I hope to make this a quick post so I can get back to bed, but before anyone lets me sleep around here, they insist I tell you about the guardian angels.
The deal is this:
After I posted photos of Padre Pio and Padre Alessio Parente, and then Padre Pio and Joseph Martin (who later became Fr. Joseph Martin), I got to thinking that I used to have a book by Father Alessio, "Send Me Your Guardian Angel," about Padre Pio and the angels. A lovely book which I seem to have loaned out or given to someone, thinking it would be easily replaceable, but alas, not so much. If you have my copy, read it right quick and send it back when you've finished - it's not doing either of us any good in the bottom of that pile on your nightstand!
But meanwhile, I remembered that I have another treasure from Father Alessio, a book signed by him, so I figured I ought to look at it and see what he has to say. When I failed to do so immediately, an angel was sent to rouse me (as I had sent Marcel to rouse Padre Pio yesterday), and when I got up in the middle of the night and looked into the book, I came across the photo above featuring Padre Alessio and Joseph Martin together with Padre Pio, all of them supposedly looking innocently out upon the monastery garden.
Ha! They're actually looking into the future at us (okay, at least Padre Pio might have been), plotting and scheming with their angels and planning to complicate this already complicated triple novena - or actually, possibly planning to simplify it . . .
In the front of the book (The Spirituality of Padre Pio published at San Giovanni Rotondo, written by Augustine McGregor, O.C.S.O., and edited by Father Alessio in 1974 - and might I add, I LOVE finding good things that came out of the 1970's to compensate for the rest of that painful decade), the inscription says:
May Padre Pio look after you and your dear ones and grant you many graces which you can share with many souls. - Fr. Alessio Parente 18-9-78
I love this inscription! Father Alessio wrote it in the novena leading up to Padre Pio's feast (although in 1978 it wasn't yet official, his cause having been opened in November of 1969, the year after his entrance into eternal life). Wow! It perfectly applies to us, and seeing how that good angel wouldn't let me sleep, I think this was the beginning of what the 3 Padres wanted to tell us. (Do you think they're all tenors? I've been hearing a lot of beautiful music during this weekend of Padre Pio's feast, and I keep thinking about how much he loved music and had good friends who were famous tenors, like Beniamino Gigli.)
Father Alessio was Padre Pio's personal assistant from 1965 (the year of my birth) to 1968 (the year of my sister's birth and Pio's birth into Heaven), and Padre Pio was very grateful to him. That must be why Pio is fulfilling Father Alessio's inscribed wish that he will look after us and our dear ones and grant us many graces which we can share with many souls! Because another reason the angels roused me was that I forgot to report the miracle count for our latest completed portion of the triple novena.
I had mentioned in a previous post that our first novena leading to the Exaltation of the Holy Cross brought news of the miracle of the restoration of perpetual adoration at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Fillmore, CA, which was one of our intentions and has already born fruit for us because I now have a new holy hour where I can pray for you, thanks to your prayers!
Well, not to let the Holy Cross have the last word, our beloved Padre Pio obtained for us at least 7 miracles that I know of during his portion of the triple novena! Two of these in particular had been part of my prayers (and those of others) for years and years and years! As our sister St. Therese put it:
"How great is the power of prayer! One could call it a Queen who has at each instant free access to the King and who is able to obtain whatever she asks."
Which means we have more reason than ever to keep praying - and it's important to note that our prayer doesn't have to be long or exhausting. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church quoted, again from our little sis and the youngest Doctor of the Church:
"For me, prayer is an aspiration of the heart, it is a simple glance directed to Heaven, it is a cry of gratitude and love in the midst of trial as well as joy; finally it is something great, supernatural, which expands my soul and unites me to Jesus."
Speaking of gratitude, I was so grateful to stumble upon this quote from Story of a Soul yesterday. After explaining how she would ask Our Lady and the angels and saints to prepare her for Holy Communion, St. Therese says:
"It seems to me that when Jesus descends into my heart He is content to find Himself so well received and I, too, am content. All this, however, does not prevent both distractions and sleepiness from visiting me, but at the end of the thanksgiving when I see that I've made it so badly I made a resolution to be thankful all throughout the rest of the day. You see, dear Mother, that I am far from being on the way of fear; I always find a way to be happy and to profit from my miseries; no doubt this does not displease Jesus since He seems to encourage me on this road."
I love that Therese promises to be thankful the rest of the day. I think I can do that too, even when recollection (both after Communion and the rest of the day) seems to elude me. How beautiful is her simplicity!
Which leads us to the simultaneous complication and simplification of our current novena. We're now in what was intended to be the last portion of our triple novena, but St. Therese and Padre Pio have teamed up with Marcel, Padre Alessio, and Father Joseph Martin, not to mention the angels, to strongly suggest we add an angelic component to this last leg of the race, and while we're at it, to shorten our prayers.
Here's what Therese had to say about the angels (found all together in one place HERE, thanks to Fr. Wolfgang Seitz who wrote an amazing article you might enjoy reading in your massive spare time once we simplify our novena). I should explain that St. Therese said lots about the angels, but I chose for us from Father's article just her words on the angels and her mission, since I love to be reminded of how many miracles and roses she plans to distribute. This is one way I bolster my courage and keep casting those glances (some grateful, some desperate, some complete with a heavy sigh and thus comprising a double prayer) toward Heaven. Here goes, then - Therese on the angels as presented by Father Seitz:
Her Mission on Earth and in Heaven: As the Little Flower approached her death, she confessed: "I feel that I am about to enter into my rest. But I feel especially that my mission is about to begin, my mission of making God loved as I love Him, of giving my little way to souls. If God answers my desires, my heaven will be spent on earth until the end of the world. Yes, I want to spend my heaven in doing good on earth. This isn’t impossible, since from the bosom of the beatific vision, the Angels watch over us." (CJ 7/17/1897). Thus we see how she understood her heavenly mission in light of the angelic ministries.
To Fr. Roulland, her missionary "brother" in China, she writes: "Ah! Brother, I feel it, I shall be more useful to you in heaven than on earth, and it is with joy that I come to announce to you my coming entrance into that blessed city, sure that you will share my joy and will thank the Lord for giving me the means of helping you more effectively in your apostolic works.
"I really count on not remaining inactive in heaven. My desire is to work still for the Church and for souls. I am asking God for this and I am certain He will answer me. Are not the Angels continually occupied with us without ever ceasing to see the Divine Face and to lose themselves in the ocean of love without shores? Why would Jesus not allow me to imitate them?" (LT 254 7/14/1897). She assured Fr. Bellière, her first "brother": "I promise to have you taste after my departure for eternal life the happiness one can find in feeling a friendly soul next to oneself. It will not be this correspondence, more or less distant, always very incomplete, which you seem to long for, but it will be a fraternal conversation that will charm the Angels, a conversation that creatures will be unable to reproach since it will be hidden from them." (LT 261 7/26/1897).
When Sr. Marie of the Eucharist expressed fright at such visits from Thérèse after her death, the Little Flower replied: "Does your Guardian Angel frighten you? He follows you nevertheless, all the time; well, I will follow you in the same way, and even closer!" (Last Conversations, 7/18/1897).
* * *
I love that last quote! Sister Marie of the Eucharist was Therese's cousin Marie Guerin who was three years older than Therese (about the same age as Therese's sister and the "sweet echo of her soul," Celine) and had entered the Carmel of Lisieux after her four Martin cousins were there. She had a gorgeous soprano voice, and Therese loved to hear her sing. On July 18, 1897, when Therese had been confined to the infirmary and was clearly on her way out of this exile, Marie asked her to obtain great graces for her when she got to Heaven. Therese replied:
"Oh! When I am in Heaven, I will do very many things, great things . . . It is impossible that it is not God who has given me this desire; I am sure He will answer me! And also, when I am up there, I will follow you very closely!"
This is when Marie had to mention that this would frighten her. Did she pause and then speak? Did she blurt it out? Either way, Therese had the answer that thrills me:
"Does your guardian angel frighten you? He follows you nevertheless, all the time; well, I will follow you in the same way, and even closer! I won't let anything pass you."
Okay, then! We're ready, Therese! Or at least we're trying to get ready - ready to receive all the great graces, the great things that you will do for us and for those we love. Once again we borrow your confidence since you are sure He will answer you . . . and since you don't need that confidence now that your faith has been replaced by sight. Oh, and kiss little Jesus for us right after you see how beautiful He is today!
So, let's get down to business. Therese bids us be simple and confident, and Padre Pio wants us to keep him in the loop by sending him our guardian angels. It helps that the feast of our guardian angels is exactly one day after St. Therese's feast. And also one day before her feast.
Sound impossible? Welcome to the double liturgical calendar (and I'm not even counting the Proper Calendars of the various religious orders!)!
On the old calendar, or the calendar in use for the extraordinary form (aka traditional Latin Mass or TLM), Therese's feast is October 3rd.
On the new calendar, or the calendar in use for the ordinary form (aka the Novus Ordo), Therese's feast is October 1st.
Lest we start a brawl over which is superior, let's add that Therese's actual entry into Heaven occurred on September 30, but since that day is taken on all calendars by St. Jerome, one of the four great Western Doctors, Therese has to be somewhere else. And happily, as far as I can see since we're in need of miracles every day, or every other day at the very least, she gets two feasts if we're breathing with both lungs (okay, that was originally said by JPII about the churches of the East and the West, but I think it applies perfectly here too) - and these two feasts sandwich the guardian angels feast like two chocolate cookies with some white frosting in the middle!
Consequently, we conclude that we can start our guardian angel novena today, in thanks and petition to our faithful companions about whom we think much less than they think of us, and we can sandwich their novena amidst Therese's. And that "s" at the end of Therese can be both possessive (her novena) and plural, because we can keep saying our prayers to her second feast and thus gain even more roses and miracles.
We are, however, fans of simplicity as well as complexity, so let's simplify our prayers.
I'll post soon on the origin of the shorter Therese prayer so you don't feel like we're mired in hippie-land, but for now, here are our prayers:
Little Flower, in this hour, show your power!
Angel of God, my guardian dear,
To whom God's love commits me here,
Ever this day be at my side,
To light, to guard, to rule, and guide!
Draw me, 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. To receive new posts, enter your email and click "Subscribe" below.