. Oh! Little one, Mary is your real Mother as well as mine. When she sees you suffer, she is closer to you to console you, for all time until you, too, will have escaped all suffering. Mary, you are the true Mother of Marcel, the real Mother of all souls; never be far from your children . . .
"Mary is your true Mother, and you are really her child. Always think of her; she understands you better than you understand yourself. She knows your sufferings, she is always close to you, carrying you unceasingly in her arms and covering you with kisses . . ." (Conversations, 481)
Dear Mother, may we rest in your arms today as we do our very little best to fast, to be with Jesus, to receive your love and kisses. Help us to pray as Therese teaches us, following the words of Wisdom in the Song of Songs:
Draw me, we will run!!!
And Mother Mary, do please take this holiest day as a perfect day to answer (by God's grace and power) all of our prayers, especially for those who are sick, those who are afraid, those who need courage, and those who suffer in any way - ah, and for our priests!
Jesus, King of Love, we trust in Your merciful goodness!!!
Lately I've been laughing with family and friends over the question of my supposedly prolific writing. Or in other words, my gift of an excess of words!
When asked, "How do you write so much?" I've been giving the stock answer (true, as well as fun) that I type fast and I don't think - my secret recipe for writing copiously. But this morning, our sweet Jesus has given me another answer which brings tears to my eyes, for in all our moods He is with us and near us, and His tenderness knows no limits.
Here is the passage in Marcel's Conversations which explains more theologically just how it is that I write so many words (the reason that might be more illuminating than my typing speed and ability to write pages and pages without a thought in my happy little head!). I have been delighted with this passage for some time now, and you'll know why when I transcribe it for you now. It is Jesus' own commentary (in answer to Marcel's wonderfully simple question) on our Act of Oblation to Merciful Love -the very subject of our new book, Something New with St. Therese: Her Eucharistic Miracle (which you can read even before reading another word of this post, by clicking on the pdf, or mobi - for kindle - or ebpub file above in the typewriter area of this page).
As I say, I love this passage and Jesus' words to us through Marcel, words by which He explains our Offering to Love, but as with any particular passage in Conversations, despite the dozens of bookmarks I have to set off favorite entries, I never can find anything without St. Anthony's help! I was so touched, then, when Jesus Himself assisted me this morning as I started my own conversation with Him. He it was who guided my hand to open, accidentally as it were, to this very passage! Jesus is speaking to Marcel and answering our little brother's question: "So little Jesus, tell me what 'Victim of Love' means." To which Jesus replies (on April 30, 1946):
"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 . . . What I have just said to you is sufficiently clear. You already feel tired, little one. Go and rest. Besides, it is time. Go in peace and rest."
So you see, I do nothing to expend myself! It's really that simple! Having offered myself to Love with Therese by reciting with her the Act of Oblation to the Merciful Love of the Good God which you can find HERE (you can click HERE and scroll down the page to her Act which is the last prayer listed - and feel free the enjoy the other lovely prayers and pictures along the way!), I am confident that the Holy Spirit uses my natural Chatty Cathy-ness to spew (Don't worry! These days from behind a mask if we're in public!) words of love just everywhere!
Incidentally, the Chatty Cathy reference is no slur on the sweet Cathys in my life, but rather a reference to a doll, and a nickname my mom gave me as a little girl . . . Something along the lines of, "Well aren't you a Chatty Cathy today," if I'm remembering rightly. Ah, the wonders of the Internet! Do let's redeem it by using it, this world wide web, to bring laughter to ourselves and others . . . for after all these years, I've discovered just now (for instance), thanks to crazy find-anything-on-google technology, that Chatty Cathy, a 60's doll who spoke when her ring was pulled, said wonderful things! Not just, "Let's play house!" but finally and foremost, "I LOVE YOU!" You can see for yourself HERE as long as you promise to come back and finish reading our Musings (and promise to that you'll skip any obnoxious adds that get tacked onto the beginning of the commercial), because we don't want you to miss the wondrous surprise that comes next! Though first, the Chatty Cathy tagline you won't want to miss - my very favorite part of the whole Chatty Cathy comparison (and I'm smiling and laughing to think of my mom giving me this too-appropriate nickname): toward the end of the commercial, the narrator advises: "Just pull the ring: You never know what she'll say next!"
Honestly I never know what I'll say next either! We just have to pray the Holy Spirit and my guardian angel are the ones supplying the words, and again, I'm confident that (usually) they are . . . because I trust Jesus' words to us both in the Gospel and in Conversations. I can't think of two more reliable witnesses and little secretaries than St. John the beloved Apostle and Evangelist, and our little Marcel. On this day of love, this Feast of Love - the very day of the Institution of the Eucharist and the Priesthood to perpetuate the Sacrament of Love - St. John gives us the incomparable chapters of his gospel (John 14-17) on which to meditate and chew, beginning with the greatest words (for me and Marcel) in history:
LET NOT YOUR HEARTS BE TROUBLED . . .
But don't let me start commenting on these words and what follows from Our Spouse's sacred and beautiful lips and Heart, or this blog post will be simply a transcription of those chapters! That would be wonderful indeed, but then I wouldn't have time to tell you the confirmation and gift we received for you today while setting up this post . . . And that we can't miss telling!
Possibly the most fun I have (in life and when setting up a new blog post) is in choosing the pictures that will top the page. Did you like me-as-Miss-Marcel with my birthday cake in the last post? I can't believe how cute I am! But today is even better, and the Holy Spirit being one to breathe where He wills, and St. Therese always being in such a rush to make us love God as she loves Him . . . well almost instantly when I wanted to share Jesus' love with you in this post (the one you're reading now, whenever now happens to be, though I'm writing on the morning of Holy Thursday, the day of Love), I found the picture at the top of our post. It was one image among dozens that popped up when I put into google "archives lisieux carmel holy cards" and then clicked on "Images" under the search bar. Talk about redeeming the Internet! The Lisieux Carmel (Therese's Carmel) has most of their archives online now, in English! Happy Holy Thursday!
And so, I saw the double image above, and my heart melted, and I quickly imported it here to share with you. But amidst my joy and importing, I read the Carmel's explanations for this holy card HERE, and then HERE. Don't feel you need to follow all my bold links, because I'm happy to report the pith of my discoveries in these next few paragraphs, but I also am adding way more links than I usually do because today is the Feast of Love - and Love begets love! How can I keep anything at all from you, little ones, today?
Most important from what the Carmel offered by way of explanation was simply this:
The holy card on the right of our double "Biblical Holy Card" above was originally the holy card from Celine's profession as a Carmelite. This took place on the very second specialest day of her life, namely, the day she made her vows and became the Bride of Christ, Februrary 24, 1896, a year and a half before Therese flew their little dovecote for Heaven.
I guess I'm not the only one who likes to give away gifts on my special feast - this is an old Carmelite and Catholic custom: you see it in priests' ordination holy cards, and in this card of Celine's which would have been given to the Sisters in her community and also to friends and family who attended the ceremony in the public part of the chapel of the Lisieux Carmel (where, by God's unpredictable grace, Tony and I got to pray and pray and pray 11 months ago).
But here is the kicker . . . a two part kicker . . .
First, February 24, Celine's 2nd specialest day, turned out (63 years later) to be the Vigil of her VERY SPECIALEST day - the day Jesus whooshed her into His arms forever to begin her own eternal Day of Love. But Celine anticipated and expressed much better than I can what Jesus had done and would do, so let me just give you what she had written on this card when she gave it to her sister St. Therese on February 24, 1896:
Keepsake of the fine day of my Profession
We have already witnessed two of the greatest days in our lives and we’ll soon witness the third finest . . .The morning and noon of our pilgrimage are gone, and in a few more hours the radiant evening of eternal rest will come in a light breeze to refresh our souls . . .
Little Céline, who wants to be hidden for life and eternity in the face of Jesus with her Thérèse.
In the year of Our Lord 1896 on the Feast of the Agony of Christ in the Garden of Olives.
Wowie zowie! Did you catch the 2nd kick?? Or the full impact of the 1st?
I hope you are reading as quickly as I type, because I would hate for you to think this was a test or quiz. Don't worry, I rejoice to explain the meaning I'm seeing (or, let's say, I rejoice to share the kicks with you just as I receive them!) -
First (again), February 24th, the day Celine gave this image to Therese, the day of Celine's profession, was the Vigil of February 25th (I think it usually is, but I'd have to consult old almanacs and such, would't I? Just to truly employ the historical-critical method :).
Februrary 25th is a day that will go down in history not only as the day, in 1959, when Celine finally left this exile to join her sisters, and most of all to meet Jesus her True Love, in Heaven! But in my own happy history - and yours too, I hope, thanks to free downloads, pandemics of love, and Jesus' awesome unstoppable LOVE for you - February 25th is a red letter day because it was not only the day I received from Fr. Michael Gaitley his 33 Days of Merciful Love, which started me on my adventure of discovering and writing Something New with St. Therese: Her Eucharistic Miracle, but also, you can see if you go to that last link - to Something New on amazon, but again, don't rush to leave unless you're getting restless with your sheltering in the place of our blog (and if you are getting restless, do feel free to hop over and check to confirm my facts) - you will see that beside the title of our new book, paperback edition, amazon boldly proclaims the date of publication: February 25, 2020! Or (they only have so much room to keep their copy sharp, but in full it might say) - February 25, anniversary of Celine's entry into Heaven!
But our second kick is that that this day of Celine's original profession - the day on which she had the big joy of becoming one with Jesus and the little joy of sharing a holy card in HIs honor - was TODAY!
No, I haven't lost ALL my marbles just yet, but rather, I'm delighted that in the liturgical calendar, where Holy Days are often on varying dates depending on, for instance, the full moon and the corresponding feast of Passover, the day (February 24, 1896 and her profession date) that Celine gave this holy card to St. Therese (not the whole double image shown above, but specifically the beautiful image of Jesus in Holy Communion with a beloved soul like yours on the right) was actually - that year of 1896 - Holy Thursday, the same feast of Love we are celebrating today (as I write), though our date is April 9 (third day in the octave of my birthday!), 2020!
If you managed to follow that trail of word-crumbs (an excessive amount of words, no doubt!) all the way to here, let me give you a reward for your labors!
Aren't you - like me, and so many of us - feeling just a teensy bit sad about not being able to receive Jesus' own gift of Love (Himself in Holy Communion) on this Feast of Love, Holy Thursday?
I'll be honest, I have a sense of relief and a burgeoning joy that accompanies my sadness, because in plague time God can do so many things He usually restrains His love from doing. Why do miracles when the ordinary course (even the ordinary course of exceptional sacramental graces, themselves in a sense miraculous) takes care of our every need? But when the ordinary course of exceptional sacramental graces is closed to us through the ordinary means - no Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper! No feet being washed in pairs of 12! No little visits (for most of us) to Jesus at the altar of repose! No singing our dear St. Thomas' hymns with the choir at church, nor hearing them (in our own dear parishes and sung by our own dear choirs) as we go to receive Jesus, reveling in the most magnificent and humble stanza of all hymnody - the translation of St. Thomas' words by our beloved Gerard Manley Hopkins:
Seeing, touching, tasting are in thee deceived:
How says trusty hearing? that shall be believed;
What God's Son has told me, take for truth I do;
Truth himself speaks truly or there's nothing true.
Have you wondered about the other half of the double holy card above? It was the profession card of Therese and Celine's cousin, Marie Guerin, when she became the bride of Christ: Marie of the Eucharist. This dear cousin, also in the Lisieux Carmel with Therese, Celine, Pauline, Marie, and the irrepressible Parisian, Marie of the Trinity, had "the voice of an angel," everyone agreed. Therese loved when Marie of the Eucharist sang for community celebrations, and I think this recording of Godhead Here in Hiding (GM Hopkins, SJ's translation of St. Thomas' Adoro Te Devote) must remind Therese in Heaven of Marie when they were on earth! If you follow the link to listen and find that some imp (no, I'm not blaming you, Marcel, but just in case!) has slipped in an ad before this recording, please feel free to skip the ad - that was unintended by the management here! (Padre Pio, please send your guardian angel to lead us only to lovely things today on this day of LOVE!)
Did I, perchance, digress?
Like my holy mother, Teresa of Avila, I'd like to think all my words hold together in an order, even if not the conventional order! But my point is simply this:
We are in unusual times, so God our loving Father has sent us unusual means. I offer some here to you now (again, if you've been reading the last posts, but with no less love and joy - if possible, I offer these gifts, in the imitation of our Jesus, with more love than every before!).
1. If you can't receive Jesus in Holy Communion today, I am asking Him to give you, through the intercession of St. Anthony, Servants of God Charlene Richard, Carlo Acutis, and our little brother Marcel Van, St. Padre Pio, and St. Therese herself, the grace of discovering and asking for the crazy grace - the Eucharistic miracle - you can learn of in Something New with St. Therese: Her Eucharistic Miracle (free, like the Eucharist itself!) or in case you would rather listen than read, you can learn HERE, through a talk I gave (sponsored by Padre Pio himself) last weekend.
2. For links to all the latest miraculous ways Jesus is using us, His little secretaries of love, to spread His thirst (and invite YOU to invite HIM to remain in YOU today! - as in a tabernacle, even!), check out the amazing article HERE at the website of my alma mater (my sweet mother) Thomas Aquinas College. You'll find plenty of links there to lead you to more free gifts of Jesus' and my love, so I hope you take advantage of Him (and me). It's crazy love today, and we want you to have your fill!
3. Even if you are not (like I wasn't, until circumstances strangely compelled me) on Facebook, you can see my new Suzie Andres Author Facebook page, where you'll find the picture which had migrated to our typewriter area - the picture by Celine of herself, Therese, Marie, Pauline, Leonie, and Marie of the Eucharist - and also you'll find lots of fun! You can get to the page by typing Suzie Andres Author into the search bar at the top of your Facebook page, or if you don't have Facebook, try typing Facebook Suzie Andres Author into google, and I hope Carlo and your angel will take you to my page. You can like or follow the page over there to get continuing news of my posts at the Suzie Andres Author public Facebook page. If just as a matter of amusement, you may enjoy keeping track of (if not reading all of) the amazing amount of silly words I continue - typing fast and not thinking, expending myself as little as possible - to spew! (Virtually, so you're quite safe! Not to mention that I don't leave the house much these days!)
4. If you need an intention, this one is FREE today too! I will be accompanying my father-in-law Paul to his PETscan (no, not the scan of his pet, but the scan of himself to show if chemo has helped stave off his cancer or not really) - but we're all taking a lot of precautions, as you can imagine, due to the need to protect him, especially, from Lady Corona (as Fr. Buckley, S.J. so charmingly refers to her). Prayers, please - maybe the Stations of the Cross with Our Sister? Or sending your guardian angel to Mass, per the prayer at the back of the FREE Stations (thanks to Cardinal Nichols, who offered it through his wonderful pastoral letter HERE). Or maybe a Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3 (or anytime) or a Hail Mary. Other options for prayer-gifts would be a Rosary, or maybe even better - what we all need these days - a Nap! And God reward you for your alms of prayer!
If I keep writing, you won't get to read and share our joy in Jesus' Feast of Love, His Gift of Himself, His Offering of Love - the Holy Eucharist which He invites us to receive today in a remarkably unusual way, with the help of our sister St. Therese. And so, praying that He blesses you and you bless Him too with your invitation that He remain in you as in a tabernacle, I will close for now.
Shall we pray together - the simple prayer that can serve as a perfect substitute for the Holy Thursday traditions we will have to forego?
Draw me, Jesus my Love, we will run!!
p.s. We have decided to save our traditional Holy Thursday lamb chop dinner for Easter Sunday. We're having hot dogs tonight! I hope you, too, find a unique way to celebrate Jesus' Love in this unique Holy Week of the plague. Shall we do it? Yes, let's - let's turn this pandemic of fear into a Pandemic of Love! Come Holy Spirit, and Thank You Jesus, for everything!!!
If you might join me in saying a prayer for the Surgeon General, God bless him, I think he needs it because no one has yet told him that this is (aside from next week - Easter week) the happiest week of the year. He deludedly announced recently that "This week will be the saddest and hardest that Americans have ever experienced."
What an Eeyore! I mean we love Eeyore, but this man needs (like Eeyore did) some good friends to give him a useful pot to put things in, and a broken balloon to put in it! Didn't he get the memo? Doesn't he know that besides Jesus being about to save the world again, it is my birthday week? And so, you might say without doubt, I beg to differ! Happiness for the whole world!
Because, indeed, today is the Big Day! And that means presents for everyone! HOORAY! Let the festivities begin!
I think in honor of the Trinity, I'd better offer 3 gifts today - I mean at least, eh? (Note my Canadian accent? In happy conjunction with some news related to one of the 3 gifts, so let me get to them quickly!)
First off, there is a repeat link of the talk I gave at my Padre Pio birthday party this past Saturday, hosted by the wonderful Paul and Mildred Chen and by the equally amazing Padre Pio Prayer Group of Nashville. HERE is the link (just click on HERE and you'll be THERE).
Second, Bishop Barron, our bishop in the Santa Barbara region of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, is giving the whole world a birthday present for me today, namely a free screening of his new movie on soon to be Blessed Fulton Sheen! Hooray again, and thank you to a Canadian connection who sent me this exciting birthday event! We will be watching Fulton Sheen, the Communicator where I am with my in-laws in Florida (or so I hope) while we dine on chocolate cake tonight (ah, thank you Costco for delivering! though I must say "insh'allah" or If God likes, since we haven't ordered it yet!)....and please join us! No RSVP necessary, though you'll have to get your own cake on account of these dratted 6 feet social distancing rules, but do pull down your mask long enough to beam me a birthday smile and shovel, I mean gently fork, some cake in, in celebration of this festive day!
Third, since I just noticed that the movie is only an hour long, and the image of shoveling and/or gently forking chocolate cake into an open mouth is fresh in my mind, it occurs to me that you'll have time to read aloud a bit of The Paradise Project this evening as well! I don't believe I remembered to put a birthday into the novel for Elizabeth, our heroine (though perhaps I did - I need to re-read it too, especially if I'm going to be writing a sequel, which has recently and finally become a desire of my heart, as well as a desire of the hearts of many of Elizabeth's readers and friends).
I just had the most amazing news yesterday regarding The Paradise Project - tantamount to receiving the National Book Award! No, it wasn't the Nobel Prize for Literature, nor even a Pulitzer, but the beautiful and charming news from a dear friend that she and her daughter had recently read The Novel - and it had brought them joy in plague time!
No, they didn't read it together exactly. My friend is famous (with me at least) for having stayed up all night once in college when she was supposed to be cramming for exams. No, she wasn't cramming for exams, she was reading Clan of the Cave Bear! And no, don't try this at home (I mean reading Clan - not when you could be reading Paradise!)
Well, guess what? Yes, you guessed it! MC stayed up all night recently reading her free ebook version of The Paradise Project, and she said she really enjoyed it (gosh, can you imagine what this would do to our friendship if she had stayed up all night reading and disliked the book? Phew! SPOILER - glad it has a happy ending!!!).
So waste no more time, take a little pause in your reading of this happy birthday to me blog post, and go up top where you can just click on Paradise Mobi (for kindle or kindle app), Paradise Epub (for Barnes and Noble Nook) or Paradise PDF (for reading directly on your phone or tablet or computer)....or.....go HERE to download from amazon.com (for free) and if you don't have a kindle or the app yet, you can take up their offer to download the kindle app. But shhhhhhhhh, don't tell Gretchen, since she is most certainly not a fan of amazon! (and if you don't yet know Gretchen, start reading the novel soon, before you get distracted by the other gifts below! You need to know Gretchen - she is well worth knowing!!)
You can also, if you have a Kindle or Nook, go into the "Store" on your e-reader and search my name, Suzie Andres - then you'll get all 3 of our currently offered free ebooks right at your fingertips. The super fun thing is that I just noticed (when fetching the link HERE to the amazon Paradise page) that we are ranked (Elizabeth, Gretchen, and I) #72 in Teen & Young Adult Contemporary Romance eBooks! What a hilarious ranking! Not only 72, but our category!
If you want to give me a funny birthday gift too, please "buy" the free copy of Paradise at the link and let's shoot Paradise to #1 and make it an amazon bestseller along with Stations of the Cross with Our Sister St. Therese and Something New with St. Therese. Ah, look, more magic links and more books! Yes, get those today too, for fun and for free, and let's see where their rankings end up.
Do you want to hear a really adorably ludicrous fun fact? These two new Little Way books keep bumping each other out of the #1 spot on amazon bestsellers (the other one then goes to number two, like Dominic Badguy in Muppets Most Wanted - another important must-watch for my birthday!). No, I don't mean these two books are THE top bestsellers on amazon, but rather thanks to the wondiferous hourly ranking system, they are One and Two in the rather niche category: Christian Saints and Sainthood, Free Kindle Books. Their race is delightful, because while they are staying ahead of the competition, though just barely, for some reason the top 100 free kindle ebooks in this category actually fall short of 100 at the moment.....there are only 3! Which gives special meaning to our having captured spots 1 and 2! I love this! Talk about the Little Way of amazon bestsellers!
Which somehow reminds me of another gift you can give to me for my birthday - it requires no stamps, no post offices (where one sister of mine had to stand in line for an hour today, God bless and reward her!), and no finding just the right present I'll love - because what I'd love is free and a homemade gift (the best kind! especially if it contains chocolate chips, but no, I digress again) - to put it plainly, I would LOVE if you would, having enjoyed one of my books, leave me a review on amazon! Or rather, please leave a review for potential readers so that they may be lured and enticed into spending time with St. Therese and Jesus, or Jesus and St. Therese, or even simply Miss Elizabeth Benning of The Paradise Project. And yes, all these bold words are clickable links to their corresponding books too!
Before you click your way off the edge of the internet, though, I must announce that we have yet more good news and presents for you (there, at least that bold word is not a link)!
I may have surpassed 3 for the Trinity, so how about we go for 7 for the Sacraments - those precious gifts we are just beginning to appreciate since I've found it true, absence does make the heart grow fonder. Thank You, Jesus, for Your tender solicitude which leads us into Holy Week united to You in such a mysterious new little way. And thank You too, for continually inspiring us to find new ways to find YOU and new ways to keep ourselves entertained in Pandemic-Hunkering-Lock-Down-time . . . like . . . learning Vietnamese!
Admit it. You don't know Vietnamese yet, do you? Or better yet, perhaps you know Vietnamese, but you haven't been finding new books on St.Therese in your favorite foreign (or for you, maybe first) language. WE CAN HELP! You will never believe what birthday gift I was given in the Triduum preceding Our Big Day, but don't even try to guess, because I'm overjoyed to share it with you, if only I can figure out how.
Let's see, how about we start with the cover, and then you can Contact Me for the pdf file that is the Real Gift. But here and now - just to whet your appetite and delight your sense of sight and your imagination which simply must reel at the goodness of God when you see what comes next - let's share the really beautiful cover. Ready? Set? . . . Go!
Okay, sorry. That's a bit of a letdown on my side too . . . I can't get even the sweet cover image here, but let me copy and paste the title on the cover - for yes, this is another new and free book I want to give you, but not just any book - this one is a priceless gem of a book! For it is . . .
STATIONS OF THE CROSS With Our Sister Saint Thérèse SUY NIEÄM ÑAØNG THAÙNH GIAÙ Vôùi Thaùnh Teâreâxa Haøi Ñoàng Gieâsu
Yes! You read that right! It is our new Stations book in a bilingual edition!
A wonderful Vietnamese Dominican Sister wrote to me recently - she clicked the Contact Me book and changed the world forever - and I can't help hoping you'll click that button too, to wish me many happy returns of the day and so that I can meet you and greet you on this auspicious annual occasion! Also, if you would like to know when a new post appears here, you now have the amazing option of clicking "subscribe" and signing up for my email alerts of new posts. Don't worry that I'll use your email for other purposes - I don't even know how to see your email when you sign up! So those 36 of you who are signed up: Hello! nanoo nanoo! And those several of you who signed, up, got cold feet (or annoyed) and unsubscribed: Thank you! I was always worried that if we ever got a subscribe button imported (thank you, marvelous Mimi!), people would be stuck receiving my email alerts forever against their wills - and you have happily for all of us proven it is (I hope) just as easy to unsubscribe as to subscribe. I love quitting things myself, so good job!
But getting back to the gift of Sister Martina - both the gift of her and the gift from her - she wrote and asked permission to translate some of my writings into Vietnamese.
Could she have permission?!?!?!?!?! Wowie zowie! It's every author's dream to be translated into another language. And Vietnamese? Perhaps not what every American author dreams of first, but I'm not just any American author - I'm a Vietnamese wannabe, a happy fan of my brother Marcel and delighted to share my love for him and Therese (and thus, first and finally, Jesus!) with the whole wide world, but especially with my dear brother's (and thus mine) Vietnamese siblings. WOW!
So yes, actually, I said YES!
And then Sister Martina did this amazing thing. She just up and translated the essence of our new Stations book into Vietnamese (namely the quotes from St. Therese to help us stay with Jesus a moment in each of his 14 stops on the Way of the Cross) and shared them with her community. Did you notice that her community is in bold and kind of shimmery? Yep, you got it, that means you can click on Sister Martina's community and visit them! As she said to me, their site is not exactly in English, but you can enjoy your Sisters in Christ without even knowing their language. Gosh, just look at Therese and Marcel!
Okay, Marcel said Therese spoke perfect Vietnamese, but he is also clear that he did NOT speak perfect French, so we're in good company if we share a smile with our newfound Sisters in the Mystical Body even without being able to share a lot of words. Although truly, don't you think bilingual Stations with Our Sister St. Therese may be just what you've been waiting for (much cheaper than Rosetta Stone, and less secular than Duolingo, God bless them all) in order to learn Vietnamese in 4 days?! (Because as much as I'm working on my hard sell and ad campaign re. "Stations of the Cross: A devotion for every liturgical season," I haven't even quite convinced myself yet!
We'll do our best to get those special Stations posted somewhere on this website by the stroke of midnight ending April 7 for another year (sigh....yet there is always the octave!), but meanwhile, if you would like me to send you them via email, again, just Contact Me using the clickable button. For just as I told Sister Martina, "Of course! All I have written is yours: please share freely!" so she too wrote to me regarding her translation, "Of course! All I have written is yours: please share freely!" This is so Theresian, for she - our little sister in Heaven - used to say along with St. Thomas (and many before him whom he was quoting) that all truth, by whomever spoken, is from the Holy Spirit!
Come, Holy Spirit, and through our sharing and translating and being little secretaries for Jesus Our Love, renew the face of the earth!
To my great joy, the Holy Spirit reminded me to send these Stations, shortly after I received them yesterday, to one reader here who contacted me a few months ago - and delighted me with the news that she was Vietnamese and would like to have Marcel's writings in Vietnamese for her family and friends. Now I have at least been able to send her, thanks to Sister Martina, some words of Therese in Vietnamese, and our reader has already written back that she's shared these newly translated Stations with her relatives! God is so good! Thank you, little Marcel!
And now, let me post so you can begin to enjoy your party favors. Welcome to the happiest day of the year (okay, one of them!) and thank you for joining the celebration! Remember, we are turning this pandemic of fear into a pandemic of love, one smile-behind-a-mask at a time :) !!! And if you, like me, miss actual hugs, offer this sacrifice to Jesus (a little inconvenience to stop the stones thrown by sinners from reaching Our Spouse), and be sure to blow kisses and send virutal (((hugs)))!!!
Will you say a birthday prayer of petition and gratitude and absolute confidence and joy with me?
Draw me, darling Jesus; we will RUN!!!!!
p.s. I almost forgot to mention why the Canadian accent. Marcel's sister Anne-Marie Te lives to this day in a Redemptorist convent in Canada, where she is a religious sister and Spouse of Christ. Thanks to Miss Marcel's Musings and that miracle-working Contact Me button, I know a wonderful priest who knows a wonderful priest who took him to visit with the original Miss Marcel - Marcel's blood sister and sister-in-Christ, Anne-Marie Te! Well, thanks again to the Holy Spirit, we are hoping and praying that the Canadian wonderful priest, who lives near the Redemptorist Sisters, will find a way - plague time notwithstanding - to give a copy of the new Vietnamese/English Stations to Te and her sisters for this Holy Week. Wouldn't that be the best gift yet? St. Anthony, St. Raphael, little Therese and Marcel who so captivate our hearts and make the whole world one under the loving gaze of our Heavenly Father: please help our Stations reach Te, and bring immense spiritual joy and consolation to her dear loving heart!
P.P.S. I'm such a Miss Marcel! A real maroon (or is it a meringue?) as my fowl hero Daffy Duck would say! What did I forget this time? I almost forgot to tell you about the gift of gifts I'm offering to share the birthday joy!
There is an exquisitely lovely children's book just out, written by my dear friend and fellow Catholic Exchange author, Maura Roan McKeegan. If you click on her name, you'll find Maura's plethora of magnificent articles at Catholic Exchange. In fact, my guardian angel is playing a joke on me, because just pulling up her articles with the intention of linking them here (right this second, after writing this paragraph and looking for my links to embed, as we say in the biz) I've stumbled upon a brand new Birthday Article which went up TODAY - eternally linking me (because my birthday is April 7, also the birthday of another hero, St. Francis Xavier, SJ, and the feast of the educational maverick St. Jean Baptiste de la Salle, whose French Christian Brothers taught my dad in Lebanon when he - my dad, not St. Jean - was a boy!) with PADRE PIO and the angels!!! Wait till the Nashville Padre Prayer group hears about THIS! (Thank you Padre, and your angel and Maura's too!)
But lest I forget again to tell you about my specialest gift to you (which as you can see, in God's abundant richness of mercy, is turning into a whole pile of gifts), let's get back to Maura's books! If you click HERE you'll find one of her books on typology - these are the coolest ever if you want to learn things about the Old Testament foreshadowings of Christ, and His fulfillment of them - more than you ever knew, with brilliant illustrations by the great Ted Schluenderfritz (whom I was lucky enough to have design the cover of A Little Way of Homeschooling.
But if you want to see Maura's latest offering, her first Saint book, enrobed with a Caldecott medal winning level of gorgeousness by first time illustrator Patty Bergmon, click here on St. Conrad and the Wildfire. And this is where the final gift comes in - if you can't find your way to purchasing one of Maura's books today (hey, budgets are stretched in unusual ways lately, what with the additions of masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer by the vat, to your weekly grocery order) - well let me know!
Remember that Contact Me button? Why not use it now? Contact me with your name and postal address, and I will send you your choice of Maura's beautiful children's books (one per Marcelite, due to constraints on my own budget, but hey, what's a party without party favors?).
When you receive your copy and fall in love with Our Lord, his Biblical friends, and/or St. Conrad - and Maura herself most of all! - you can write a review over at the book's page on amazon. That way more people will know that hope is alive and well, and charity is going to save the day again. As Fr. Donald Kinney, our Carmelite friar-hero, has been fond of saying lately, "These are the trials through which we triumph, by the power of Him who loves us!" (Romans 8) So let's triumph in His love today - and enjoy the marvelous gifts He and our sister and brother shower upon us!
Rejoice heartily, O daughter Zion, shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem! See, your king shall come to you; a just savior is He, meek, and riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass. (Zechariah 9:9)
"See, little brother, the bosom of our Mother Mary is always like the little donkey on which we ride, both of us, to bear witness to our mutual love. Together from this world to heaven we will have only this gentle carrier. Marcel, without doubt Mary will have a strong urge to laugh on hearing us say that her bosom is the back of the little donkey on which we have both climbed. Sister Therese will have to come to meet us; what incomparable happiness! However, little brother do not be sad. If you are sad, tomorrow's triumphant reception will no longer be joyful. Therefore be joyful. Do you hear? Recently it seems that you are more tired than sad. However, you have nothing to fear; normally during this season one is easily fatigued. I still love you dearly and on Mary's breast I clasp you closely in my arms. Never be sad, do you hear?" - Jesus to Marcel Van, Vigil of Palm Sunday, 1946, from Conversations
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I hope and pray you have been finding ways to be joyful even in this time of the pandemic. Thanks to the Padre Pio Prayer Group of Nashville, I have a great joy to share with you - so that even if you're tired (and Lent + plague = tired), we might manage to infuse some love and laughter into your heart and home on this glorious Palm Sunday, 2020. If you are seeing this the very day it begins to exist here forever (ah, the eternal Internet!), hooray! If you are seeing this sometime later than Palm Sunday, 2020, no worries! The message is timeless, and it will only get better, like God's love making its warm way into our cold hearts. Are you ready?
Yesterday I had the great good pleasure of speaking (on zoom) to the Padre Prayer Group of Nashville (thank you Paul, Mildred, and Alice - and everyone there, and all who managed to join in for short or long) - and as is their custom, this delightful group managed to get the link to their monthly talk (which this time was my talk) posted asap - or really sooner than asap! Angels assist them, no doubt, and Padre Pio's chief among them. So without further ado, HERE is the link to my TALK to the PADRE PIO PRAYER GROUP OF NASHVILLE!!! (Yep, click any of these LINKS, these BOLD PLACES, and you'll end up at my BOLD TALK!)
Thank You Jesus, St. Anthony, St. Therese, St. Padre Pio, Marcel Van, Charlene Richard, and the tech whiz of the new millenium, Servant of God Carlo Acutis!
No, this isn't the Academy Awards, but I'd like to thank all the Angels and Saints, because by their help and God's grace, this was by far the best talk I've ever given. I listened to it this morning (hey, this is the privilege of the poster: why share something if it won't help?), and I'm happy to report that I enjoyed it immensely!
It was so much fun giving the talk and hearing it too, but especially in "real time" I loved seeing lots of smiling faces - even my older son's smiling face in Denver, which was a huge gift, and my dear, dear sister Camille's smiling face in Germany - and everyone got to see me too, none of us having to wear masks, and most of us thousands or hundreds of miles apart, keeping well ahead of any future social distancing distances! Yes, we would have been in absolute danger if we'd been together, even six feet apart, because at least on my part there was laughter (and thus possible spewing), and yet what with our hunkering down, each single, pair, or family group in our own homes, we've been mighty good and mighty joyful both!
Incidentally, don't you think that if you could invest in words, we all would've made a fortune by getting in on "spewing" and "hunkering" when they were still fairly cheap on the word-stock-market? I've always been a big fan of hunkering (if not of spewing), and how sweet that it is now coming into its own!
But don't decry the money you haven't made, we'll have fun yet without it!
Besides, I don't think there actually is a word-stock-market in our world, though that might be a wonderful feature of a pandemic-time-novel along the lines of The Phantom Tollbooth. Do feel free to steal the idea - I'll even give it to you like my ebooks - because though my batch of ISBNs burns a hole in my pocket, I've actually-potentially got them more than used up in the counting my chicks before they hatch department.
I'm supposed to be writing a sequel to The Paradise Project (which you can download for free up above - the original, I mean, not the as-yet-unwritten-sequel - and don't tell me you don't have time for a hilarious novel and a good laugh, because I'm well aware of all the places you can't be going and activities you can't be pursuing these days!), not to mention my bio of the teen Servants of God, Carlo Acutis and Charlene Richard.
And then there's the memoir I thought of the other day after having ordered everything we could possibly need and then some from the local grocery store and (wonder of wonders and miracle of miracles) succeeded at getting the whole order delivered, only to have a second delivery car drive up and park right behind the first (it was like a bad heist movie, only in reverse). So yes, my new memoir My Smart Life with my Dumb Phone will feature the time (Friday April 3, 2020) when I accidentally double ordered a trunkful - soon to be a kitchenful - of groceries - TWICE! - and had to restrain my laughter at the vivid image of delivery person #1, who got to the house first, but had to offer many replacement items, having unwittingly followed delivery person #2 (who got every single thing I ordered exactly right) through the store in the now-familiar scavenger hunt for basic unexciting items - only to find each item successively depleted ("Oh no! He took the last of the Sargento Provolone smoke flavored cheese slices too! What's with this guy!") . . .
You may not be having quite so much fun (and may not be supplied with quite so many red roses, for yes, those got doubled too, no doubt a gift from Therese before I babbled about her on zoom), so we want to share our joy! We can offer plenteous heavenly roses, and it all starts by clicking the name of my talk and listening to all the kind advice that little St. Therese and big St. Padre Pio have to offer to us during our coronavirus days . . .
Something New with St. Pio, St. Therese, and the Pandemic of Love
I did promise I would post here the links to the various books I HIGHLY recommended in the talk, and I even have a plan for purchasing - although my own books are free already, I thought I would entice you with a more irresistible offer than simply free.
You know how none of us can resist that irresistible BOGO offer? Well here are the books I suggest you BOGO - buy the first, and get the second (available above in the typewriter area, or directly on your kindle or nook, or at amazon, barnesandnoble, and smashwords, etc.) FOR ABSOLUTELY FREE! No, not even buy the first, and get half of my book for free. (Yes, technically, you are getting half of my currently published books for free, but I mean you have to thank your lucky stars that you are not getting merely half of each of the three books I'm offering for free for free - see, even the words know it's BOGO time!)
So here we go.....links: Buy the first one, get the second for free. And if you consider yourself very clever and have already figured out you can cheat and get the second for free without bothering with the first, I can only say you are cheating yourself and not us! You won't want to miss the paid items any more than you could afford to pass up on the free ones! Just click on the book to be magically transported to it where it is available for purchase (for $ or for Free)
MARCEL'S BOGO SALE OF GREAT BOOKS FOR CHEERING EVERY HEART IN PLAGUE TIME:
BUY: St. Conrad and the Wildfire by Maura Roan McKeegan, magnificently illustrated by Patti Borgman
GET FREE: Stations of the Cross with Our Sister St. Therese
BUY: Marcel Van's Conversations with Jesus, Mary, and St. Therese (best book ever and worth every penny)
GET FREE: Something New with St. Therese: Her Eucharistic Miracle (2nd best book ever and a good Pascal's wager since it's free!)
BUY: Padre Pio and I (memoir by Adolfo Afattato, spiritual son who knew Padre Pio in life and had continuing adventures after Padre Pio entered REAL life)
GET FREE: The Paradise Project (Padre Pio's Favorite Novel! Okay, after The Betrothed, and Leave it to Psmith . . . but those others of his faves are going to cost you 99 cents each!)
As I mentioned in the talk, I'm offering a money back guarantee. Since I'm sure you'll not only love St. Conrad and the Wildfire, (and I recommend the hardcover because it is SO BEAUTIFUL), but am betting that you'll also feel compelled to buy copies for godchildren, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and random stranger kids wearing masks as they bike around the neighborhood (I just bought two more hardcovers last night, one for each corona-time family household where we're hunkering, since I'd left my first copy in California)....and the same is true of Conversations, the Pio book, and even the 99 cent novels that I threw in at 99 cents each .... as I say, I'll be happy to refund you the cost if you are unsatisfied with any of your impulse purchases (although how you can only now be thinking of buying Conversations when I've been pushing it on you for years, I don't know. Hardly an impulse buy at this point. Maybe a harangued-into-it buy, but really, it is THE BEST!) - I only ask that you send me the books you don't want. Because personally, I can't get enough of any of these most essential books! (Okay, I'm doing fine without The Betrothed, but only because I'm not very deep, and I did read it once and loved it, but it is long, and I'd rather keep reading Conversations...) Or if you don't want to pay for shipping, or can't even safely go to the post office (my dilemma), you can simply give the unwanted (oooh, I shudder at the thought, but hey, each person has some defect or other, none of us being perfect!) book(s) to someone 6 feet away, and I'll still refund you - even though I'm not getting a dime. Haha, I am getting the eternal reward due to one who longs to hear Jesus say, "I was hungry (for a good book), and you fed me...I was thirsty (for souls), and you shared my Something New!"
If I forgot to include any links to things I mentioned in The Talk, please email me by clicking on the Contact Me button, and I'll be glad to add the forgotten resources here! In the meantime, you can also download any of my 3 free books by clicking on the links in the typewriter section at the very top of this page.
Have fun! And now, with gratitude and joy, let's pray together:
Draw me, meek Jesus, and we will run!!!
P.S. Fr. Dan, spiritual director to the Padre Pio Prayer Group of Nashville, asked us to begin (or keep up, if you already do this) the practice of saying the Divine Mercy Chaplet daily for all those who are dying, and we can pray it too for a return of the sacraments to us, as well as a return for all those we love to the sacraments. May the angels surround, protect, strengthen, and guide us! Amen!
Our new book, Something New with St. Therese: Her Eucharistic Miracle, is the #1 New Release in Christian Saints and Sainthood on amazon today!
A Shower of Book-Roses from Heaven!!! or . . . Free Books, Unlimited Supply, Home Delivery! or . . . 125 years of Merciful Love!!!
"Thus says the Lord:
Lo, I am about to create new heavens and a new earth;
The things of the past shall not be remembered or come to mind.
Instead, there shall always be rejoicing and happiness in what I create;
For I create Jerusalem to be a joy and its people to be a delight;
I will rejoice in Jerusalem and exult in my people.
No longer shall the sound of weeping be heard there, or the sound of crying;
No longer shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not round out his full lifetime;
He dies a mere youth who reaches but a hundred years,
and he who fails of a hundred shall be thought accursed.
They shall live in the houses they build,
and eat the fruit of the vineyards they plant."
This first reading for Mass today, from Isaiah 65, sums up what is happening right now.
Am I getting all apocalyptic on you? Not a bit!
I'm just thrilled to read that God approves of our new crazy adventure with Little Way Books, coronavirus, Plenary Indulgences, FREE BOOKS, falling in love with Him again and again, and, shall I simply add: rejoicing in what He creates! Because WOW, He's been creating a lot lately, and it is so beautiful and good!
Our Father in Heaven says He creates us to be a joy and a delight; He wants to rejoice and exult in us!
He doesn't want weeping any more, or crying, or any sadness or pain.
Well, we can't necessarily wipe out all sadness and pain - this is a valley of tears as they say - but we can provoke each other to laughter, to joy, to delight, and to exultation!
Yes, even in the midst of toilet paper panic, ubiquitous (or worse, disappearing) hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial soap, and the unknowns that surround us even as we attempt to keep praying and trusting, even in the midst of all this we can provoke laughter, and inspire delight. Yes, even when our praying and trusting takes on a new form as we are in the unprecedented (for us in the U.S.A.) situation of being deprived of personal attendence (in 3-D) at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and the simultaneous deprivation of Jesus in Holy Communion. And yet still, with Jesus and Mary and Therese, I insist God creates us to be a joy and a delight, and it is He Himself who will rejoice and exult in us, and He wants us to rejoice and exult along with Him. This is, according to the Little Way of Therese and Marcel Van, not to mention St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, a perfect description of Love, in fact!
Sigh.....(of love)......So what are we to do?
Sometime about the day before yesterday, I think it was, an idea hit me like a ton of bricks. Lucky for me (and for you too, as you'll soon see), it was just LIKE a ton of bricks, but not even very much like them, so I didn't get knocked unconscious or anything, I just shared my idea with a couple of terrific ladies, and then I asked my husband's permission. (Tell first, ask second. Miracles are an addictive way of life!)
My good and darling husband. He's been understandably distracted lately, what with pandemics and cross country travel, poodle arrangements, online college (!?!?!) about to start up, and living apart from me (quarantine can hit in the unlikeliest places; though praise God we are all just being safe, not infected) . . . So it took him a day to say yes to my latest nutsy idea, and that meant it took two days to pull it off . . . but here is the fact, Jack, and you are going to LOVE IT AS MUCH AS I DO!!!! Rejoicing and exultation all around! No more tears, just LAUGHTER and DELIGHT!!! . . but please indulge me in a little backstory before I tell you the particulars on this shower of Heavenly roses with free home delivery . . .
* * *
Four years ago on February 25, 2016 (so technically 4 years and 26 days ago now, if I'm counting right) I went to a talk and book giveaway by the kind and clever Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC. He was kind because he gave away his book 33 Days to Merciful Love, and he was clever for the same reason, but also because he wrote it in the first place (which actually covers kind again, too).
I have loved St. Therese of Lisieux, that is, the Little Flower, or St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, O.C.D. (all those are one person, by the way!) for a very long time. When I heard Father's talk, I'd say I had already loved Therese for more than 30 years. Really loved. Read about. Prayed to. Read more about. Prayed to more. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, as the King of Siam would say.
And so I was quite astounded when Fr. Gaitley's book, which he gave us, was not only excellent (that wasn't too surprising) but also changed my life. I mean come on! How much more can you learn or love a Saint when your friendship has been going on for 31 years?
Like in a marriage, the answer to both those questions is . . . infinitely more?
So I fell in love with Therese all over again, and I began the quest to pray her Act of Oblation (which I remembered writing out and praying with great joy and intensity on its 100th anniversary in 1997!) and mean every word - and the next thing I knew, she whispered a secret to me, and it was so outrageous that I thought I must have mis-heard.
So I listened some more, and then went to pray before the Blessed Sacrament. There was a Discalced Carmelite priest visiting where I was praying, and he happened to be an expert on St. Therese, having as he did a degree in French and being the translator as he was of her poetry for the Institute of Carmelite Studies. So it made sense to ask him if I was losing it. Especially since I'd imagined Jesus saying, "Go for it. Focus on this crazy idea. Run with it! Run to me with it! Let's go!"
I got to have lunch with the Carmelite friar (along with a lot of other people), but then everyone cleared out and I found myself, just as I had hoped, with a chance to ask this holy priest my question.
"Father, if you have a minute . . . I have been captivated lately by this thought, this discovery, this secret in St. Therese that is just COMPLETELY OVER THE TOP!!!! And I think Jesus is telling me He wants me to pursue this idea, and I'm wondering if you, on behalf of the Church, could tell me if I've gone bonkers and made this up entirely, or if this is perhaps truly in St. Therese's teaching and message for us."
Being a compassionate priest, Fr. D.K. said, "Shoot!" (or something to that effect.)
So I told him what she had told me, what Jesus seemed to be enjoying my knowing . . .
And he, this wise and knowledgeable priest, said to me:
"Suzie, you understand St. Therese very well. Go deeper."
As I write this, tears spring to my eyes. Sure, I'm sleep deprived, but wow, he did. He said that right then, and so I did. I went deeper, and I discovered my mission. Besides being a Catholic wife and mother and cheerleader for Marcel Van - though that last role came the day I finished writing what I was soon to write - my new mission from Jesus was to share this secret, this Something New I had discovered in St. Therese, with the whole world. But first, to live it.
So I told Jesus, repeatedly from then until now, that I wanted to live this crazy idea I'd discovered, but I also wanted to share it with others. He confirmed that He was inviting me to live it (not that I know I do, and the one thing I do know is that if I do, I do it badly!), and Therese stood behind me and PUSHED! I mean that girl was in such a big rush for me to write a book about this idea, this Something New of which my husband fully approved, as Father had, saying (as Father did again later) - Yes! This is Something New in St. Therese! and Yes, you must write about it!!! Certainly Therese knew what a short attention span I had, and she wanted me to write FAST, so I did.
I wrote, Therese pushed, and I shocked Father by handing him a draft to review merely 2 months after he'd told me to go for it. He read the book as soon as he had time, and he approved. It was, he said, true and important. And it made him smile on every page. I liked that smiling almost best, though I like true and important a lot too!
He said, finally, to hurry and get a BIG PUBLISHER because this was REALLY IMPORTANT.
So I tried to get a publisher, and tried and tried and tried.
And each publisher would say, typically, YES! WOW! THIS WILL CHANGE THE WORLD!
But then I wouldn't hear back for a long time, and finally the publisher would say, Um, No, we can't publish this.
Collectively, the publishers I tried had lots of different reasons, but finally, no one was willing to commit like Father and my husband and myself - because the idea seemed to them just as crazy as it actually is!
And so, we decided to start a publishing venture and publish it ourselves. Talk about the little way!
And then, we had the chance to publish, simultaneously, a really fun book of Stations of the Cross with Our Sister St. Therese. And then, this morning in Costco, I got permission from the dear publisher of my previous books. Permission to make available along with these two Little Way books, my romantic comedy of vastly hilarious proportions!
Which leads me to the source of delight which Our Good Lord is opening up for you, dear reader, like a Living Stream of life giving water, in order that we might all become sources of delight for Him!
Remember how I said that I'd been praying He would let me share this idea, but first that He'd let me live it? Well every time a publisher said Yes and then No, I would praise His Holy Name, sure that He would let me keep trying to live this dream, touching one person at each publishing house at a time, inspiring them to try to live this grace too, and all the while I was sure that when He was ready to share His secret, He would.
Have I mentioned there's a little pandemic going on? And no easy access to Mass? And thus no Holy Communion?
We know how we feel about that - it's awful! A cause for tears and sorrow! We are separated from our Beloved!
But how does HE feel? He who delights in us? He who made us for perfect union with Him, a union we're pathetic at even when He comes to us in Holy Communion - oh, but how sad to think of how badly and poorly we will love Him without His precious Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity uniting us to Him as often as possible! What happens when "as often as possible" may be once a month? Or longer? What a time for knowing the longing of the Saints for Our Lord, when so many of them lived - as Therese herself did - in eras when there wasn't easy and frequent Holy Communion!
But enough of sadness and tears. Really, enough, because that isn't the Little Way. Our fearless leader, our sister St. Therese refused to be sad, and we're following not just any little way, but hers! When her dear novice, Marie of the Trinity, asked Therese - sick in the infirmary - really sick and in pain and nearing death - "Oh, isn't life sad?" - Therese responded: "Life isn't sad. It's very, very happy. OH! - Unless by 'life' you mean this exile! But this isn't life! Real Life is happy, very happy!"
St. Thomas Aquinas teaches us that the Eucharist is a foretaste of Heaven.
Jesus is the Way, the Truth, the Life. It is He who is Life, and we need to continue to unite ourselves with Him now, especially when we are seemingly deprived of Him in the Blessed Sacrament and enduring times that would fill the bravest heart with a smidgen of fear - not to mention the likes of us!
Therese does not leave us alone, any more than Jesus does, who said He would not leave us orphans. And though spiritual communions are wonderful, His Real Presence after Holy Communion is what we long for, and what He longs for!
So . . . St. Therese and Jesus have conspired at exactly this moment in history to reveal a secret known first by our Blessed Mother, and later by such Saints as St. Margaret Mary, St. Anthony Mary Claret, St. Faustina, and St. Padre Pio. It is a secret, a Something New, which has been hidden a long time, though it has been hiding in plain sight in Therese's Act of Oblation to the Merciful Love of the Good God ever since she wrote out her beautiful prayer 125 years ago this June.
What perfect timing! For the 125th anniversary of the most decisive moment of her life, Therese is sharing with us, now, at a decisive moment in our own lives (when we are deprived of Jesus in a way unlike any we have experienced before), the solution, the answer, the union we had thought was beyond our reach.
Jesus is never beyond our reach, and doesn't want to be beyond our reach even now, when He is seemingly locked away in the tabernacle in locked up churches. At best it seems we can only adore Him but not dare approach Him any nearer than that blasted 6 feet of safety, even though He, for One, is not at risk of disease!
Never mind. We can thank Him even for this, because He now has a reason to reveal Something New, the Eucharistic grace and miracle that He would like us all to request.
Enough stalling. You can download the book Something New with St. Therese for free.
And lest I take any credit, let me admit that the ton of bricks that hit me was not some brilliant idea of my own, but a comment from two friends who had read this book in manuscript. They both said, separately, "What a propitious time for your book! It's just what everyone needs!"
This book that is just what you need is at last available right here on our website.
If you have a kindle, the free ebook will soon be available on amazon.com (right now it costs 99 cents there, but is free here, and we're working on getting it free there too).
If you have a nook e-reader, you can get Something New right this moment as an ebook for free at barnesandnoble.com, but also from us, here and now too.
If you are reading this blog on a computer or phone or tablet, you can download the pdf version of Something New onto your device and begin reading as soon as we say our closing signature prayer!
But wait! There's more!
We're also prepared to send you (or rather, you can download this too) a lovely little ebook of Stations of the Cross with Our Sister St. Therese. It even has the very latest from the Vatican (from last week, St. Joseph's Day) on how you can gain plenary indulgences in this coronavirus time without fulfilling any of the "usual conditions" (since so many of us can't receive Holy Communion, which is one of the usual conditions). But I'm keeping you from your books. You'll find out how wonderful they are when you start reading them as soon as I stop writing.
But wait! THERE'S EVEN MORE!
You'd think, like I had thought, that I couldn't be more excited than I am about releasing our 2 new books for the whole world to enjoy simply, happily, and at no cost whatsoever. But this morning (and darned if it wasn't the same friend who reminded me of this 3rd book, which she hoped to read to cheer her, but couldn't find because her teen daughter keeps absconding with it and re-reading it!) - this morning I realized I could ask for permission to share The Paradise Project, the best Catholic novel ever! Okay, sure I wrote it, and yeah, it's not quite an epic classic like The Betrothed, but man, it is FUNNY! I'm looking forward to re-reading it myself! This is the book that of all my books has caused me the most annoyance - because those who read it continually pester me to write a sequel! They loved it so much they didn't want it to end, and so bid me to begin again!
Am I singing my own praises? Hardly! I have no more idea how I wrote that book than you have of how you birthed and raised such lovely children! It's all a great mystery! But a mystery of love, just like the man behind me in Costco agreed: that this is a pandemic of love! (Hint: buy a bunch of roses at Costco, then help Therese bring joy to earth by giving several away before you reach the checkout. You'll still pay for them, but you'll get in return A LOT OF HAPPY PEOPLE surrounding you in Costco!!)
Okay, I gotta get dinner, and more importantly let you get your books! Please contact me if you don't know how to download them - I'll be glad to help you find your way to the Heart of God, rejoicing Him as He rejoices you.
Darling Jesus, You have chosen Your moment to invite many others to share St. Therese's wonderful secret. Now will You please do me one more favor?
Draw me, we will RUN!!!!!
p.s. All 3 ebooks will be available at both amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com, and on your ereaders, soon for free. Meanwhile, you can download from the links embedded in the typewriter area above, or on our Welcome page or our Books page here at suzieandres.com. The pdfs can be printed out or read directly on your phone or computer or tablet . . . and the print copies of the book will be available soon too, from the usual online providers (though not for free, since they cost us something new to make!). And please share these books and this shower of roses to your heart's content with everyone you think might enjoy them - and even those you aren't sure about, like the 2 couples ahead of me in line at Costco, who turned out to be thrilled!
St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, pray for us and keep us close to Little Jesus, your Divine son!
Prayer to St Joseph in Every Difficulty
With childlike confidence I present myself before you, O holy Joseph, faithful foster father of Jesus! I beg your compassionate intercession and support in this, my present necessity. . .
I firmly believe that you are most powerful near the throne of God, who chose you for the foster father of His well-beloved son, Jesus Christ. O blessed Saint, who saved that treasure of heaven, with His virginal mother, from the fury of His enemies, who with untiring industry supplied His earthly wants and with paternal care accompanied and protected Him in all the journeys of His childhood, take me also, for the love of Jesus, as your child. Assist me in my present difficulty with your prayers before God. The infinite goodness of Our Savior, who loved and honored you as His father upon earth, cannot refuse you any request now in heaven.
How many pious souls have sought help from you in their needs and have experienced, to their joy, how good, how ready you are to assist. How quickly you turn to those who call upon you with confidence! How powerful you are in bringing help and restoring joy to anxious and dejected hearts! Therefore, do I fly to you, O most worthy father of Jesus, most chaste spouse of Mary! Good St. Joseph, I pray you by the burning love you had for Jesus and Mary upon earth, console me in my distress and present my petition, through Jesus and Mary, before the throne of God! One word from you will move Him to assist my afflicted soul. Then most joyfully shall I praise Him and you, and most earnest shall be my thanksgiving!
Prayer to St. Raphael
O Raphael, lead us toward those we are waiting for, those who are waiting for us: Raphael, Angel of happy meeting, lead us by the hand toward those we are looking for. May all our movements be guided by your Light and transfigured with your joy.
Angel, guide of Tobias, lay the request we now address to you at the feet of Him on whose unveiled Face you are privileged to gaze. Lonely and tired, crushed by the separations and sorrows of life, we feel the need of calling you and of pleading for the protection of your wings, so that we may not be as strangers in the province of joy, all ignorant of the concerns of our country. Remember the weak, you who are strong, you whose home lies beyond the region of thunder, in a land that is always peaceful, always serene and bright with the resplendent glory of God.
* * *
Did we surprise you?
Happy St. Joseph Day!
Here is our spiritual father who is full of surprises!
One minute he's making apparently good decisions, the next he is taking a well-deserved nap, and finally, just when you thought you knew what was next again, VOILA! Good St. Joseph is ceasing to be afraid, taking Mary into his home as the angel bid him, naming our Savior - JESUS - and facilitating the calming of our every fear through the enactment (the original happening) of the rest of the Joyful Mysteries!
And before you know it, he's got us saying not just a confident prayer in his fatherly help, but a prayer to the great Archangel Raphael, who we need to guide us into each new uncertain day with the kind of angelic lead that God sent to this ultimate patriarch, St. Joseph, Spouse of Mary.
Happy St. Joseph Day!
Could we ever justly appreciate the just St. Joseph?
Happily, no! But what a joy to try!
Dear reader, I wonder where you are as I write.
This is a time of unprecedented (for us) grace, because on this very feast of the father of the Holy Family, we are being called to go home and stay there.
Where is your home?
I have 3 sons. Well 4, really. Or rather . . . once one becomes a mother, especially of sons, they do tend to multiply exponentially! If you are reading this now, do not be afraid to let those you love multiply exponentially!
For myself, though, the number increases like wildfire. You know, like the kind of wildfire that raged through my neck of the woods - or desert - in sunny southern California only a little more than 2 years ago almost exactly.
Take the day before yesterday, for instance. I was minding my own business trying to purchase a few groceries to hoard - haha, just kidding! I was buying only $256 of absolute necessities, except maybe those 4 banana cream pies, but honestly, they were mini ones, two to a box, BOGO (that's buy one, get one free, which really should be BOGOF, but BOGOF doesn't roll off the tongue quite as smoothly) - and believe me, I've become an expert at the grocery store lately, and there is NOT a run on banana cream pies, difficult as this may be to believe!
But let's get back into the checkout line in our little docudrama so you can see what I did.
I'm tempted to post here the photo I took (really, I did), but it was taken as a direct head shot of the three of us, and the day before yesterday that wasn't my best angle....So let it suffice for me to tell you in words (rather than in a picture is worth a thousand - ) about the two new sons I met.
Although I am, URL (that is, Under Relatively Legal adopted name, or URLan), MISS MARCEL, I think it is fair today to reveal that I am also URL/IRL as they say (or IRRLL, as we might say: In Remarkably Real Looking Life, though not exactly REAL LIFE which is Eternal Life), often called Suzie ANDRES.
I cap all those last letters of my surname, my married name, my treasured spousal name (St. Joseph's was "of the Blessed Virgin Mary" which I think may have been his favorite title too) because getting back to those banana cream pies, when I was in the checkout line at Publix the other day, I was kibbitzing with the checker and the bagger, as we love to so colloquially call them, when suddenly I noticed the checker's name tag. There in large capital letters on a pin on his chest (don't worry, it was stuck through his black Publix apron) I read ANDRES! Well, no exclamation point, but there was my name on his name tag!
I told him of our near relation, and though I forebore to hug him, which forebearance is my social distancing measure (for those of us who are unrepentant huggers, 6 feet = no hug, just barely), I couldn't help laughing and explaining that he should be my son: Andres Andres!
I turned to laughingly explain this to the bagger, who had perhaps missed my first explanation in his haste to hide my banana cream pies for me and save me the embarrassment of failing to hoard anything like masks or gloves (don't worry, I might have, but the store was out), when what to my wondering eyes did appear? No, silly, not reindeer but another nametag, this time on the baggers apron, and I KID YOU NOT - it said ANDRE!!!!! (again, sans the exclamation points, but otherwise clear as day: ANDRE).
I did, then, semi-legally adopt them on the spot (by taking a selfie, and I'm afraid we may not have been 6 feet apart, but then again, we were FAMILY!), and so I do confess that my sons are multiplying more rapidly than bottles of corona at a quinceanera!
Which brings me, however, to sons 1, 2, and 3 . . . (and I will need to check on 4 later today, but it is early yet as I write).
It is, as I mentioned at the outset, just under our prayers or in that general area of today's celebratory post, a time of unprecedented (for us) grace, because on this very feast of the father of the Holy Family, we are being called to go home and stay there.
I then asked, "Where is your home?" You can tell as you are reading this by checking on where you are standing, because most of us are standing, or sitting, or lounging hopefully in a comfortable chair with a good book or this blog post at present, at home.
My home looked like California, but the moment it occurred to me (along the rest of the nation) that we might be called to STAY PUT at home, I found myself magically transported by hollow metal tube high in the sky to my Real home, as it turns out, namely my in-laws house in south Florida.
Son #2 is winging his way here as we speak - though his home is as yet undetermined, being as he now suddenly is, a "rising freshmen," that is, the school year as we know it having abruptly changed beyond recognition even for homeschoolers, he's just as much ready for college (where he'll go in the fall) as he'll ever be!
Son #1 had to stay in Denver, so we are calling that his home for now.
But Son #3? He is on his surprised but obedient way home to Nigeria for the first time in 7 years, leaving today, under the protection and guidance of his father St. Joseph and the dear traveling companion St. Raphael who assists his own guardian angel in getting him across the world safely and smoothly.
My goodness won't his #2 mom give him the biggest hug anyone has seen in at least 2 weeks, what with all this social distancing, but once you are home in your mama's arms, who can stop you from being embraced by her loving arms, come what may?????
His mom #1, Our Blessed Mother the Immaculate Spouse of good St. Joseph, has never left his side these last 7 years (or the previous ones since his birth), just as she refuses to leave ours.
For myself, mom #3 or "American Mom" as we call me, I cannot help but rejoice with Moms #1 and #2 as our boy goes to his birth home and is encircled by his family. What a brilliant move on God's part to send him on the feast of his dear father and guardian (and His father and guardian, come to think of it), good St. Joseph.
Hooray for St. Joseph!
Hooray for little Jesus, God Himself, his son!
Hooray for unexpected changes in plans, hooray for homes, hooray for Moms, especially Mother Mary, and reunions, especially with sons, and hooray for this unprecedented time of grace.
Just when we thought St. Joseph was sleeping, he's wide awake and ready for action.
And remember how I promised to send you St. Joseph sleeping holy cards?
Well that is a project put on the back burner, you might say (since we're now in a virus, not a fire, I think that image is acceptable! Though my, how these crises do come and go! This too shall pass.......)
The cards got made all right, but darn if I haven't been packing, flying, seeking shelter, entering a retreat house, and finally settling in at my Florida home with my in-laws, God bless them, and I haven't found a moment to pick up those cards from Staples and pop them into the mail to those who requested them. I'm so sorry! Let's just make of it another sacrifice for the common good, and know that St. Joseph will do better than send you a card through me, he will bestow upon you his unique and irreplaceable fatherly hand and blessing! And who couldn't use that about right now? So if you haven't done so yet, request of him (and me too, if you like!) a gift of love from Heaven. The Saints, and especially one so universally in charge of us as good St. Joseph, guardian of the Heavenly Father's greatest treasure, never forget us and never let a single sigh go unanswered or rewarded. And I bet you've had your share of sighs lately like the rest of us!
Whether you've made it home yet or not then - and for all of us still firmly in this life of exile, I can tell you we haven't really made it HOME no matter what square inch of earth we currently inhabit! - I wish you the happiest and most blessed of St. Joseph Days ever!
And in his honor, let's quote the consoling words of his beloved and Immaculate Spouse, Our Lady of Guadalupe:
Hear and let it penetrate your heart, my dear little one:
Let nothing discourage you, nothing depress you.
Let nothing alter your heart or your countenance.
Am I not here who am your Mother?
Are you not under my shadow and protection?
Am I not your fountain of life?
Are you not in the folds of my mantle?
In the crossing of my arms?
Is there anything else that you need?
Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain.
Jesus bid us (you can find it in black and white in St. John's gospel, Chapter 14 and following):
Let not your hearts be troubled . . . Let not your hearts be troubled or afraid,
and this same Beloved Disciple St. John was the one to tell us, God is Love, and Perfect Love casts out all fear.
My prayer for you today and ongoing, as it has been for a long time, but all the more so on the day we rejoice in the guardianship, the love, the fatherly care and spousal wonder of St. Joseph, is that you BE NOT AFRAID, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the Kingdom.
If you can't find milk or eggs or Lysol at your local store, just grab a banana cream pie or whatever is handy and will put a smile on your sweet face, and be assured that the Kingdom is yours, if not various products we may or may not really need.
What comes next? Well, we may have to wait until May, but I'd say the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker comes next! And well before that we will be celebrating the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of our adorable Jesus, so be not afraid, simply snuggle close to His merciful Heart (as He told St. Faustina to tell us), and let Him love you more than ever before. He is so good, so meek, so humble and gentle, just like His earthly father, St. Joseph, chaste spouse of His Only Mother, dear Mary, Immaculate spouse of Joseph.
Thank You, Jesus, for every single thing Your beautiful hands bestow upon us.
Please cover the world in Your love and cast out all fear.
Remind us, through each other's smiles and laughter, as well as through the gift of Your Saints and angels, of Your all-powerful protection, so beautifully imitated by and shared with our dear St. Joseph. May we rest in the peace of the Holy Family, a peace so joyful and true that it shone out from them to all they met, even amidst the greatest trials and unsettling times through which they lived together and traveled, first to Bethlehem, then to Egypt, and finally to Nazareth.
Draw me, Jesus, we shall run!!!
Dear St. Joseph,
As we rest with you in the Lord, confident in His absolute power, goodness, gentleness, and love, look upon us kindly as you so often looked upon Little Jesus, our Brother, and Mary, your Immaculate Spouse and our Mother. Please take our needs and requests . . . into your dreaming heart and present them to your Son, Who was so quick to obey your every word. Help us then, good St. Joseph, to hear the voice of God, to arise peacefully, and to act with joy and love. Amen.
Isn't this exciting! We're starting our novena to St. Joseph today, and you remember what that means, don't you? It's a time-and-and-eternity-honored tradition here at Miss Marcel's Musings that our novenas are both little and HUGE!
This novena, like all those up to now, is little because we are little, just like our sweet and funny little brother Marcel-Jesus (the name he loved to call himself after his religious profession, knowing they had become one in some mysterious way). But this novena is also HUGE - Ginormous, really!! - because our policy is that ALL those who hear of it and/or see news of it anywhere or/and say the prayer once, more than once, or even participate from start to finish (wow! that is gold medal novena-ing, and we little souls can appreciate the heroism of those who manage it with God's compassionate grace!) - ALL of these people are included, and all their intentions, and the intentions of those they love! And did I mention it doesn't matter when they hear, see, or join the novena? Early? Half-way through? At the eleventh hour? All are welcome and included, and this encompasses those intentions we may remember or come across or have commended to us on Day 9 just as surely as on Day 1. It's the way of Love, ever diffusive of itself (just like goodness) and ready to invite everyone to the party (which thankfully is mostly a spiritual party, so introverts can each get their own mansion!)!
A rose from Carmel emailed me last night to let me know the St. Joseph novena starts today (or yesterday for those who like to finish on the Vigil, but I'm a finish-on-the-feast kind of gal, so we start today)....and this morning, thankfully, my angel was all about my remembering - and you will never guess the mischief he's got me into!
Somehow, after deciding to try out the devotion to Sleeping St. Joseph (since St. Joseph heard God's inspirations in dreams so often, and I know so many, myself included, who could use a dose of angelic inspiration these days), I found a statue of him at the San Buenaventura Mission (thank you, St. Junipero Serra! Thank you, St. Anthony! Thank you, St. Bonaventure! And thank you, lovely ladies who work there and had one in the back, having sold the one in the front yesterday!)!!
Then I took a photo of him (which you can see above), and also happened to think of calling my awesome Catholic print manager at Staple's near us.....Can we make a St. Joseph holy card? Yes, we can! And very economically if we put it on a business card and order ONE THOUSAND!!!! WOWIE ZOWIE, this is FUN!
So please do whichever of the following things your own angel inspires you to do:
1. Consider yourself part of our novena! Your intentions and those of your loved ones are IN!
2. Spread the news of this glorious novena to this glorious and so fabulous Saint!
3. Send me your name and address via the "CONTACT ME" button, and I can send you a few St. Joseph holy cards via the postal mail.
4. If you want a shot in the arm for devotion to St. Joseph, do yourself a favor and get (if you don't already have it, or read and pray with if you do) Fr. Donald Calloway's awesome new book on Consecration to St. Joseph. One thing I love about this book: even if you are kind of a dope, like me, and forgetful, like me and Marcel, and so you're challenged in doing the 33 day full consecration, you will love the book for the prayers, artwork, and especially (oh, how I love this!) the quotations from all the Saints about the greatness and goodness, kindness and love of that so silent, but always willing to help us, St. Joseph, dad to Jesus our brother and beloved pure spouse of Mary Immaculate, our own Mama! Yes, you got it - these relationships make him our dad too! And what an image of the Heavenly Father he is, what an outpouring of gentle compassion and mercy you will find when you turn to him. AND I must add, because I forgot to correct a dear friend who said "But St. Joseph does take his time," that in my experience, he is (as a favorite prayer says) very prompt and quick in answering our prayers. You see, as our simple novena prayer says above, Jesus was prompt in obeying St. Joseph - and I think St. Joseph is a sleep-talker, so don't worry if it looks like he's napping! He's going to take care of us, and pronto!
I'm thinking of this (for myself and my intentions) as a bit of a "discernment" novena. My husband and I, our two sons, and a handful of really dear friends scattered across the country - all of us have decisions we might make. Golly, I bet you do too, even if it's something as small (or big!) as "Shall I try again with my Lenten resolutions? Should I choose another instead of giving up entirely?" (But don't let me project! That's part of my discernment now for sure!!) Don't you think good and sleeping St. Joseph - who heard, at least thrice, angels in dreams whom God sent to enlighten him regarding what to do - will be the perfect intercessor for us? He's so peaceful too - and I'm sure he'll share that peace with us, who so often need it badly!
Welcome to our St. Joseph novena of 2020 (or whenever you happen to read this on the timeless internet), and may our dear father, guardian and protector of the whole Church and us, bring us happily to his feast day, and peacefully to good decisions! And now, to his Divine Son, we pray:
Draw us, we will run!!!
We've been having the most beautiful triduum lately - March 7 was the old feast of St. Thomas Aquinas (a beloved Doctor of the Church known for writing many great books), and a solemnity where I live, on account of the anniversary of the dedication of the chapel at Thomas Aquinas College; then March 8, though hidden behind the 2nd Sunday of Lent, was the feast of St. John of God, patron of book sellers and book printers; and today (as I write), March 9, though on the universal calendar it is the feast of the lovely St. Francesca of Rome, it is also - and celebrated with great joy in my family which boasts 2 sons named for him - the feast of St. Dominic Savio, student and spiritual son of the great educator and book writer-printer-publisher, St. John Bosco!
Wouldn't you say that it's a great time to launch a new publishing label?
So we are!!!
I'm pleased to announce, on behalf of St. Therese (the Little Flower) and her little spiritual brother Marcel Van (the other Little Flower), that these past weeks have been a flurry of activity and the culmination is upon us - Little Way Books is now up and running, and the crew busy upping and running it is pleased as punch!
We'll have lots more to tell you in upcoming days and upcoming blog posts, but for now, there must be something you haven't given up for Lent, so fill your bowl with millet seed, popcorn, or jelly beans (yeah, you probably gave those up, didn't you? So how about raisins? or apple slices?), and raise a glass - of water? with ice? - to join in our rejoicing at the wonderful, little, tiny, and super duper fun adventure that is Little Way Books!
Although I haven't seen it yet, UPS delivered a package to my home about 45 minutes ago, and my husband reports that yes, there is a box from UPS which he received. Can you guess what it contains?
Nothing less than 2 preview copies of our first print offering (i.e. real, honest to goodness, hold in your hands and read by the light of the moon, or any other light available book!) from Little Way Books!!! It's a book I wrote 3 and 1/2 years ago, and have been working on perfecting ever since. We finally decided, with a little help from our friends, that perfection is great when it comes to abandonment, love, and cheesecake (or millet seed, if it's Lent), but for books, one might decide to stop just short of perfection and provide, instead, the published product before the next millenium arrives!
And so, more coming soon on Something New with St. Therese: Her Eucharistic Miracle, and as a delightful bonus offering, we're publishing the ideal Lenten devotional: Stations of the Cross with Our Sister St. Therese, about which we'll wax eloquent any day now as well.
I'll let you go now so you can hurry and read all those spiritual books on your bedside table, because before you know it, you'll have 2 more to enjoy! Meanwhile, don't forget to join us in a prayer of thanksgiving to our Heavenly Father for the joyful enterprise that is now, happily, Little Way Books!
We haven't shown up on amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com yet because we're doing some last minute fine-tuning, but I promise you'll be the first to know when you can order our books directly from them. In the meantime, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or through the contact button on this page. And in gratitude and love, we conclude with our all-encompassing prayer of confidence:
Draw me, darling Jesus; we will run!!!
Did I surprise you? Did you think our title should be "Miracles, Miracles, and More Miracles?" Well, it surely could have been, but since a lot of those miracles have to do with books, I figured I'd go with Miracles, Miracles, and More Books, just to indicate what we're rejoicing over today at Miss Marcel's Musings.
Yesterday, the last day of our Holy Face novena, was also a number of other "things" - namely, the 61st anniversary of Celine's entry into Heaven; the Feast of the Holy Face; Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, depending on your cultural custom, and . . . the 4th anniversary of the day Fr. Michael Gaitley, M.I.C. visited Thomas Aquinas College (in 2016) to talk to the students about his new (then) book, 33 Days to Merciful Love. He is such a merciful guy himself that he gave out copies, and so I read his wonderful pages on St. Therese - every one of them - that very night.
I know, 33 days is supposed to be more than a month, but hey, you hand me a book on St. Therese that's really good, and how could I risk losing focus over a month plus when I could instead gobble the book up at a sitting (or lying down)?!
So four years ago yesterday (February 25), I read at length about St. Therese and her Act of Oblation to Merciful Love. And it changed me. A lot. It even gave me an attention span, at least in one regard, because I kept thinking about her Act of Oblation, not just for 33 days, but for the next 4 years! That's a lot of thinking, even for a bear of very little brain, and so we had to celebrate last night by publishing a book - or at least almost.
Don't worry, the "almost" is merely temporary, because we have to proof the book one last time to make sure it's as lovely as Therese would have it. And I'm excited nearly beyond belief! Good thing I have a mild cold, or who knows what might happen. As it is, my fuzzy head is keeping me from clear delusions of grandeur, but even then I'm sure Great Things are about to happen. You'll be glad to know that even if this book doesn't change the world, it has a high probability of changing your life if you read it!
Those folks up top of our blog post today can vouch for this life-changing potential in the soon-to-be-released Something New With St. Therese: Her Eucharistic Miracle. I know they think it's worth reading, because they were the ones who got it published!
First are Therese and two of her novices: her sister Celine and the Parisian imp, Marie of the Trinity. Those two made the consecration to the Holy Face with Therese's encouragement and help, hence the home-made holy card. But they also were two she inducted into her Offering to Merciful Love and the Eucharistic miracle attached to it, so you can bet they've been hanging around for the last 4 years making sure I got every word right. Or nearly every word anyhow!
Next comes Charlene Richard, our new BFF here at MMM, and with good reason - she's a wonder worker beyond any I've met - at least as far as working my personally desired miracles goes! (And don't worry, I desire miracles in your life too, very much so, and I'm telling Charlene to hop to it please, now that she's taken care of the book.)
Just a tad more than a week ago, having newly made her acquaintance, I asked Charlene, "Hey, if you're so great, why don't you get this book published - you know, the one no one else has been able to get published for 3 and 1/2 years? And since God is the real Power behind your operation, and everything is easy for Him, how about let's go from 0 to 60 in a week and get it published for Celine's feast?" By golly, if Charlene didn't take me up on my challenge and do just that!!
And finally there's an 11th hour saint who showed up last night in our time of need - that would be Carlo Acutis, and he sure is named well because he's such a cutie! (Sorry, Carlo, I couldn't resist!) He has a great personality and a great story to go along with it. Like Charlene, he didn't live too long - for Charlene it was 12 years, and for Carlo just 15. They were both normal kids, devout sure, but normal too. And then he, like she, got cancer and whoosh, died of it real quick-like. But the amazing part is that when he did die, well it was only 15 years ago! And yet he's going to be beatified this year! The announcement was made just last week, and the response has been one of universal joy!
Here at Miss Marcel's Musings we are thrilled, delighted, and simply over the moon! So when I needed help at the last minute last night (to get the book set for publication at the publisher, but suddenly one of our team's computers froze up - aaaauuuugh!), I thought of Carlo, called upon him while a friend called upon Our Lady of Prompt Succour, and between them, Mother and son got us rolling in no time. Whew! Good work, Carlo! Thanks, Mother Mary!
Since Carlo was very computer savvy in his not-so-long-ago-day, his help made sense. Also it turns out that he and the Blessed Mother are really close - she was in on his beatification miracle, and I'll have to tell you that story soon: it's awesome! But also, since Carlo loved the Eucharist and made displays of Eucharistic miracles (displays you could show in a church hall, but also online!), it stands to reason he'd be all about getting this book to you - a book about a new Eucharistic miracle that has gone under the radar until now!
Somehow in the insanity of the moment just before those two courteous kids came to my rescue, but with me already hoping they would, I promised I'd write a book about Charlene and Carlo if they fixed the problem - and they did - so now I'm really happy I remembered that promise all the way till today so far - you see how my attention span is improving! But before I can write that book I have to finish this post and get the other book - the almost-book - published. I'll be sure and let you know the second it's available, and meanwhile, please join me in thanking St. Therese, Celine, Marie, Charlene, and Carlo!
I suppose, too, that besides acknowledging some of my team, I ought to acknowledge somewhere in this post that it is, as of today, Lent . . . I'd say the funniest thing that happened yesterday came after some dear friends included us around their table for a Fat Tuesday/Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras dinner, the subject came up about fasting today. Really? Today? (Well it was tomorrow last night). In the excitement of the book publishing, I'd forgotten about Ash Wednesday and Lent, yes, even though I knew it was Mardi Gras! Oops! And then I had the best idea! I stated it aloud and it sounded even better outside than in my head - especially when our friend's lovely daughter read my heart and finished my sentence for me. I bet you're a kindred spirit too and will love my idea. See what you think. For the whole world now (maybe we'll go viral - or will they quarantine us?) here it is:
Miss Marcel's Brilliant Idea (which unfortunately was not implemented and it may be too late now) -
LET'S NOT HAVE LENT, LET'S JUST HAVE ICE CREAM!!!!
But as I mentioned, unfortunately this was not implemented in time, and here we are, as usual this time of year, in Lent. Which means I must warn you:
1. Do not (I repeat DO NOT) give up Everything you love. Very Bad Idea!
2. Do think of this as a time to snuggle up to Jesus' merciful Heart - which is exactly the phrase He used to Faustina to tell her what He hoped all of us would do! Snuggle! I don't know Polish, but this is the good translation we have now, so why question it?
3. When all else fails - your resolutions, your hope, your conviction that time will continue passing and we will arrive at Easter someday - do something really wonderful that you haven't sworn off. Like what? Well how about:
a. read Marcel's Conversations
b. get Something New with St. Therese (which should be available long before Lent is over)
c. get to know one of the Saints visiting us today - a powerful new friend is always heartening!
d. suggest a pilgrimage to Lisieux to someone you love who least suspects this will happen!
That final wonderful thing is what my husband did last Lent, and he'll have quite a time topping that this year! But don't worry, because I'm not worrying, and moreover (b) will be a lot cheaper and suffice as a soothing and cheering action, because a friend told me yesterday, when she saw a picture of the front cover of Something New, that even looking at the cover would do great good in the world and bring consolation to little souls!
Then there's (a) reading Convos, a sure-fire way to cheer the lowest heart (just hearing Marcel complain that Jesus mentions suffering at the drop of a hat makes me smile - I'm not the only one who prefers ice cream to degout!). And as to (c), getting to know new Saints - well, you can't lose there . . . how does that old ditty go? "Make new friends, and keep the old; one is silver and the other gold!"
So remember: gray skies are gonna clear up, brush off the clouds and cheer up, take off that weary mask of tragedy, it's not your style . . . and as long as you don't give up Every Good Thing for Lent (and heavens to Betsy, how could you possibly? so many, many good things surrounding us!), we should all make it out of this alive. And if not, hey, there are sure worse things than going to Heaven sooner rather than later!
I doubt we'll get so lucky, though, so while we think of it, let's pray our simple prayer together to save the world, and then go publish (or simply read) some good books!
Draw me, Jesus, we will run!!
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.