"It is right to provide some diversion for the one to whom you owe so much." - St. Teresa of Jesus of Avila, "La Madre"
I hope you haven't been worried about me! It's been nearly two weeks since our last post, and that feels (at least to me) like a very long time. But if you have been worried - about anything at all! - I'm here again to reassure you there's no need for that pesky anxious feeling.
All is well and all will be well! Our Heavenly Father is still in charge of the lovely universe He created, and although He never takes my advice ("How 'bout we get rid of suffering? And free will? Don't you think so, Papa?"), He has been full of compassionate Love and His trademark solicitous tenderness these past 13 days. If you haven't seen the signs, I'll redouble my efforts in prayer so that soon you too will be surrounded by roses.
I just came across that quote above - "It is right to provide some diversion for the one to whom you owe so much" - in the Pious Recreations (also called Plays) of St. Therese. Well not in the plays themselves, but in the Intro, to be more precise.
Although the quote is from our holy mother, St. Teresa of Jesus of Avila, the Intro (and thus the offering of the quote) is from the hand and heart of the late and sweet auxiliary bishop of Lisieux, Bishop Guy Gaucher. I'm now only one step away from knowing him, since we met those who knew him in Lisieux, and then we got to visit his grave there. Thanks, Bishop Gaucher, for all you've done for little Therese and for us! And thank you especially for this great quote!
The diversion the big St. Teresa had in mind was some verses (poetry) and songs written by one of her Carmelite daughters; verses and songs which delighted her immensely.
But oh how true it is that any wholesome and fun-filled diversion is such a gift! I know because I'm coming home after partaking in a family reunion, and it was full of diversion and delight, whether it was watching my grown nieces and nephews play "Reverse Charades" (everyone does the charade for the guessing of one, rather than one acting it out for everyone to guess) or teaching and learning snippets of Theresian French songs with my great nieces (!!!!) or shopping at Costco for the swarm of locusts we all collectively were! And I haven't even mentioned the ultimate joy of being able to share our little brother Marcel with a darling niece who laughed with me at his antics and now has his book in her hands!
Wouldn't you know I lost my camera somewhere in all the excitement? And yet, I see in this the hand of our loving Father too. At the very least, His hand is keeping St. Anthony's tied so that the camera remains lost! But more than that, He's protecting the anonymity of my dear East Coast family. They are, you see, better looking than all the most beautiful and handsome movie stars in Hollywood, and yet they enjoy their privacy, their un-discoveredness, their sans-paparazzi life. Ah, were they discovered on this blog in all their blonde, brunette, and beyond-words-beauty, the jig would be up and the work of celebrity life beginning, so I am at peace with the loss of my camera and its pics of these darlings. Their anonymity is worth such a small price!
Besides, I have two consolations:
First, I console myself that there are pictures on others' picture-making-machines - whether it's that coveted photo of "The Ten" or that never-failing source of delight, the original Three lined up a la "the piano bench," with faces matching their childhood smiles and pouts . . .
But second and most importantly, when I think back on our visit and the plethora of two generations of nieces and nephews, plus sisters-in-law, parents-in-law, and not least my dear husband and two wonderful sons, all of their images somehow remain vivid in my mind and heart, and that's infinitely more precious than any digital (or even printed out!) photos.
Ah, what a miracle that we were together! And God's bounty surrounded us, not only in each other, but in the gorgeous weather, the sun and surf and sand, the pool and the meals, the kitchens, the living rooms, the laughter and occasional tears. What a richness!
For years I've happily accompanied my husband to his family's home in south Florida. For decades I've loved his sisters and his parents as my own, and we've all of us gone through many a visit together over summertime or Christmas vacation. This year, though, it was with a fresh and greater anticipation that we met, for there were new spouses, new babies, new pregnancies, even new college-to-come experiences for three of the cousins, all adding up to so much more joy than ever before!
And so, with thanks to God for this huge clan, I want to dedicate today's post to the next generations: to my East Coast nieces and nephews, and for those of you who are married, to your wonderful spouses and spectacular children as well - this one's for you! Thanks for making it to Florida, thanks for the love you shared with us and each other, and thanks most of all for the love you daily share with your amazing children. Thanks for the example you give to us of selfless love and patience, even when you might not feel loving and patient inside! And thanks for all the laughter!
Oh, and I've learned so much from you - oldest to youngest and everyone in between!
Just to take one small example, I found out last night (and what a terrible thought that I might have missed this, but my miracle-working sister-in-law who had gathered us all together for the reunion shared this fact with me at the eleventh hour): that one single young woman, after less than a full day at the beach, can actually empty out half the sand and shells of the Atlantic Coast into a normal sized borrowed bathtub! And when she does, much laughter ensues!!
But besides this kind of random fun fact, I learned the much more important truth that where there is love, nothing is impossible, or to put it another way: anything is possible! You, my nieces and nephews, lived this truth before my wondering eyes - in your treks south to arrive at Grandma and Grandpa's and in your treks north again; in your kindness, your sacrifices, your loving care of your children: I only have to close my eyes to see the fathers among you soothing restless or over-excited little ones, and in alternating images, I can still see mothers rocking, carrying, attending, and reassuring one overtired (but ultimately happy, thanks to your ministrations) child after another. What exquisite love!
And then there was your solicitude for each other. I hope I never forget the sound of one sister offering to another a huge sacrifice and act of kindness, then being asked, "You'd do that for me?" only to reply, "I'm your sister! I'd like to think a sister would do that for me if I needed it!"
What I love about this world is that our learning never ends. St. Therese wrote in her Story of a Soul, "My nature was such that fear made me recoil; with love not only did I advance, I actually flew." I have seen such love lately that it's a struggle to keep my feet on the ground. . . Okay, full disclosure - I am, to be honest, flying!
Flying home after our reunion, flying home after a second week in Florida where, even amidst concern for Grandpa's fatigue, I saw over each succeeding day the most magnificent joy and love shining from Grandma and Grandpa's faces when we reminisced about our week-of-everyone.
Thanks, Nick, for your dream and your persistence - it so paid off beyond our wildest hopes!
I'm posting this now from betwixt and between - way up high in the sky half way between homes - and as soon as it's up, I'm going to get comfy and say a Rosary for all of your intentions:
P & L;
C, T & N;
and the 10 and their many:
D & M (thanks for letting them come, M!), P, M, T, C & D;
B (we did it! we finally celebrated your feast day together!!!!);
C & P (with thanks to Louis and Zelie for your new job!), G, O, C & P (cuties!!!);
V & A (so glad to finally meet you, A! I love you!) & sweet M and baby;
T & M (looking forward to meeting you, M, in God's perfect timing!) & baby;
M & Z & darling N & baby;
E (you are so beautiful, E! Thanks for singing for us the last night!!);
and last but never least:
G & M & M - you guys are awesome!!!
May our beloved Jesus supply St. Therese with untold and innumerable roses to shower upon each and every one of you - and now that we know dreams come true, let's have huge hope and confidence in all our needs and desires! As little Therese never tired of repeating with St. John of the Cross: "We can never have too much confidence in the good God, He is so mighty and so merciful. We obtain from Him as much as we hope for!"
I have so much confidence in Him that I'm sure He'll answer your prayers. He doesn't want us to worry and so He sent Jesus to tell us, "Fear not, little flock; your Father is pleased to give you the Kingdom!" We know, also from Jesus' words, that those who seek the Kingdom are given everything else besides, so no more worrying, about anything, ever!
We have a custom here at Miss Marcel's Musings of ending with a simple prayer. It's a line from the beginning of the Song of Songs in the Bible, and St. Therese talks about it toward the end of Story of a Soul, saying it's a way to pray for everyone we love because Jesus will draw them all with us when He draws us to Himself.
Or, as I like to say, just tell Him, "It wouldn't be Heaven for me without . . . ." and start naming away! What can He do but make Heaven a real Heaven for you by drawing in those you love right along with you!
And so, with all the love and thanksgiving a heart can hold, let's pray:
Draw me, we will run!!!
p.s. G in VA and D in CA: Photo at the top is specially for you! If you ever feel alone, remember your cousin-friendship that goes all the way back to twin-spiderman days! And know too that there is a whole heaven full of Saints who love you - including Pope John Paul II, who you can see is ready to receive all your secrets and prayers and take them straight to Jesus! He loves you both with Limitless Love!
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